Wyndham Clark Ready to Defend U.S. Open Title

A Q&A with defending U.S. Open Champion Wyndham Clark

By Garrett Johnson

Wyndham Clark has recently enjoyed a meteoric rise towards the top of the golf world. Thanks to his U.S. Open win last year in Los Angeles, the Denver native has attained worldwide recognition and catapulted into the top echelon of Tour stars. On top of that, he’s playing all the signature events and even dropping course records at some of them like February’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He sat down recently and reflected on his memorable breakthrough at Los Angeles Country Club last June and looked ahead to Pinehurst No. 2 and his title defense.

Q: U.S. Open Champ – How does that sound as part of your name?

Wyndham Clark: It never gets old (smiles). It’s always nice when they announce me on the first tee as the reigning U.S. Open Champion. It’s pretty awesome when I hear that at different tournaments. It’s a great feeling for sure. To hear US Open champ attached to my name is something that never gets old for me.

Q: What moment from that weekend looking back gives you a lot of pride now?

Clark: Probably my mentality. There was a lot of adversity in that round on Sunday, and I think I just handled the adversity really well. Mentally I felt really strong. I think that’s in the end what got me the W. My game wasn’t as sharp that week as it was at Quail Hollow the month before. In that Wells Fargo event, I was hitting the ball amazingly well. But that week at LACC I wasn’t hitting my irons that well, but I was putting and chipping really well  and drove the ball well. But overall, mentally I was just so strong. That’s really what I look back on with the most pride, my mentality at the U.S. Open as the best thing in my game that week.

USGA CONTENT HUB/ / ROBERT BECK

Q: How fun has it been celebrating with that trophy and what kinds of drinks have gone into it?

Clark: The trophy’s been a lot of places (laughs). I’m not ready to give up the trophy, but I’m ready to not have to do things with the trophy if that makes any sense. A lot of friends will come into town and will want to do things with the trophy or they’ll want to see it and party with it. Then I go ‘alright guys, I’m kind of done with celebrating. I want to be focusing on this year.’ But honestly, I think almost every kind of alcohol has been in there. This is not very sanitary but I think 1,000 people have had a drink out of my trophy. It’s been at my home club at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, Arizona, it went to Vegas for some fun, it went to Cabo San Lucas for my 30th birthday, it went to New York, it went back home to Colorado.

Q: Now that you have a major under your belt, how do you feel about your mindset for major championships?

Clark: I think the great thing is if I find myself in contention again for a major I know I’ve already pulled one off before and done it – there won’t be any doubt there which is huge. I feel like my game has always been a good fit for majors because of my short game and length. I think those are two huge things for a major championship to be able to hit it far off the tee, but when you are out of position because courses are so demanding I will have a lot of chances to get up and down and I’m good in those spots and I think my chances to get up and down under pressure. So I like my chances in majors, and it’s just a matter of where my game’s at that week and where I’m at mentally.

USGA CONTENT HUB // ROBERT BECK

Q: Do you know much about Pinehurst No. 2 for this year’s U.S. Open where you’ll defend your title?

Clark: No, I haven’t been out there much. I’ve never played Pinehurst Number two. So I’m going to have to go in there and do some prep on it, but I know the course is just amazing. But I’ve been in the area and played some of the other Pinehurst courses, but I really don’t know much about number two other than the fact that it’s got a bunch of turtle-backed greens, so I’m looking forward to working on a lot of putts, and 3-woods, and chips off the greens as they go up hills around the greens. I think right now my focus is on these other tournaments in front of me and majors like the Masters and PGA Championship before we get there.

Q: What does success look like for you now with your goals?

Clark: I’m trying to stay away from results goals and more focused on process. I’m more focused on growing my mental game and all of what that is every week in tournaments and in off weeks. I feel like if I get better in those areas then the results are going to take care of themselves. I really am trying to stay away from results. I think in my previous years as a pro, that’s all I’ve focused on, and I didn’t win and also didn’t have much success. Last year I didn’t focus on winning and I won a couple big tournaments, so that’s what I’m doing now.

 


Garrett Johnston, @JohnstonGarrett, is a golf journalist of 15 years and the host of the Beyond the Clubhouse Podcast with players, broadcasters and caddies.

Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.

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