Gary Woodland Wins 2019 US Open
Gary Woodland Gets One Over on Brooks Koepka
With a 13-under-par score of 271 Gary Woodland won the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links by 3 shots over hard-charging two-time-defending champion Brooks Koepka. All day long, but especially on the pressure-packed back nine, Woodland remained calm and focused and in control of every facet of his game to capture his first Major Title.
Since debuting in 2009 he has been regarded as one of the longest hitters on tour. Even with his length he only had 3 wins to show for it until Sunday’s dramatic breakthrough. Perhaps because he dragged an unimposing 0-for-7 record when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead into Sundays’ final round he wasn’t expected to hold up to the relentless pressure of the final round of a major. But he took advantage of his length and blasted a three-wood from 263 yards over a cavernous bunker to the par 5 14th hole green and got up and down for birdie and a 2-shot lead. Then, with Koepka one hole ahead looking at an eagle chip on 18 to tie the lead, Woodland dug deep and displayed a touch no one expected. From the edge of the 17th green, 90 feet of danger between him and the hole, with a mound to navigate over, and the tournament on the line, Woodland cleanly and deftly pitched his ball over the mound to 12 feet short of the hole where it checked up and trickled to tap in range. Up ahead Koepka failed to make birdie and saw his pursuit of a three-peat and history vanish. A birdie on 18 completed the journey for Woodland.
The victory caps a career upswing that began with personal tragedy in 2017 with the loss of one of the twin babies he and his wife were expecting that fall. The loss led Woodland to a new found calm and to his 2018 Waste Management Open win. That win paved the way for his encounter, as defending champion in January, with Special Olympian Amy Bockerstette. The young golfer joined Woodland at his invitation on the famous 16th hole, The Coliseum, during a practice round. She calmly repeated the mantra “I’ve got this” over and over on her way to an amazing par from the greenside bunker. Woodland used the same mantra, and Amy, as his inspiration to victory.
Take a look at this awesome and inspiring video shot at TPC Scottsdale:
This writer has long been a fan of Woodland game. It’s confused me why he hasn’t won more. I once asked a teaching professional why. His simple, direct answer: “it’s near impossible to win on tour, no matter how great you are. They’re all great”.
Well, for one magical Fathers-Day weekend, Gary Woodland, the son of a father who flatlined for 3 minutes 10 years ago before surviving and the husband and father whose wife is now once again expecting twins, was the greatest.
He’s got this.