US Open Sunday plays out on Father’s Day but Wyndham Clark only had one person on his mind when cuddling the gleaming US Open trophy – his mother who passed away when he was in college.
Clark climbed his Everest at LA Country Club as he held off big names in Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Rickie Fowler to write his own Hollywood script and claim his maiden major title.
Hollywood knows an underdog story all too well and Clark is no different having struggled mentally following the passing of his mother while he was in university. In a rags to riches tale, the American had risen from 163rd in the world to 35th before the week began following his recent Wells Fargo win. Now, he has given his mother another reason to look down on him with a smile.
“I know my mom is proud of me. She’s always been proud of me, regardless of how I’m doing or what I’m doing. I just wish she could be here and we could enjoy this. It’s been a pretty amazing week because my mom lived in LA for a few years and I’ve had some people come up to me and show pictures of my mom when they knew her back in her 20s and early 30s when she was living here.
“That just happened this week, so it was kind of a special vibe all week being here in LA. My parents got married at Riviera Country Club. I have some roots a little bit in this area. All I really wish is that my mom could be here and I could just hug her and we could celebrate together. But I know she’s proud of me.
“She’d be crying tears of joy. She would just — she called me winner when I was little, so she would just say, ‘I love you, Winner.’ She had that mantra of play big. But really, I was a mama’s boy, so there would be a lot of hugging and crying together. But I know she’d be very proud of me. I miss her, and it’s obviously great to think about her, and being here in LA and winning something like this makes me think of her even more than maybe my day-to-day when I’m not playing a championship.”
Clark closed with a level-par 70 to win by one from McIlroy on ten-under and he survived a late wobble after bogeys on 15 and 16 to close with two clutch pars.
“You know, this is now my second win on the PGA TOUR and first one was surreal and this one is surreal. It hasn’t quite hit me yet. Walking up 18 was pretty emotional, and then finishing. But yeah, it’s been a whirlwind of the last five, six weeks. It’s been — just so blessed and humbled to be here.
“I hit some great shots coming down at the end, and although I made a couple bogeys and it seemed like maybe the rails were coming off, I was inside pretty calm. I’m really pleased with myself with how I performed.
“The minute you get ahead or behind, you feel like you make mistakes, especially at this level. It’s more mentally tough than anything, but I feel like if you just stay within yourself, you can pull off the shots that you need to.
“John and I, we’re trying to keep it light. Fortunately I was walking with Rickie and his caddie Ricky, and they’re such class acts and great guys, and they were also trying to keep it light the last couple holes, which just gets your mind away from it just for a quick second. So that really helped.”