Golf Digest Videos

How an Ex-NBA Star Helped Gary Woodland Win the U.S. Open

Alex Myers discusses Gary Woodland's win at Pebble Beach and the assist he got from a former NBA point guard in college.

Released on 6/18/2019

Transcript

00:00
So Gary Woodland won the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
00:03
But it might have never happened if not for Kirk Hinrich.
00:06
Remember him?
00:07
The dude who played for the Chicago Bulls
00:08
and wore Rec Specs?
00:09
Yeah, that guy.
00:11
Turns out Woodland played against him in college
00:13
on the basketball court.
00:15
After being an all-state high school basketball player,
00:17
Woodland got a scholarship to play
00:19
for Division II powerhouse Washburn.
00:21
And in a preseason game, the Washburn Ichabods,
00:24
that's right, the Ichabods,
00:26
took on Kirk's Kansas Jayhawks,
00:28
who were ranked number one in the country at the time.
00:31
Let's just say it didn't go well.
00:33
As Woodland tells it, I was guarding Kirk Hinrich,
00:36
and like, okay, I need to find something else
00:38
because this ain't going to work.
00:41
Shortly after, Woodland transferred to KU to focus on golf,
00:44
and he hasn't looked back since,
00:46
although he still hoops from time to time.
00:48
While Woodland seemed like a surprise winner
00:50
at Pebble Beach, he actually entered the week
00:51
with three previous PGA Tour wins,
00:53
and as the 25th ranked player in the world.
00:55
So he's not even the lowest ranked golfer
00:56
to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in the past decade.
00:59
Graeme McDowell was number 37 in 2010.
01:02
The guy is good, and he might be the first golfer
01:05
to wrap up a major by chipping off a green.
01:08
Talk about a shooter's touch.
01:10
But there's a lot more fans should know
01:12
about golf's newest major champ, besides his b-ball skills.
01:15
Earlier this year, Woodland was involved
01:17
in one of the tour's most viral videos,
01:20
cheering on Special Olympics golfer Amy Bockerstette
01:23
as she made a thrilling par
01:24
at TPC Scottsdale's famed 16th hole.
01:27
His victory celebration included
01:28
a sweet FaceTime call to Amy,
01:31
and the two even reunited on the Today Show.
01:34
In addition to being one of the tour's nicest guys,
01:36
and longest hitters, Gary is also the king of traj
01:39
for his filthy stingers.
01:41
And he often gets confused for Brooks Koepka,
01:43
the man he held off at Pebble Beach.
01:46
Hmm, I wonder who could bench more in the gym?
01:50
Speaking of Pebble Beach, what a place.
01:52
I'm the type of guy who learned the media center
01:55
was overlooking the ocean and then got more excited
01:57
that it was also located near a Costco.
01:59
But even I appreciate Pebble's beauty.
02:01
And credit to the USGA for a fair setup,
02:04
both in terms of the course, and the media center.
02:07
Conditions got tough for a few hours
02:09
when the soda machine's Coke and Coke Zero went down,
02:12
and the chocolate cookie placements were a bit spotty.
02:16
But those chocolate ice cream dark chocolate-covered
02:19
Haagen-Dazs bars made up for it.
02:21
Those things are what I'll remember from the week.
02:24
Oh, and Pebble Beach's spectacular views.
02:27
Oh, and Brooks Koepka winning again.
02:29
I mean Gary Woodland winning.
02:31
Now that both are major champs,
02:33
they're going to get confused for each other even more.
02:36
[rhythmic hip-hop music]
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