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June 2024 marks the 30-year anniversary of Ernie’s first victory in a major championship, the 1994 US Open at Oakmont, a course that Ernie still rates among his favourite golf courses in the world.

“It’s surreal. You’re a pretty good player and you regard yourself as someone who can play with the big boys,” recalls Ernie. “But at 24, to have the US Open trophy was incredible. When I think back, I’m like, man, anything could have happened. If I don’t win that tournament, you might not see me again. But I won there, it gave me a 10-year exemption. It took a lot of pressure off. 

Ernie reflected also on the topsy-turvy nature of Monday’s playoff with Colin Montgomerie and Loren Roberts. “Anything could have happened,” said Ernie. “And it did! I started with a bogey and then made a triple on the second, the easiest hole on the golf course. I don’t know how I played 1-under par from there on, to shoot 3-over par. It was a miracle. Just true grit and determination, just staying in the tournament somehow. So yeah, shot 74 and then won in sudden death. That was it. The biggest win of my life; no question. Nothing else even comes close.”

Ernie won his second US Open at Congressional CC in 1997.