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