The U.S. Open finished over Father’s Day weekend with a new champ, Wyndham Clark from Denver, Colorado.
The win will mark Clark’s first in a major open, one he tributes to his mother. The self-proclaimed “mama’s boy” won by 1 shot over Rory McIlroy.
Clark’s mother, Lise Clark, introduced him to golf at a young age, reports The Associated Press. Lise died in 2013 from breast cancer, a tragic event that sent the Denver native “spiraling,” according to the outlet.
“I didn’t show any emotion off the course, but when I was on the golf course, I couldn’t have been angrier,” Clark said of his state of mind when he first learned of his mom’s diagnosis. “I was breaking clubs when I didn’t even hit that bad of a shot. I was walking off golf courses.”
Clark described nights of screaming in his car and punching things because he was so angry, questioning why he couldn’t do things like his peers. While attempting to control his anger, he held on to a simple saying his mother always told him when it came to golf, “play big.”
With those two words ingrained in his head, Clark crushed the leaderboard on the California course. According to ESPN, playing in the dark was something Clark was used to, and it reminded him of his days practicing in “the twilight at Cherry Hills Country Club.”
“All I really wish is that my mom could be here and I could just hug her, and we could celebrate together,” Clark said. “But I know she’s proud of me.”