Golf

Champ’s heartwarming call to ‘hero’

Gary Woodland had just pulled off the biggest win of his career, but in the middle of addressing the awaiting press he had to make one important phone call.

Woodland held off fellow American Brooks Koepka to claim the US Open by three strokes, a feat his biggest source of inspiration knew he could achieve.

From her perch in front of a TV in Florida, viral golf star Amy Bockerstette had no doubt.

How could she, after she and Woodland had come this far together.

A video of the duo melted hearts earlier in the year when Woodland surprised Bockerstette, who has down syndrome, by playing the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale.

"Amy … you're our hero."

How a superstar named Amy teamed up with @GaryWoodland to win the hearts of the 16th hole crowd @WMPhoenixOpen.#LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/iRhZbvdjuP

More than 20 million have watched, and more than 20 million had to have cried. Amy had her own moment of glory and as we got to know her, we found out a lot about Woodland too.

But as Woodland saluted after nailing a monster putt on the 18th hole, in Florida, the junior college player Bockerstette did a little dance to celebrate.

“She lived and died every shot during the round,” her father, Joe Bockerstette said. “I can’t express how excited Amy was. She kept asking me all day when Gary was going to tee off.”

As Woodland stood in front of the media throng with his arms draped around the Open trophy, he picked up his phone and FaceTimed his “hero”.

“Did you like that today?” he asked. “I used your positive energy. You were awesome.”

What a sweet moment as a victorious Gary Woodland FaceTimes with Amy Bockerstette. The two were involved in a viral video earlier this season and remain in touch. pic.twitter.com/kts74xo3eL

Woodland held off a fast-finishing Koepka to deny him a 114-year old record of claiming his third straight US Open crown.

He held his nerve and did so using a phrase from Bockerstette who had tweeted him ahead of his third round getting underway.

“I said that a lot today,” he said.

You’ve got this @GaryWoodland ! https://t.co/GhfepuB47w

After that incredible meeting in January the relationship between the pair clearly means a lot to Woodland who said the two keep in constant communication.

“She’s meant everything for me from a mental standpoint,” he said during a news conference. “The world needs more of her in it. Her attitude, her love for life, love for the game and her positive energy is so contagious. And I’ve had the pleasure to continue to speak with her. She sent me a nice video when I got sick and had to pull out of Wells Fargo. She sent me an amazing birthday video, singing happy birthday to me. She’s a special girl, special parents, and it’s nice to call her a friend.”

with AP

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