Gary Woodland achieves Father's Day dream with U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach

Gary Woodland achieves Father's Day dream with U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH -- When Gary Woodland awoke Sunday morning holding the 54-hole lead at the 2019 U.S. Open, he did what any other father would when he's away from his family on Father's Day: FaceTime with his wife and kid. 

Then, he received a message from his swing coach Pete Cowen. 

Every man dies, but not every man lives, and you live for this moment.

Leading a pack of major champions to begin the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach would be enough to rattle anyone's nerves. One look at the leaderboard to start the day and it would be easy to envision Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy or Justin Rose surpassing Woodland as he tried to win his first major championship. 

But Woodland preached the belief in himself all week. And each time it looked like he was about to give in to the pressure, he steadied himself. 

On Saturday, there was the chip-in for par at No. 12 and the 42-foot par putt at No. 14. Again, on Sunday, with Koepka charging up the leaderboard for a chance to make history by winning his third straight U.S. Open, Woodland didn't buckle. 

After a par on No. 1, he birdied the second to put some distance between himself and the hard-charging Koepka. As the day turned to twilight and the waves painted the rocks along the Pacific Coast, Woodland maintained his lead and his composure.

But Koepka and Rose would not give him the trophy.

After a bogey on No. 12, Woodland held just a one-shot lead over Koepka.

It would be a message from another special person that would get Woodland home. 

Back in January at the Waste Management Open, a video of Woodland and Special Olympian Amy Bockerstette playing the famed 16th hole went viral. 

Gary and Amy have remained in touch and have become good friends. She tweeted words of encouragement to him Saturday night and their relationship has become a special one for Woodland. 

"The only thing you can control, and I said this yesterday, the only thing I can control today is my attitude," Woodland said when asked what he's learned from Amy. "My caddie told me today when I got done that it was the best he's ever seen my attitude all week. I just try to control that because that's really all you can control. You know, Amy's attitude is phenomenal. That's something I want to teach my kids that positive energy is contagious. Life's not always going to be bells and whistles, there's going to be some bad things that happen in your life. There's going to be a lot of ups and downs but the one thing you can control is your attitude and if you do that, in the end, good things will happen. 

"Amy told me a million times when we were on that hole, 'I got this. I got this.' I told myself that a million times today. I got this."

Still leading by one shot when he stepped on the 14th tee, Woodland hammered a drive down the left side of the fairway. Instead of electing to play it safe on the Par 5, Woodland took out his 3-wood and hit his second shot to the back left of the green, giving him an easy two-putt for birdie and a two-stroke lead. 

While Rose faded down the stretch, Koepka would not. Leading by two shots with two to play and with Koepka playing the Par-5 18th, Woodland lost his tee shot on the Par-3 17th to the right. His tee shot landed at the edge of the green, some 90 feet from the hole, giving Woodland only one option to get up-and-down for what would be a championship-winning par. 

Woodland took out his 64-degree wedge, and clipped the back of the ball just perfectly. The ball landed in the middle of the green, bounced twice and rolled to within three feet of the pin. 

He laid back off the tee on 18, soaking in the walk to his coronation as a major champion. His third shot on the Par-5 18th landed 30 feet from the hole. Two putts were all that was left to major championship glory, but Woodland, as he did all week, found the bottom of the cup with one final stroke of his putter, punctuating an impressive performance at one of golf's hallowed lands. 

Two years ago, Gary and his wife Gabby were expecting twins but lost one of the children during pregnancy. Their son, Jaxson, was born prematurely but is healthy and will celebrate his second birthday next week. They are expecting twin girls in August. 

On Father's Day, Gary Woodland became a U.S. Open champion. He thought of his wife and son back home. Of his unborn daugthers. He gave his own father, the man who never let him win growing up, a huge bear hug after he secured a lifelong dream that he hopes one day his son will see. 

"Like I said, I wouldn't be here without my dad," Woodland said. "And I probably didn't realize how special it all was until I became a father. And obviously we had our struggles, and it's been documented, the losses that we've suffered. We lost a couple last year, as well. And it was tough. We thought we were done, and the identical twin girls were a surprise.

"Being a father now puts life in perspective. My whole life it's all been about trying to win. And now I'm trying to make a better life for my son than I've had. It's been a process. But today is so special from that standpoint that being a father and hopefully some day he can even see this and realize that anything is possible." 

[RELATED: Tiger makes Pebble Beach roar with final round birdie flurry]

Then, Woodland thought of Amy and her family. As he walked to the media center he FaceTimed her to celebrate his win. Her words of encouragement still hanging over his victory. 

"You got this."

Tom Brady silences Charles Barkley with insane birdie in 'The Match'


Tom Brady silences Charles Barkley with insane birdie in 'The Match'

Tom Brady's start in "The Match" with former NFL star Peyton Manning and PGA Tour legends Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods wasn't great, leading to an endless parade of criticism on social media.

The six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback found a way to silence the haters with this remarkable shot for birdie on the seventh hole at Medalist Golf Club.

[RELATED: Warriors' Steph Curry wants in on next iteration of 'The Match' event]

Charles Barkley is part of TNT's telecast, and was in Brady's ear all the way up until he hit the shot.

Unfortunately for Brady, his pants didn't survive the hole.

Warriors star Steph Curry and former Warrior Andre Iguodala both are avid golf fans, and were just like the rest of us after seeing Brady's shot.

The San Mateo native got his mojo back, but he and his partner Mickelson have some catching up to do with Manning and Woods in control.

How to watch The Match: Tiger vs. Phil charity golf streaming, on TV


How to watch The Match: Tiger vs. Phil charity golf streaming, on TV

The golf event we've all been waiting for is nearly upon us.

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson, Part 2 ... with a twist.

On Sunday, Tiger will team up with NFL legend Peyton Manning to take on Mickelson and six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady in The Match: Champions for Charity at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.

Get ready for some epic trash talk.

Tiger and Phil squared off in the first edition of The Match back on Nov. 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, with Mickelson winning on the fourth extra hole.

Now the two championship golfers will be joined by two champion quarterbacks.

[RELATED: Manning takes perfect shot at Brady]

The stakes will be high, and the side bets should be incredible.

Here's how to watch The Match: Champions for Charity on TV and streaming online:

When: Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT