Tuesday

Olin Dutra: The Perseverance of the U.S. Open's Biggest Loser

From News of the Mahopacs
It was way back in 1934... during the economic downturn known as the Great Depression... that Olin Dutra, a tall, swarthy Californian, of Spanish extraction, held off Gene Sarazen to win the 38th U.S. Open at Merion by a single stroke.

The circumstances of this win were quite remarkable, and ultimately defined Dutra as a player of exceptional grit and determination. This passage by Robert Alvarez, collections manager of the USGA Museum, provides some detail:'

The story began more than a year before the championship when Dutra became afflicted with amoebic dysentery, an often uncomfortable and painful intestinal infection. As the U.S. Open approached, Dutra stopped in Detroit en route to Philadelphia to visit his brother, when he began to feel very ill. He spent a short time in the hospital, casting doubt over his chances of participating in the U.S. Open. 

The Californian did make it to Merion, resorting to unusual measures to cope with the infection, eating sugar cubes to regain his stamina, though he did lose close to 20 pounds off his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame during the championship. 

So although Dutra won that year in Philadelphia, I'm quite certain no other player in history has lost as much poundage during the tournament's four rounds  tournament, making Olin Dutra the U.S. Open Championship's Biggest Loser.