Gary Woodland has risen to a career-high world ranking of 12 after his triumph at the U.S. Open, with the American "trending in the right direction" having only committed to golf after starting college.

Woodland produced a superb performance at Pebble Beach to win the first major of his career and prevent Brooks Koepka becoming only the second man to claim three successive U.S. Open titles.

He had not previously been ranked inside the top 20 but is now on the fringes of the top 10 in a sport that for him was initially second to basketball.

In his post-tournament media conference Woodland spoke about how he knew needed to give up basketball for golf after guarding NBA player Kirk Hinrich during his time at Washburn University.

Woodland transferred to Kansas to play collegiate golf and has always felt he has been at a disadvantage to those who focused on the sport earlier in life.

However, after becoming the sixth player to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach - joining the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Tom Watson - he believes he is narrowing the gap.

"I think from a golf standpoint I've always been a little behind just from what you're talking about, guys that have grown up doing this their whole life," Woodland said.

"But from a competitive standpoint, I don't think I was behind at all. I competed all my life at every sport and every level. It was just learning how to play golf.

"It was learning to complete my game, to get that short game, to get that putting, to drive the golf ball straighter. And that was the big deal.

"From a golf standpoint, I was probably a little behind, and that gets frustrating at some points, because my whole life I've been able to compete and win at everything I've done, and I haven't been able to do that as much as I'd like to in golf.

"It's taken a while, but I think we're trending in the right direction."

Justin Rose conceded his bid for U.S. Open glory was undermined by not having his "A-game" all week at Pebble Beach.

First-time major winner Gary Woodland teed off on Sunday with a one-stroke lead over Rose, but a three-over par 74 saw the Englishman finish six shots off the pace.

It meant a share of third position alongside Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm and Chez Reavie for the world number three and 2013 champion.

Knowing what it takes to claim one of golf's biggest prizes, Rose acknowledged he was not where he needed to be over the course of the past four days.

"There's no point in letting it hurt too much," he said. "It hurts if you lose at the death and you make a mistake.

"The way it happened for me here, I'm more proud of the fact I even gave myself a chance. I didn't have my A-game this week.

"And to contend in a major with no game, really, I take the positive from that. I came out and responded early with a couple of good swings, made birdie, felt really good, drove it great down the middle of two.

"I felt good within myself in the situation [but] you need to be really on point. And I just gave a couple of cheap bogeys away early on the back nine."

Rose finished tied for second at last year's Open Championship and is looking forward to the final major of 2019 at Royal Portrush.

"I'm getting closer for sure and I'm getting hungrier, and I'm determined. So I feel good about preparing for that one now," he added.

"And in these situations you definitely enjoy them and want more of them. Today there's still a couple of things to be learned from.

"You can't get sloppy out there. It shows up in these big events if that happens down the stretch."

Brooks Koepka's win at the U.S. Open two years ago triggered a period of dominance for both himself and American golfers at majors.

Gary Woodland secured his first major title at Pebble Beach on Sunday, winning the U.S. Open by three strokes from Koepka.

It continued what has been a wonderful run for Americans since Koepka's success at Erin Hills.

Men from the United States have now won nine of the past 10 majors and, if they can lift the Claret Jug at The Open next month, they will sweep all four in a year for the first time since 1982.

We take a look at the run that started in 2017.

 

2019 U.S. Open: Gary Woodland

Woodland impressively claimed his first major title, holding off a surge from Koepka in the fourth round. They were the only two players to shoot four rounds in the 60s and Woodland sealed his win with a 30-foot birdie putt at the last.

2019 US PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka

Koepka has dominated this period, winning four majors including back-to-back US PGA and U.S. Open titles. Rounds of 63 and 65 to open at Bethpage Black this year set up a wire-to-wire two-stroke win.

2019 Masters: Tiger Woods

Undoubtedly the most unforgettable win of this lot was Woods' 15th major title and first since 2008. Woods secured a one-shot victory, birdies at the 15th and 16th holes closing out a memorable win.

2018 US PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka

It was Woodland who led at the halfway mark at Bellerive despite Koepka's second-round seven-under 63. Not even Woods (64 in the final round) could deny Koepka, who fired back-to-back 66s on the weekend to secure the title.

2018 U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka

Koepka recovered from an opening 75 at Shinnecock Hills, where he went into the final round in a four-way tie for the lead. Tommy Fleetwood charged home with a 63, but Koepka's two-under 68 was enough for a one-shot win.

2018 Masters: Patrick Reed

Reed took control in the second round at Augusta and his only round in the 70s – a 71 on Sunday – was enough to hold off Rickie Fowler. Reed was fourth at the U.S. Open that followed, but has failed to finish in the top 25 in the five majors since.

2017 US PGA Championship: Justin Thomas

Thomas claimed his only major title so far at Quail Hollow almost two years ago. The American fired rounds of 69 and 68 on the weekend to edge out last year's Open champion Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Reed.

2017 Open Championship: Jordan Spieth

Spieth was in control early at Royal Birkdale on his way to a third major title. However, a three-shot overnight lead disappeared in the final round before he produced an incredible birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie run beginning at 14 to earn a three-shot win over Matt Kuchar.

2017 U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka

The start of Koepka's run was in Wisconsin. He tied the U.S. Open record by reaching 16 under, which was enough for a four-stroke victory over third-round leader Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama.

From basketball to golf. Gary Woodland quickly realised the five-player game was not for him after facing eventual NBA guard Kirk Hinrich as the U.S. Open champion reflected on his first major title.

Woodland showed nerves of steel to claim a memorable three-stroke victory at Pebble Beach, denying two-time reigning champion Brooks Koepka on Sunday.

The 35-year-old American – who was calm throughout amid Koepka's surge – carded a two-under-par 69 to secure his maiden major.

Sunday's result proved Woodland's decision to swap college basketball in pursuit of a golf career was a wise one.

Woodland played D-II basketball at Washburn before transferring to play golf at Kansas in the early 2000s and the four-time PGA Tour winner recalled the moment he left the court for the greens.

"The moment really got forced on me," Woodland told reporters. "I went to school, to Washburn to play basketball, and I always believed if basketball didn't work out I could fall back on golf.

"And our first game we played Kansas at the University of Kansas. They were ranked number one in Division I, and we were ranked second in Division II. And that decision got forced on me really quickly. I was guarding Kirk Hinrich [who went on to play for the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks], and, like, okay, I need to find something else, because this ain't gonna work. And that was my first game in college. I was a two-time State champion, All-State, blah, blah, blah, but that was a different level.

"And so when I transitioned to golf the next year, that was the first time in my life I'd ever focused solely on golf. It took me a little bit, but I got out here a year after school on the PGA Tour in 2009. It's 11 years later now being out here. I don't think my game is where it needs to be, but it's getting there. I'm becoming a more complete player, I have more shots. I can rely more on my putting, rely on my short game. Things I couldn't do even last year.

"We put a lot of work in this year in becoming a more complete player. I can play different golf courses. People probably growing up said U.S. Open wouldn't suit me, because I'm a long hitter, I'm a bomber. Coming to Pebble Beach, on top of that, it's a shorter golf course. And went out and proved, I think to everybody else, what I always believed, that I'm pretty good."

Koepka – who closed within a stroke of Woodland in the final round – was looking to become the first man since Willie Anderson in the early 1900s to claim a U.S. Open three-peat.

However, Woodland remained composed to stop world number one Koepka and create his own history in California.

"It was nice," Woodland said when asked what it was like to stop Koepka's history bid. "Obviously Brooks got off to a great start. And you knew he was going to come out. The conditions, the wind was down a little bit early in the round. You could play more aggressive. The first couple of holes he could attack, and he did that.

"It was nice for me to make that birdie on two to give myself confidence to kind of slow down everything. And obviously executing the birdie on three, as well. But Brooks, he's unbelievable. He lives for this moment. And obviously what he's done the last couple of years is phenomenal.

"So it was nice. I told him when I got done he needs to slow down a little bit. All day he was knocking on the door. I was proud of myself to stay in my moment and control myself and not get too worried about what he was doing."

Brooks Koepka had no complaints after falling short at the U.S. Open, saying there was nothing more he could do at Pebble Beach.

The American was bidding to become the second man to win three straight U.S. Open titles, but ended up three strokes behind Gary Woodland.

Koepka fired a three-under 68 in the final round to get to 10 under, but Woodland held his nerve to claim a first major title.

Despite being unable to match Willie Anderson, who won three straight U.S. Opens in the early 1900s, Koepka was satisfied he did all he could.

"It doesn't sting. I played great. Nothing I could do. I gave it my all," he said.

"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."

Koepka birdied four of his opening five holes in the final round, but bogeys at eight and 12 – either side of another birdie at 11 – saw him miss out.

Still, the four-time major champion was pleased to come so close to an amazing feat.

"It was awesome to come this close to going three in a row. It's incredible. Anytime you can compete in a major is special and to have a chance to go back-to-back-to-back, that was pretty cool," Koepka said.

"I didn't really think about it until I was done on 18 and realised how close I actually was to kind of, I guess, not making history, but kind of tying it, I guess you could say.

"But it's a cool feeling to know. Just wasn't meant to be this week."

Gary Woodland remained cool, calm and collected as he held off two-time reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka for his maiden major title.

Woodland carded a two-under-par 69 for a three-stroke victory to deny Koepka a hat-trick of U.S. Open trophies following a thrilling finale at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

World number one Koepka was looking to become the first man since Willie Anderson in the early 1900s to win the tournament three years in a row.

And Koepka was a man on a mission in the final round, with the US PGA Championship holder birdieing four of his opening five holes in California.

Koepka closed within one shot of fellow American Woodland, who teed off with a one-stroke advantage over Justin Rose at the start of the day.

However, Koepka came up short after bogeying the 12th and shooting six successive pars to close out the tournament with a three-under-par 68 – his fourth consecutive round in the 60s.

Woodland also bogeyed the 12th but the four-time PGA Tour champion recovered by birdieing the 14th and he sealed a memorable day with a stunning birdie at the last, his fourth of the round to close the event 13 under overall.

World number four and 2013 champion Rose had to settle for a share of third position, alongside Xander Schauffele (67), Jon Rahm (68) and Chez Reavie (71).

After Saturday's 68, Englishman Rose struggled to a three-over-par 74 to finish six shots off the pace.

Meanwhile, Schauffele – the 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year – secured his third top-three performance in his past five major appearances, with former world number one Adam Scott (68) a shot further back.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy posted a final-round 72 to be tied for ninth with Henrik Stenson (70) and Chesson Hadley (71), while Viktor Hovland was four under after surpassing Jack Nicklaus for the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur at the U.S. Open.

Masters champion and 15-time major winner Tiger Woods closed out his campaign with a 69 to be two under alongside the likes of Jason Day (69) and Paul Casey (67).

Gary Woodland reflected on a "special" U.S. Open success after winning his first major title at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

Woodland held off American countryman and two-time reigning champion Brooks Koepka, shooting a two-under 69 to secure a three-stroke victory and his first major crown.

The 35-year-old, who held a one-shot lead overnight, was delighted to get the job done in California, completing his win with a 30-foot birdie putt at the 18th.

"It was special. I never let myself get ahead and I never really thought the tournament was over," Woodland said at the trophy presentation.

"Once that went in, it all kind of came out of me. It was special to finish it off here at Pebble Beach."

Woodland held his nerve during the final round, including pitching to within two feet when he looked in danger of making bogey at the par-three 17th.

A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, Woodland said he would have taken a bogey at the penultimate hole.

"I actually had that shot earlier this week, that's the second time I got it up and down," he said.

"I was just trying to get it over that hump there. I was going to try and take four if I had to, just try eliminate the big number and it came off perfectly.

"I thought it had a pretty good chance to go in."

Tiger Woods is looking forward to some time away from the course after a battling campaign at the U.S. Open, with the Open Championship next on the former world number one's agenda.

Woods dealt with an aching body and inconsistency as the 15-time major champion finished two under at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

The Masters winner recovered from a poor start to his fourth round, eventually carding a two-under-par 69 – his lowest round of the tournament in California.

Asked when he will be seen again, Woods told reporters: "Depends, if you've got a camera phone, so, no, I think I'm going to take a little bit of time off and enjoy some family time."

The Open gets underway at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland on July 18 and Woods added: "It's just trying to wind down from the championship as well as my lifts and getting back into it.

"And I know that Florida will not be the same temperature as Northern Ireland. I'm not going to be practising with any sweaters at home, but it will be nice to get to Portrush and get with it again."

When quizzed about whether he will play again prior to Portrush – with four PGA Tour tournaments scheduled to take place in between – Woods laughed and replied: "I'll play at home."

On Sunday, Woods bogeyed four of his first six holes to open the final round but, he responded with birdies on seven and eight before adding four more on the back nine.

"It was just a matter of can I somehow get it back to even par for the day and the total," Woods told reporters. "And that was our goal. Happened to get a couple more out of it which is great. But it was – got off to a bad start, and let's see if we can get it to even par. And it was a nice finish to get two-under-par."

After going 70-72-71 through three rounds, Woods continued: "Wish I would have known [what turned it around] because I would have turned it around a little earlier than that.

"Again, got off to another [bad] start and was able to fight it off. Turned back around and got it to under par for the week which is – normally it's a good thing, but this week the guys are definitely taking to it."

Viktor Hovland made history, surpassing Jack Nicklaus for the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur at the U.S. Open.

Winner of a record 18 major championships, American great Nicklaus set the record via a 282 in 1960.

However, unheralded Norwegian Hovland broke the record with a score of 280 at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

The 21-year-old, who posted 69-73-71 in the opening three rounds, signed off with a four-under-par 67 to be tied for 13th.

Brooks Koepka made a flying start to the final round in his bid for a third successive U.S. Open title.

The world number one birdied four of his opening seven holes at Pebble Beach on Sunday, managing pars at the other three.

Koepka had spoken about needing to take advantage of the first seven holes and he did just that to move into 11 under, two shots behind leader Gary Woodland.

Two-time defending champion Koepka birdied the first before a par save at the second, and three consecutive birdies followed from there.

Woodland also made a fine start to his round, birdieing two of his first five holes as he eyes a maiden major win.

Justin Rose moved into a share of the lead with Gary Woodland in the final round of the U.S. Open on Sunday, with Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen having closed the gap to the pacesetter at Pebble Beach.

Woodland went into the fourth round leading Rose by a stroke having carded a 69 on Saturday to move to 11 under, but that advantage did not even last one hole as Rose made an immediate gain.

He and Woodland will be looking over their shoulders at defending champion Koepka, who successfully retained his US PGA Championship title in the previous major, and indicated he is set to make a charge.

Koepka is seeking to become only the second man to win three successive U.S. Opens and moved to eight under with a birdie at the first, replicating Oosthuizen, who was also three back after the opening hole.

Justin Rose is happy with his position at the U.S. Open, saying he can play with "freedom" in the final round at Pebble Beach.

The 2013 champion carded a three-under 68 on Saturday, a birdie at the last hole putting him within a stroke of leader Gary Woodland.

Rose said being second meant he could go into Sunday with "nothing to lose".

"I'm in a great position… had a great day with Gary. He's awesome to play with. For both of us, we are good friends, we have the same stable of management," he said.

"From that point of view, it's going to be a fun day. One back gives me the freedom to feel like I've got everything to gain, nothing to lose. It's always a position that, it doesn't mean I have to approach the day any differently, if I was one ahead. I'm close enough that I have to build my plan, build my round of golf, be disciplined.

"I'm not chasing, really, I'm so close to Gary that I have to go out and play my game. And I think it's going to be dictated by the pin placements and the weather as to how aggressive you can be and what it will take to win."

Rose mixed five birdies with two bogeys in the third round despite hitting just nine greens in regulation.

The Englishman, who needed only 23 putts during his round, said he had taken a step forward in terms of his ball-striking.

"Maybe a one-click improvement. I don't know about my stats. My stats probably aren't great, hitting fairways, hitting greens," Rose said.

"But I hit more quality golf shots. I did the right thing with the golf ball on a couple of occasions. You think, 'Okay, that's closer'.

"So hopefully we can hit a couple more tomorrow. But I think [it's] going [in] the right direction."

Gary Woodland is embracing the pressure and challenge from the chasing pack after taking another step towards his first major title at the U.S. Open.

Woodland ended the third round with a one-stroke lead following his two-under-par 69 in California on Saturday.

Winner of three PGA Tour trophies but still searching for his major breakthrough, Woodland was two shots clear atop the leaderboard when he teed off on the penultimate day.

The American's lead was cut to one by 2013 champion Justin Rose (68), however, Woodland is relishing the race to the finish line at Pebble Beach.

"I don't need to change anything," Woodland told reporters. "It's more of enjoying the moment. I mean, this is what we play for. This is what I've worked so hard for.

"And I think playing with Tiger [Woods] last year on Sunday [at the US PGA Championship], I don't know if I enjoyed it to start the round, I think there was a lot of moving pieces going on, and I think I kind of got caught up in it a little bit.

"Once I settled in, after I made a birdie putt on eight, I settled in and then I was back to being myself. And that's what I've learned from that situation, is I can't control everybody else. I can control my attitude, and I can control my game. And that's what I'm out here to do."

Woodland said: "I worked for this my whole life. I've trained since I started walking. I've played sports, I've competed. I've learned how to win, even if I haven't done it as much as I'd like.

"I know what it takes to win. And my game is in a great spot. I'm at a beautiful golf course. I came here to win, and that's what we're going out to do tomorrow."

Brooks Koepka is also lurking as the world number one eyes a third consecutive U.S. Open title.

Koepka posted a third-round 68 to move to seven under, four shots behind Woodland ahead of Sunday.

"Brooks has obviously played phenomenal," Woodland added. "I don't know if anybody has done what he's been doing since Tiger did it.

"I know if I play my game and play like the way I've been playing, the guys from behind me are going to have to do something really, really special. So I'm going to go out, stay within myself, stick to my game plan and try to extend that lead more than anything."

Brooks Koepka believes his recent record at majors will hold him in good stead heading into the final round of the U.S. Open.

The two-time defending champion carded a three-under 68 in the third round on Saturday to be four shots behind leader Gary Woodland.

Koepka has been the man to beat at majors in recent years, winning four of the past eight he has played.

The world number one believes those experiences could be an advantage ahead of Sunday at Pebble Beach.

"Just having been in the position I'm in. Feels like almost every major right now – second at Augusta," Koepka said.

"I felt like I've put myself in good chances where I'm very comfortable around that. I don't need to go out and chase. I don't need to do much, just kind of let it come to you.

"And from there, if I win, great. If not, I felt I've given it all I had this week and it's just not my week."

Koepka was two under through seven holes in his third round and believes taking advantage of the front nine will be key.

But he is full of confidence and said his form was just where he wanted it to be.

"I feel good. I feel like if I can just make a few putts, I feel like I could be right there, right next to Gary. And it's been very close," Koepka said.

"I'm pleased how I'm playing. I'm pleased how I'm striking the ball.

"And I feel as confident as ever right now. It's probably the best ball-striking week I've had.

"Pebble's greens are so small. I think I only missed one green today, maybe two, I don't know, if I was in the fringe or something. But to hit as many greens as I have the last two days, the ball-striking is right where I want it."

Gary Woodland maintained his advantage atop the U.S. Open but Justin Rose is only one stroke adrift heading into the final round.

Woodland carded a two-under-par 69 to be 11 under through 54 holes, one stroke ahead of world number four Rose on Saturday.

A three-time PGA Tour winner but seeking his first major title, Woodland hit the front on Friday after joining Rose (Thursday) and Tiger Woods (2000) as the only players to shoot 65 in a U.S. Open round at Pebble Beach.

Woodland teed off with a two-shot lead on the penultimate day and the American stretched his advantage to three at one point in California.

A birdie on the 11th created some distance between Woodland and Rose – the former finishing with three birdies and a bogey to stay top.

Rose was not at his best either on Saturday as the Englishman traded birdies for bogeys on several occasions, but he did enough to keep pace with Woodland.

The 2013 U.S. Open champion's birdie at 14 was a nice bounce back from a bogey, with Rose nailing a putt to get back to nine under.

Rose finished the day by making birdie at 18 to shoot a three-under 68 and move to 10 under for the tournament.

Two-time defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka posted his third successive day in red numbers as the world number one continues to lurk.

Koepka posted a third-round 68 to move to seven under alongside Chez Reavie (68) and Louis Oosthuizen (70), four shots behind Rose in his bid for a three-peat.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy shot a one-under 70 to move to six under, four strokes clear of former world number one Dustin Johnson (71).

Masters champion and three-time U.S. Open winner Tiger Woods (71) birdied his final hole of the day to finish even par after 54 holes.

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