Despite Brooks Koepka’s attempt at becoming the first golfer in 114 years to win three successive US Opens, Gary Woodland claimed a maiden major championship with a sensational three-shot victory over the defending champion at Pebble Beach.
Interestingly, golf was not Woodland’s first foray into professional sports. Your quintessential all-American sport jockey, the now 35-year-old was a local point guard sensation in his home state of Kansas. “I’ve worked for this my whole life. I’ve always played all sports. I know what it takes to win,” said Woodland, who began college as a scholarship basketball player. “If I play the way I have been, the guys behind me are going to have to do something really, really special.”
So what’s changed?
Woodland has been active on the scene for over 15 years and is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, he’s also no stranger to the pressures of championship golf. However, the majors have always been just beyond reach. Until today. One of the biggest changes Woodland undertook was working with Phil Kenyon on his putting. He simplified his approach, which helped him zen-out his pre-putt routine and go at it more calmly. Woodland also attributes a larger putter grip to his confidence boost.
“With the [putting] stroke itself, I put a lot of work in with coach Phil Kenyon. The PGA Championship (in May) was one of the worst weeks I’d had putting, but he told me it was the best he’s ever seen my putting stroke.”
A Look Inside Gary’s Bag
Irons (3-PW): Wilson Staff Blade
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52, 58 degrees; TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (64 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist GSS putter
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