U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, Amy Bockerstette 'linked in eternity'

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, Amy Bockerstette 'linked in eternity'

USGA

U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, Amy Bockerstette 'linked in eternity'

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Amy Bockerstette doesn’t watch much golf on television. Or she didn’t at least until Gary Woodland took control of the 119th U.S. Open.

“The minute we found out that Gary was near the leaderboard,” said her father Joe, “Amy got engaged and she wouldn’t leave the TV after that for two days.”

Not surprisingly, Amy yelled “Go Gary, you got this!” all day long from her spot on the couch in the home of Paul and Michelle Tesori.

When Woodland claimed his first major championship title at Pebble Beach, it felt like a member of the Bockerstette family had won.

Amy and Woodland developed a friendship after appearing together in a viral video earlier this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It was more than a meet-n-greet set up by the Special Olympics and PGA Tour. Amy, who has Down syndrome, played the famed 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale alongside Woodland and made the world’s greatest par from the greenside bunker.

The video has more than 5 million views.

“It’s like these events will be linked in eternity now,” said Joe. “Who knew back in the last week of January how those two and half minutes would impact our lives?”

Woodland heaped praise on Bockerstette in his champion’s press conference.

“She’s meant everything for me from a mental standpoint,” he said. “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.”

They also spoke with each other afterward.

On Father’s Day Woodland said he wants to teach his own kids – he has a son Jaxson and his wife is pregnant with identical twin girls – that positive energy like Amy’s is contagious. Life will be full of ups and downs, he said, and the only thing you can control is your attitude.

“Amy told me a million times when we were on that hole ‘I’ve got this, I’ve got this,’ ” said Woodland. “And I told myself that a million times today, ‘I’ve got this.’ ”

And he did. Just like Amy.

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