PGA TOUR player Gary Woodland surprised Amy Bockerstette from Special Olympics Arizona last January with the opportunity to play the 16th hole together as part of his Waste Management Phoenix Open practice round.
With a smile on her face and her can-do, “I got this” self-talk, Amy — the first collegiate golfer to compete with an intellectual disability such as Down Syndrome — became an overnight sensation. Her remarkable, par-saving putt has been viewed nearly 44 million times across TOUR platforms and has been featured on the NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, the TODAY Show and platforms beyond golf.
The two will reunite tomorrow (January 29) at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the site of their now-famous interaction.
One year later, the PGA TOUR celebrated the anniversary of that memorable event by announcing that the TOUR and its tournaments have surpassed $3 billion in all-time charitable giving. The charitable total, which includes a record $204.3 million in 2019 to bring the all-time total to $3.05 billion, includes donations made by tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Korn Ferry Tour, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Series-China.
“As remarkable as this milestone is, what really matters are the countless stories like Amy’s that every tournament has,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan via a statement. “Together, we look forward to continuing to reach — and celebrate — millions more.”
Woodland and Amy are two of those millions, and it’s been a whirlwind for both since the two first met at TPC Scottsdale. Woodland and his wife, Gabby, have welcomed twins; he celebrated the biggest win of his career at the U.S. Open, telling Amy he “used (her) positive energy” to do so; and Amy has become an ambassador for those with Down syndrome, launching her I GOT THIS FOUNDATION to promote golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.
The PGA TOUR and its more than 100 tournaments across all Tours achieved the $3 billion mark six years after surpassing $2 billion in 2014. The TOUR hit the $1 billion mark in 2005. The record $204.3 million in 2019 bests the previous record of $190 million in 2018, according to the organization. The TOUR’s first charitable donation of $10,000 was at the 1938 Palm Beach Invitational.
The donations impact more than 3,000 nonprofits each year, such as the First Tee, which has introduced more than 15 million young people to its character-building programs through the game of golf. Each PGA TOUR tournament provides individuals an opportunity to give back to the community in one of three ways — attending an event, volunteering, or donating money.