Gary Woodland, who hasn’t managed to finish in the top 10 until 2018, successfully held off a potent charge from Brooks Koepka, a two-time defending champion, to claim victory at the 119th U.S Open for his first major win at Pebble Beach on Sunday.
Woodland, who began the final round with only a one-stroke lead, managed to go 2-under par and ended 13 under for 72 holes to claim victory by three strokes against Koepka, who was attempting to become the first golfer in 114 years to claim victory in 3 successive U.S Open titles. If you don’t know much about Gary Woodland, here are a few things that will impress you about him.
He was a viral video star earlier in the season
When Gary Woodland made his arrival at the Waste Management Phoenix Open during January, the officials of the PGA Tour asked him if he would mind playing with Amy Bockerstette, a Special Olympics golfer with Down syndrome, on the famous 16th hole par-3.
Gary Woodland was happy to go ahead and play with Amy. He met her father and Amy Bockerstette once he reached the tee box on the 16th. Amy, who recently accepted a scholarship to play golf in Phoenix at the Paradise Valley Community College, knocked her tee shot straight into a bunker, chipped it out to just over 8 feet, and then sank the ball for par. Gary Woodland stated that it was awesome.
It was also the most-watched video of the PGA Tour with over 5 million views. Gary stated that he had done quite a bit in his life, but this is something that he will never forget.
Father’s Day Comes with Special Meaning for Woodland
During March 2017, Gary announced on Instagram that his wife was expecting twins. In the same month, he unexpectedly withdraws from the prestigious WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that took place in Austin, Texas due to personal reasons.
After a week, Gary made another announcement that informed his fans that they lost one of their babies. Jaxson, Woodland’s son, was born in June 2017, ten weeks premature and had to stay at the hospital for 40 days. Thankfully, he is healthy and managed to walk with his dad during the par-three contest in April.
Gary Initially Wanted to Play Basketball
Woodland was raised in Kansas and was considered a golf and basketball star at Shawnee Heights High School. However, Division I schools didn’t recruit him even though he averaged 18 points and was named an all-state player. He loved playing basketball but ended up playing golf instead. Woodland initially signed to play basketball and golf at Washburn University Division II.
However, after he opened his freshman season, he quickly realized that golf is the sport for his future. Once he made that realization, he decided to transfer to Kansas, where he would play golf the very next year. Woodland stated that basketball still manages to assist him on the golf course.