U.S. Open 2019: 5 things to know about Gary Woodland

June 16, 2019

Gary Woodland holds the 54-hole lead at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach — here’s what you should know about him…

1. He’s a late bloomer.

Woodland, 35, has been in the top 100 in the world since 2011, but he had just two wins until last year’s playoff victory at the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Woodland notched his first-ever top 10 at a major at the 2018 PGA Championship, and reached a career-best No. 22 in the world after a T8 at the 2019 PGA at Bethpage Black.

2. He’s from Topeka, Kansas.

Woodland attended Shawnee Heights High School in the Topeka, Kansas, suburb of Tecumseh. He grew up dreaming of playing basketball for the University of Kansas.

3. He’s likely the best basketball player on the PGA Tour.

Woodland stayed local for college, first attending Washburn University on a basketball scholarship. After his freshman year, he left to attend the University of Kansas on a golf scholarship. We’d have to say that ultimately, that was a good call. Woodland won four tournaments in his college career before turning professional in 2007. Still, we expect that jumper still plays. (You can read more about it here.)

4. He hits the ball very, very far.

Woodland has been inside the top 15 in driving distance for seven consecutive PGA Tour seasons. And it’s not just driver; all week at Pebble Beach, Woodland’s prodigious length has been on display. For example, check out No. 2 on Saturday, when he faced 193 yards from a fairway bunker — and pulled 8-iron.

5. He was part of the most viral moment in PGA Tour history.

A few days before defending his title at TPC Scottsdale, Woodland played the famed par-3 16th hole with a Special Olympics golfer named Amy Bockerstette. Woodland was all in.

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