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U.S. Open 2019: Brooks Koepka waited around to congratulate Gary Woodland

June 17, 2019

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Gary Woodland had no shortage of well-wishers waiting for him behind the 18th green. But one in particular stuck out: runner-up Brooks Koepka. All day, Koepka had nipped at Woodland’s heels, threatening to complete a four-shot comeback and win his third consecutive U.S. Open.

But Woodland slammed the door with a wild up-and-down at 17 and a 30-footer for birdie on 18, leaving Koepka to tip his cap to the winner. As Woodland came off the 18th green, the defending champion was there waiting for him.

Koepka said the decision to wait around afterwards was a no-brainer. “Cool way to go out on 18, to make that bomb. He deserves it, he’s worked hard and I’m happy for him,” he said.

Although Koepka didn’t win, he cemented his status as world No. 1 with a Sunday 68 that left him in solo second — and proud of his effort.

“It doesn’t sting. I played great. Nothing I could do. I gave it my all. I give it my all every time and sometimes, like this week — it happened at Augusta — it’s not meant to be. I played great. I hit every shot that I wanted to. And sometimes no matter how good your good is, it isn’t there.”

Woodland is used to existing in Koepka’s shadow — to the point where he said he has often been mistaken for the four-time major winner. Woodland’s first two top-10s in majors came at the 2018 and 2019 PGA Championships, which Koepka won. This time it was Koepka congratulating the 35-year-old first time champ.

“I played great. Nothing I could do,” Koepka said. “Gary played a great four days. That’s what you’ve got to do if you want to win a U.S. Open, win a major championship and hats off to him.”