Looking back at the 3 special U.S. Opens that happened at Pinehurst No. 2.

For the first time in 10 years, the United States Golf Association (USGA) returns to Pinehurst No. 2. This year marks the course’s fourth U.S. Open. After this year’s tournament, only eight courses have hosted more.

‘The Cradle of American Golf’ previously hosted the U.S. Open in 1999, 2005, and 2014.

A few years ago, the USGA named Pinehurst one of its anchor sites, so while it took them 10 years to return to North Carolina, that will not be the case moving forward.

Pinehurst No. 2 is on tap to host four future U.S. Opens in 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.

The 1999 winner has a statue memorializing him in front of the clubhouse. The 2005 winner would never win again, and the 2014 champion won by eight shots.

The 124th U.S. Open is here, so let’s look at the previous three events at Pinehurst No. 2:

Payne Stewart, U.S. Open, Pinehurst

Photo by Getty Images

1999 — Payne Stewart’s legacy

Payne Stewart’s legacy lives on at Pinehurst No. 2. He would be 67 years old if he were still on this Earth, but he was tragically taken from golf just four months after his third major triumph. A tragic plane crash took his life way too soon.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of his historic 1999 U.S. Open win, which the club memorialized with a statue of that iconic celebration.

To honor the 25th anniversary of this year’s U.S. Open, Pinehurst moved the statue to the main entrance.

Stewart missed a par putt on the par-3 15th and trailed Phil Mickelson by one shot late in the final round. He was 42, and a two-time major champion, while Mickelson eyed his first major championship.

A par followed on 16 for Stewart, while Mickelson dropped from 1-under to even par. The duo were then tied with two to play.

On 17, Stewart hit a nearly perfect 6 iron off the tee and stuffed it to four feet. Mickelson would follow him with a 7-iron six feet from the hole.

The roar that followed was so loud that Tiger Woods had to back off his approach shot up ahead on 18.

Nevertheless, Mickelson missed his birdie putt on 17, while Stewart made his, giving him a one-shot lead heading to the final hole.

Then on 18, Stewart missed the fairway with his tee shot, giving Mickelson a little momentum. But Stewart ultimately got up-and-down, sinking an 18-foot par putt to defeat Mickelson by one. After the putt dropped, he celebrated with a fist pump and leg in the air.

He was the only player under par that year at the U.S. Open. Many questioned whether Pinehurst could sustain a U.S. Open, but the difficulty proved the doubters wrong.

2005 U.S. Open — Michael Campbell’s only major and PGA Tour win

U.S. Open, Pinehurst, Michael Campbell

Photo by Jim Watson/Getty Images

Once again, only one player finished in red figures at Pinehurst’s second U.S. Open. Michael Campbell became the second player from New Zealand to win a major. He followed Bob Charles, who won the 1963 Open Championship.

Campbell shot a final round 69 to clinch his only major championship. Tiger Woods also shot a 69 on Sunday, but a three-putt at the par-3 17th proved too costly for Woods to win.

The Kiwi won by two shots, which was the only time he ever hoisted a trophy on the PGA Tour. Very few people can say they beat Tiger in his prime, and Campbell is one of them.

2014 U.S. Open — Martin Kaymer’s runaway victory at Pinehurst

U.S. Open, Martin Kaymer, Pinehurst

Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Martin Kaymer is no longer on the PGA Tour as he now plays on LIV Golf. However, he is the defending Pinehurst champion this week. He won the 2014 U.S. Open by eight shots over Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler.

Kaymer opened with two 65s to start his week, which set a U.S. Open record for the lowest 36-hole score at 130. That record still holds 10 years later, but Fowler did tie it last year at Los Angeles Country Club when he went 62-68.

Kaymer has the third-lowest 54-hole total as well at 202.

The German went wire-to-wire that week and is still the last winner that started and finished without any ties. It marked his second major after he won the 2010 PGA Championship. Kaymer also won the 2014 Players Championship.

Last week, at LIV Golf Houston, Kaymer’s Cleek’s LIV Golf team won the team portion of the event, marking the first time he hoisted a trophy since his win at Pinehurst.

He returns to where it all happened, with his game headed in the right direction. Could it be a historic week for him yet again?

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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