U.S. Open 2019: Gary Woodland is not Brooks Koepka, but lots of fans think he is
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — It’s happening again at Pebble Beach. As a strapping thirty-something strode confidently onto the U.S. Open range on Sunday, one apparently knowledgeable fan tapped his friend on the arm.
“Look!” he said in hushed tone. “It’s Brooks Koepka!”
It was not, in fact, Brooks Koepka. It was Gary Woodland, 54-hole U.S. Open leader. Like Koepka, Woodland is built like a refrigerator and punishes the heck out of the golf ball. But neither looks like the kind of guy who you’d want to call by the wrong name.
Luckily, Woodland is used to this. It was less than a year ago when Woodland and Koepka played together at the PGA Championship at Bellerive, and fans had trouble telling the difference then, too.
“Yeah, it’s happened quite a bit,” Woodland said at the time. “I get it all the time, so I’m used to it by now. Playing together, too, you think they could get it right, but obviously, we’re too — I guess we’re built pretty similar.”
Let’s go to the tape: Woodland has the height advantage — 6’1 to Koepka’s 6’0 — but Koepka’s listed weight is 210 to Woodland’s 195. Woodland wears Wilson and Puma, Koepka wears Nike and Nike. Both have a real brooding, strong-silent type to them, though Woodland probably smiles slightly more.
Koepka was in the second-to-last pairing on Sunday at Pebble Beach, four shots back of Woodland’s lead. The two warmed up next to each other on the driving range in the leadup to their final round tee times.
The good thing about the U.S. Open driving ranges? They include nameplates behind the golfers to avoid exactly that sort of confusion.
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