Justin Rose said his US Open win was "all my childhood dreams come true".
Rose, 32, won by two shots to become the first Englishman to win the event for 43 years and first to land a major since Nick Faldo at the 1996 Masters.
He raised his fingers to the sky after tapping in for par on the last in tribute to his father Ken, who died from leukaemia in 2002.
"I felt like it was a fitting moment and something I needed to do to say thanks to him," Rose told BBC Sport.
Rose secured the major at Merion on Father's Day and said he wanted to honour his dad, who was a massive influence on his career.
"My coach Sean Foley sent me a text this morning which said: 'Go out there and be the man your dad taught you to be and that your kids can look up to.'
"You saw me look to the heavens with it being Father's Day - I was just trying to remember my dad."
He added: "I've been thinking of my dad for the last couple of days and it wasn't lost in me the fact that this was Father's Day.
"Had I not won the tournament, I still felt good about what I had accomplished this week: how I handled myself, how I handled the pressure and how I handled the tournament."
Rose also admitted it was a relief to win his first major tournament, saying: "Most resumes are empty or definitely missing something unless you have a major championship, no matter how good a player you are.
"It's kind of nice to have got that off my chest relatively early because only in the last year or two I've been talked about as one of the players who should or could win majors.
"You certainly don't want the title of best player never to win a major.
"I've felt I've been getting closer to that tag and now I've knocked it off fairly early, which is good.
"Going forward it gives me a lot of confidence. I don't know if it takes pressure off, but it's a moment where you can look back and think childhood dreams have come true."
Meanwhile, American Phil Mickelson conceded that his sixth runner-up finish at the tournament was hard to take.
Mickelson is only one shy of the career record of seven runner-up finishes in the same major, held by Jack Nicklaus at the Open Championship.
However, 18-time major winner Nicklaus won the Open Championship on three occasions, while Mickelson has never won the US Open.
"If I had won today or if I ultimately win, I'll look back at the other US Opens and think that it was a positive thing," said Mickelson, who was 43 on Sunday.
"If I never get the US Open, then every time I think of the US Open I just think of heartbreak."
Luke Donald, whose own title hopes went up in smoke courtesy of a final-round 75, was full of admiration for compatriot and playing partner Rose.
"For the last few years he has been known as one of the best ball-strikers in the game," said Donald, who is still searching for his maiden major title.
"He showed that. To win a US Open, you have to have ultimate control of your golf ball. He did that. He hit some really clutch iron shots down the stretch.''
World number one Tiger Woods, whose long wait for a 15th major title goes on, said he struggled with the pace of the Merion greens all week.
"Putts were breaking a lot more," said the 37-year-old, who finished tied for 32nd. "I gave it a little more break and then it would hang. That's kind of the way it was this week."
Woods's last victory in a major tournament was the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.