Amy inspires Woodland: 'You’ve got this'
June 16, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Gary Woodland surprises Amy from Special Olympics Arizona
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Gary Woodland kept repeating the phrase to himself throughout the final round of the U.S. Open … "I’ve got this."
Seems a simple enough message. But in this case it carried significant weight.
Woodland became an Internet sensation way beyond the realms of just golf earlier this year when he was involved in a viral video produced by the PGA TOUR during the Waste Management Phoenix Open. But he wasn’t the star.
That role belonged to Amy Bockerstette. Amy is a Special Olympics golfer with Down Syndrome who joined Woodland to play the infamous par-3 16th stadium hole at TPC Scottsdale during a practice round. After she hit her tee shot in a bunker, she wasn’t fazed, and amazed Woodland by saying simply, “I got this.” He was going to hit it out of the sand for her. Amy was having none of that.
After calmly splashing out on to the green, she faced a 12-foot par putt. Woodland says he was more nervous for her on that putt than he’s ever been himself, including this week at Pebble Beach. Once again Amy told Woodland, “I got this,” before knocking it in. The crowd went wild and Woodland’s smile was bigger than hers. They became instant friends. That video has had more than 15 million views on social media.
I got this, is Amy’s motto. It is even printed on her golf balls. And last night, as Woodland went to bed with the 54-hole lead in the U.S. Open, she tweeted her friend. “You got this,” she said. It helped clear from his head the fact he was 0 for 7 on the PGA TOUR closing out 54-hole leads.
“Amy's attitude is phenomenal. That's something I want to teach my kids… positive energy is contagious,” Woodland says.
“And life's not always going to be bells and whistles. There are going to be bad things in your life, a lot of ups and downs, but the only 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've got this, I've got this, and I told myself that a million times today, I've got this.”
So as he plotted his way around Pebble Beach on Sunday, Woodland knew adversity would come. But how he responded to is would be key. Woodland knew his game was good enough, but this time his head needed to match his skill. When he had a couple of bogeys around the turn to let Brooks Koepka into the hunt, Woodland stayed confident. This was evidenced by an impressive 3-wood into the par-5 14th that would eventually help provide a critical birdie. In the past, Woodland had faltered, but with Amy’s inspiration in his mind he would not back down.
“She's meant everything for me from a mental standpoint,” Woodland continued.
“The world needs more of her in it.”
After going through all of his post tournament media commitments, Woodland made an important FaceTime call. It was to Amy who was in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl. having stayed glued to the broadcast all day. Her parents say she’s never been that focused on a tournament. When Woodland’s final birdie putt landed, she leapt off the couch in jubilation.
When the pair connected the smiles were wider than his three-shot winning margin. Amy told him he was awesome. Woodland told her the same and promised to play some golf with her soon. Right before she signed off, Amy had one more thing to say to her friend about the wonderful final hole highlight Woodland provided on Pebble Beach’s famous 18th green.
“Maybe your video will surpass mine from now on,” she smiled.
Gary Woodland talks to Amy Bockerstette after U.S. Open victory