The US Open wrapped up on Sunday at the Los Angeles Country Club, and a fresh face took home the big prize. Wyndham Clark, a little-known player on the tour, had the round of his life in his first Open weekend. Clark had missed the cut in the previous two US Open tournaments he had participated in, but his time, he brought home the title.
Clark shot a blistering 10-under par for the tournament and held off a late charge by superstar Rory McIlroy, finishing one stroke ahead of the world’s 3rd-rated player. Clark held steady down the stretch as McIlroy appeared to press and make some uncharacteristic mistakes on the back nine.
On the 14th hole, McIlroy chunked a shot into the rough part of the bunker. He got a controversial free drop but squandered the opportunity when he missed the putt for par, allowing Clark some much-needed breathing room.
Clark bogeyed the 15th and 16th hole, leaving the door slightly cracked for McIlroy, but when he needed a birdie on 18 to force extra play, he fell short, settling for second place and handing Wyndham Clark his first huge payday on the tour.
Clark only has one win on the PGA Tour, and his career earnings were $11.5 million prior to his win. Not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but the $3.6 million purse certainly bumps his career numbers.
After the tournament, Clark sent out a heartfelt tribute to his late mother: “I just felt like my mom was watching over me today. I worked so hard and dreamed about this moment for so long. I just felt like it was my time.”
It was a nice tribute for a player that has struggled on the tour thus far. It also wasn’t as if Clark didn’t also face controversy Sunday. While on the back nine, Clark appeared to line up a wedge shot, and many believe he should have been penalized. The video replay seems to show that perhaps the ball moved slightly, which would have been a penalty stroke and forced extra play. The shot in question can be seen below. Social media seems to think it was a foul, but nothing was called, and Clark escaped the incident without penalty.
🤔 Did Wyndham Clark’s ball move?
— NUCLR GOLF (@NUCLRGOLF) June 18, 2023
It was an exciting tournament, and a new face is a welcome sight. Professional golf has been riddled with controversy since the Saudi-owned LIV tour merged with the PGA, and many fans have vowed to stop watching the sport.
It should be noted that the PGA and many of its players have long asserted that they would never give in to the Middle Eastern cash and join the LIV due to the Saudi’s role in 911. When the merger was announced out of the blue, the golf world exploded in controversy. However, having an exciting Open with an underdog winner could go a long way to drawing upset golf fans back to their televisions.
Time will tell, of course, but if Wyndham Clark can build on the momentum from the Open, perhaps the 32nd-ranked player in the world could inject some much-needed new blood to a tour in turmoil.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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