With a final-round 69, Gary Woodland claimed a three-shot victory over Brooks Koepka at the 2019 U.S. Open.
Woodland finished his four rounds at Pebble Beach Golf Links at 13-under par to secure his first career major trophy, and fourth PGA Tour title. The victory earned the 35-year old Topeka, Kansas native $2,250,000, 600 FedExCup points, and 100 Official World Golf Rankings points.
Afterwards, Woodland met with the media to discuss his life-changing victory. Here a few pulls from the back and forth.
This week’s 3 Questions for the Winner is powered by The Titleist Store at Amazon.
Gary, you’re now a major champion, U.S. Open champion. Describe what it means to have your name on this trophy with some of the greatest players to have ever played the game.
GARY WOODLAND: It’s hard to — I’ve worked hard my whole life. I’ve been surrounded by amazing people and I always just wanted to be successful. I didn’t know what it was, what I was going to do.
I fell in love with golf, and it’s transcended to today. And it all kind of came out of me. I never kind of let myself get ahead, just told myself it’s never over, and when the last putt went in, it all came out.
I was more nervous afterwards than I was at all today. I’m glad it’s over with.
By not focusing solely on golf until college, there are people you’re playing out here that are turning pro when you were just focusing on golf. What was that like for you? Did you feel behind the eight ball when you were seeing all these 20-something players come and have their runs? Did you ever get discouraged thinking that somehow time was running out on you?
GARY WOODLAND: I think from a golf standpoint I’ve always been a little behind just from what you’re talking about, guys that have grown up doing this their whole life.
But from a competitive standpoint, I don’t think I was behind at all. I competed all my life at every sport and every level. It was just learning how to play golf. It was learning to complete my game, to get that short game, to get that putting, to drive the golf ball straighter. And that was the big deal.
From a golf standpoint, I was probably a little behind, and that gets frustrating at some point, because my whole life I’ve been able to compete and win at everything I’ve done, and I haven’t been able to do that as much as I’d like to in golf.
It’s taken a while, but I think we’re trending in the right direction.
That was a pretty impactful bear hug you and your dad had at the end, and I wonder if you could characterize your relationship with your dad on Father’s Day? He said he couldn’t talk to you the last couple of days because it was like a no-hitter, he didn’t want to disturb you.
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, my dad, I wouldn’t be where I am without my dad. My dad worked nights growing up. Growing up I had somebody to shoot baskets with, whatever we did I had somebody to do that with.
It took me a while once I got older because my dad always coached me. Golf was the only sport he didn’t coach me in. And my dad never forced me to do anything. But if I did it, if I decided to go play catch or basketball, he was hard on me.
You had to do it the right way, if you were going to do it. He never let me win.
I remember the first time I beat him in golf I was 13. I don’t know if I beat him in basketball until I was 14 or 15. He was bigger than me and never let me win.
It was hard when I got older of him not coaching me anymore to now the relationship where we can be best friends. And I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dad and the way he treated me and the way he was hard on me.
And that’s something that I look forward to doing with my son.
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Fastscripts, Getty Images