It's June, so that means the best golfers on the planet are heading to Merion to compete in the game's toughest test: the U.S. Open. In August it'll happen again, except rather than golfers, they'll be tennis players flocking to the courts at Flushing Meadows, in Queens.
Here at Golf Digest, we think of the U.S. Open in mostly golf terms, but we wanted to take some time to appreciate some of the lesser-known U.S. Opens.
Bowling U.S. Open
The U.S. Open of Bowling has been around since 1971 and is held in July. Like golf, it's one of four major championships, with the winner taking home $60,000 and an invitation to the Tournament of Champions.
Chess U.S. Open
Started in 1900, the Chess U.S. Open is almost as old as golf's, which was established in 1895. This year's defending champion is Manuel Leon Hoyos, a 24-year-old grandmaster from Mexico.
U.S. Open of Competitive Eating
The Alka-Seltzer U.S. Open of Competitive Eating was short-lived, hosted only once in 2005, but it shined brightly. ESPN televised the event, which Takeru Kobayashi of Japan won after eating 13 lbs of spaghetti in 14 minutes.
U.S. Open of Surfing
Since being established in 1959, the U.S. Open of Surfing--the largest surfing competition in the world--has gone under a series of different names, including the West Coast Surfing Champions and the On Pro Championship.
Squash United States Open
For Americans, this one's a little embarrassing. Since being established in 1985, not only has no American won the most prestigious prize in squash, no one has even made it to the finals. Players from England and Egypt have won eight of the last nine events.
U.S. Open of Crosswords
Alas, this one no longer exists, but it lived gloriously between 1982 and 1986. Rebecca Kornbluh took home three of the five first place prizes, which consisted of $1,500 and a six-foot-tall pencil.
Go U.S. Open
If you've ever seen Ron Howard's movie "A Beautiful Mind," you'll recognize what Go is. The Zhou Dynasty-era Chinese board game's U.S. Open is its largest tournament in North America, and has been contested annually since 2004.
United States Open Beer Championships
Since 2009, Breweries from every state have entered the U.S. Open to have their drink judged by a panel who judge beers for 60 different categories. The winning team gets a gold medal in the form of a beer stein.
U.S. Salsa Open Championships
The U.S. Salsa Open Championships, "where dreams come true," according to its website, is in its fourth year and has been held annually every July in California.
U.S. Poker Championships
The U.S. Open of Poker has been hosted annually since 1996 within the World Series of Poker tournament, in New Jersey. The Texas Hold 'Em tournament boasts some pretty large winner's prizes, usually upwards of $100,000.
U.S. Open Sporting Clays Championships
Sporting clays is described as "golf with a gun" by players because participants walk from station to station in an open field shooting clay pigeons. The 2013 tournament was contested in May in Georgetown, South Carolina.
(Getty Images photos)
- Sports & Recreation