Last week golfer Gary Woodland won the U.S. Open when he defeated two-time champion Brooks Koepka at Pebble Beach in California. Woodland won by only three strokes and had the game of a lifetime. This past week, fans and social media users have been praising Woodland not only for his golf performance over the past year but for a sweet interaction he had with a fan named Amy Bockerstette months ago, according to Today.
Bockerstette has down syndrome and is a golfer for Special Olympics. She also happens to be a huge fan of Woodland. Back in January, Woodland took the time to meet with her and even played the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. The moment took place just before he was to play in the Phoenix Open.
Bockerstette and Woodland shared a hug before heading out to play the 16th. Bockerstette was clearly not only ecstatic to meet the golfer, but enjoying the enthusiastic cheers from the stands from those encouraging her on. She exuded confidence and won the hearts not only of those in attendance but of the thousands of people who watched the video footage of the interaction that later went viral.
After embracing Woodland, Buckerstette putted from a tee to about 8 feet of the hole, an impressive play.
"Why don't you go ahead and make that?" Woodland told her."You got this kiddo," her father says, who was watching the play from nearby.
"OK, I got this," she responds, before putting the ball straight into the cup. As soon as she finishes, the crowd erupts in cheers and applause. Buckerstette smiles from ear to ear.
Buckerstette looks up to Woodland as an athlete. She admires his golf game and the skills he displays on the course. But she discovered that her admiration is very much reciprocated by the pro athlete himself. Woodland praised her after she made the shot.
"You are so awesome. You're an inspiration to us, all right? You're our hero," he told her.
After he had finished playing for the day, Woodland reflected back on the moment he'd shared with Buckerstette. He said that he admired her for being so positive and happy despite the hardships she has faced in her life.
"I've done a lot of stuff being the defending champ, but that was by far the coolest thing that I got asked to do and something I'll never forget. I told her she was an inspiration to all of us and we can all learn from her."