'I Just Wish She Could Be Here' - Clark Remembers Late Mother After Emotional US Open Win

Wyndham Clark had a lot of emotions to deal with on a thrilling final day at the 123rd US Open

Wyndham Clark US Open winner
The enormity of Wyndham Clark's achievement at Los Angles Country Club takes over
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wyndham Clark was the one player tipped to deny a fairy tale ending to the 123rd US Open – and that’s how it turned out. It would have been quite emotional to see Rickie Fowler win his first Major after enduring such a difficult few years, and the same could be said of Rory McIlroy, who remains stuck on four Major titles, his last coming at the PGA Championship nine years ago.

However, US Opens are always emotional, especially with Father’s Day usually falling on the final day – and this year was no different. For Clark, it was his late mother who was at the forefront of his mind, the American admitting that she would be “crying tears of joy” had she been there to witness her son winning his first Major Championship title.

“I know my mom is proud of me. She's always been proud of me, regardless of how I'm doing or what I'm doing,” said Clark, whose mother, Lise, died of breast cancer in 2013. “I just wish she could be here and we could enjoy this.”

Winning your first Major title with the likes of Fowler, McIlroy and world number one Scottie Scheffler in hot pursuit is impressive enough, but factor in what was going inside the 29-year-old’s head and it makes his achievement even more admirable.

“It's been a pretty amazing week because my mom lived in LA for a few years and I've had some people come up to me and show pictures of my mom when they knew her back in her 20s and early 30s when she was living here,” he added.

“That just happened this week, so it was kind of a special vibe all week being here in LA. My parents got married at Riviera Country Club. I have some roots a little bit in this area. All I really wish is that my mom could be here and I could just hug her and we could celebrate together. But I know she's proud of me.”

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Prior to this week Clark had only made the cut in two of his six previous Majors, with a tie for 75th at the PGA Championship in 2021 his best finish. Understandably, and despite sharing the lead with Fowler going into the final round, he was still largely viewed as the outsider.

However, it quickly became apparent that Clark, who won his first PGA Tour title at Quail Hollow last month, was not going to be overawed on the final day. He came out quickly with a birdie of the 1st, before giving that back at the next, but still managed to make the turn in one-under.

One of Sunday's key moments came on the par-5 8th, where Clark needed two attempts to play out of waist-high rough to the left of the green. This could so easily have been the moment where the wheels started to come loose, but the world number 32 played a fine recovery to three feet to limit the damage to one shot. The significance of that shot was not lost on the champion.

Wyndham Clark 8th US Open

Wyndham Clark limits the damage at the par-5 8th hole

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“I've learned from a lot of mistakes I've made, and so has my caddie, John, and he said hey, ‘We're fine. We've just got to get this up-and-down and we're fine.’ Obviously that's momentum. Even though I made a bogey and it looked like I should have made a birdie or par, making bogey there didn't kill me and kept me in the tournament. That was a huge point in the round.”

Clark, who finished where he started the day on ten under, one clear of McIlroy, took home $3.6m (£2.8m) for his efforts, and it sounds as though his caddie is also in for a decent payday, too. The Denver man called his looper a “rock”, and spoke of their close relationship.

Clark and caddie John Ellis

Clarke celebrates winning the US Open with his caddie John Ellis

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“I love him and I can't wait to celebrate with him,” he said. “Our relationship has been so close and John has been kind of my rock out here. He's a great caddie, and he's had opportunities to caddie for other people and he turned it down because he wanted to be there for me.

“I owe a lot to him. I feel like John is meant to be my caddie, but it's so much more than just a business relationship. We're really close and good friends, and I'm close with his family and he's close with mine. This just makes it so much more special that we have that bond and relationship.”  

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.