Payne Stewart's dramatic victory highlights U.S. Open moments at Pinehurst

The U.S. Open returns to North Carolina this week.

Pinehurst No. 2 is hosting one of golf's biggest tournaments for the fourth time in its history. Wyndham Clark will look to defend his 2023 title, which he won in grand fashion at Los Angeles Country Club by outlasting Rory McIlroy. He'll have to deal with a surging Xander Schauffele, coming off his first career major win at the PGA Championship -- and, of course, the ever-present threat of Scottie Scheffler, who remains the man to beat at any tournament he enters.

The U.S. Open has seen some excellent golf in its previous three trips to Pinehurst, and no shortage of drama. To commemorate the tournament's return, here's a look back at the 1999, 2005 and 2014 contests.

1999: Payne Stewart

The 1999 contest was a tough one for competitors, with only Stewart finishing below par for the week. Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh were in contention late, but the final hole came down to Stewart and Phil Mickelson with the former one stroke ahead. Mickelson's wife, Amy, was about to go into labor with the couple's first child, and Mickelson was ready to walk off the course and fly to her side. Mickelson just barely missed his birdie putt, and Stewart nailed his par response to avoid a Monday playoff and secure the win. Tragically, this would be Stewart's final major win, as he died in a plane crash four months later.

2005: Michael Campbell

The second edition of the tournament at Pinehurst was Retief Goosen's to lose. Going into the final round, Goosen was 3-under par and three shots ahead of Olin Browne and Jason Gore. Unfortunately for Goosen, his Sunday showing was a disaster. Goosen bogeyed hole after hole and finished 11 over on the day, tying for eighth place. Browne and Gore didn't fare any better, as they shot 10 over and 14 over to finish tied for 23rd and 49th respectively. Campbell, who started the day in 4th, stayed solid amongst the chaos at the top, shooting 1-under par to finish even on the week.

2014: Martin Kaymer

Pinehurst is known for being a difficult course, but Kaymer owned it in 2014. He led wire-to-wire, shooting consecutive 65s on the first two days to give him a commanding 10-under par score, six shots ahead of Brendon Todd at No. 2. Though he was 2-over par on Saturday, he was never in danger of losing his lead, finishing 9 under on Sunday, eight shots ahead of second place finishers Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton.