The U.S. Open is widely regarded as the toughest, most comprehensive and most unforgiving test in golf. Playing the U.S. Open takes guts – any flaws in your game will be exposed and magnified over the course of 72 holes. For the players who willingly endure this trial by fire, though, the humbling ups and downs are well worth it for a chance to prove to themselves and the world that they're made of the right stuff. Gary Woodland accepted this challenge at Pebble Beach and his U.S. Open Trophy is the ultimate symbol of #ProvingIt.
Why Does Gary Choose Pro V1?
This marks just the fourth event that Gary Woodland has played since switching back to a Titleist Pro V1 golf ball. He spoke with a Titleist Golf Ball representative at Torrey Pines earlier this season and learned about the Pro V1's lower flight with high spin and speed. Woodland had played Pro V1 in the past and was looking for greater spin and control. He asked for some of the Titleist Pro V1 golf balls at the Masters and then played them for the first time in competition at the Wells Fargo Championship. At the PGA Championship he finished T-8 in just the second week he put the Pro V1 in play.
2018 Champ Trusts Pro V1x in Title Defense
Like Woodland, the runner-up at this year's U.S. Open is also a non-contracted golf ball free-agent and has the freedom to play any ball he chooses. He's relied on the Pro V1x since January of 2017 and since then has become a dominant force in the game.
He entered the week as the defending U.S. Open Champion and turned in a valiant effort in his bid to become just the second player in history to win three consecutive U.S. Open titles. He was also in search of his second major title of the year, having won the PGA Championship at Bethpage. At Pebble Beach, he also shot four consecutive rounds in the 60s in his second-place performance, finishing with a score of 10-under-par 274.
At the time he switched to the Pro V1x golf ball, the runner-up had just one PGA TOUR win to his credit (the Waste Management Phoenix Open) and he had not won on the PGA TOUR since leaving Titleist.
Since his return, he has won five events, including four major championships and advanced from No. 19 prior to the switch to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.
- Gary Woodland had to sleep on the 36-hole and 54-hole leads – knowing in the back of his mind that he had been 0-7 in his previous attempts to win on tour after leading after 54 holes.
- He had to ignore the the collection of big-name players at the top of the leaderboard, all of whom made several charges and snapped at his heels throughout the weekend.
- He had to trust his aggressive game plan and the conviction that he "came to win", going for the green in two at the treacherous par-5 14th hole. His soaring 3-wood approach hit the green and just rolled into the left-hand collar. A chip and a putt later, he bagged a crucial birdie that separated him from the field coming down the back-9.
- He had to forget that he entered the week ranked 169th in scrambling and outperform every player in the field in that statistical category. His short game prowess was highlighted by an amazing spinning chip, nipped perfectly from the lower lobe of the putting surface on the 17th hole that left a tap-in to save par and which effectively sealed the victory.
He did all that and more. Trusting his Pro V1 golf ball, Woodland never blinked, firing four rounds in the 60s, posting a 13-under-par 271 and proving himself more than worthy of the title, "Major Champion".
"We put a lot of work in this year in becoming a more complete player. People probably said the U.S. Open wouldn't suit me, because I'm a long hitter, I'm a bomber. [But] I can play different golf courses. And I went out and proved, I think to everybody else, what I always believed – that I'm pretty good."
– Gary Woodland
U.S. Open: Highlights and Fast Facts
• Seven of the 11 players who finished among the top 10 and ties relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success. Following the winner and runner-up were: Chez Reavie (T3); Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen (T7); and Henrik Stenson and Chesson Hadley (T9).
• In addition to the 1-2 finish at Pebble Beach, the low amateur also played the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball to set a new U.S. Open scoring record for an amateur. He birdied the 18th hole to shoot 4-under 67 and set a new 72-hole scoring record of 4-under 280. It breaks the 282 mark set in 1960 at Cherry Hills Country Club.
• The win marks the 16th for Titleist golf ball players on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR, 10 more than the nearest competitor with 6.
• Titleist golf ball players have now won 9 of the past 10 major championship, including two straight (the U.S. Open runner-up also won the PGA Championship) … and a Pro V1 or Pro V1x has been played to win 4 of the past 5 U.S. Open Championships.
• The Pro V1 or Pro V1x has been played to win 10 U.S. Open Championships since its introduction, including the first year it was available at a U.S. Open in 2001.
• Titleist golf ball players have won 98 times across the worldwide professional tours this season, more than six times the nearest competitor with 16.
Adam Scott - T7 - 119th U.S Open | TS3 Driver
For the the 20th time this season, continuing a trend of player trust and validation, Titleist was the #1 choice in the driver category at the U.S. Open, with 38 Titleist models in play. Of those Titleist drivers, 33 were TS models (TS2 - 6 | TS3 - 26 | TS4 - 1). This is the first time in 19 years that Titleist has been the top choice in the driver category at the U.S. Open (2000 U.S. Open, which was also contested at Pebble Beach Golf Links).
This year marked the 71st straight year that Titleist was the #1 ball played at the U.S. Open. The record began in 1949 at Medinah Country Club at the 49th playing of the U.S. Open. This past week at Pebble Beach, 104 players in the 155-man field trusted a Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball, nearly 6 times more than the nearest competitor with 18 players and more than all other competitor brand golf balls combined.
Titleist was also the top choice among players in hybrids (18) and irons (41). Titleist introduced new T100, 620 CB and 620 MB irons at Pebble Beach, as players were able to use them for the first time in competition. The introduction follows the launch of new TS2 and TS hybrids and U-500 and U-510 utility irons at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago.
Among the players putting new iron sets into play for the first time were Cameron Smith (T100 Black/4-9 and U-500 3-iron), Charles Howell III (T100/4-8 and 620 CB/9-PW, and new TS3/21° hybrid), both of whom played the weekend.
Vokey Design Wedges also topped the approach, sand and lob wedge category with 190 Vokey models in play.
Due to course conditions this week, especially given that it was a U.S. Open, the Titleist Tour Truck was busy helping players adjust and fine tune their wedges. According to Vokey Wedge Tour Representative, Aaron Dill., players gravitated to lower bounce options like 58° and 60° T-grinds as and L-grinds as well as low bounce K grinds in the 3-4° range.
From all of us at Titleist, congratulations, Gary, on your historic title and thank you for trusting the Pro V1 golf ball in capturing your first major victory!