To understand why Gary Woodland’s win at Pebble Beach was so popular among his fellow tour pros, you can watch Woodland in the viral video of Special Olympics golfer Amy Bockerstette making par at TPC Scottsdale’s par-3 16th hole in January.
Woodland was the defending champion at the Waste Management Phoenix Open who helped shepherd Bockerstette, a college golfer with Down syndrome, through her incredible up-and-down out of the sand at one of golf’s most renowned holes. By every account, Woodland's especially, the star of the show was the 20-year-old Bockerstette. But it’s also apparent how much Woodland relished being a part of it. “Something I’ll never forget,” Woodland said in January.
Five months later, Bockerstette and Woodland still feel a connection to one another. Asked about the experience earlier this week, the golfer said it stood as his all-time favorite moment in the game. And lest you thought Bockerstette was indifferent about the final round of the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour released a video of Bockerstette watching the clinching putt with family and friends.
And it gets better. In the moments after Woodland's winner's press conference, he FaceTimed with Bockerstette, telling her she was part of the reason he prevailed over Brooks Koepka and others down the stretch. "I used your positive energy," Woodland tells her. "I look forward to seeing you soon. We're going to play some golf."