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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Former KU golfer Gary Woodland to tee off with Tiger Woods

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The meteoric rise of former Kansas University golfer Gary Woodland shot upward yet again Tuesday when groupings for this week’s PGA tour event were announced.

Woodland, 26 and a native of Topeka, is scheduled to tee off at 11:56 a.m. CDT on Thursday with fellow long-ball hitters Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson, an obvious marketing move to highlight the game’s power in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., Woodland’s adopted hometown.

Johnson ranks second on the tour in driving distance and Woodland is eighth with an average drive of 299.5 yards, a stunning number considering how often he chooses to hit irons off the tee. The tour average is 285.1 yards.

Woodland hit a 337-yard drive uphill on the par-5 fifth hole in winning The Transitions Championship at Innisbrook last week. On the 18th hole Sunday, he went with a conservative play, pulling a 2-iron out of his bag, instead of a driver or a 3-wood. He blasted it 287 yards, stunning even NBC’s ultra-critical commentator, Johnny Miller.

But it was Woodland’s improved putter that was most responsible for his first PGA tour victory. During Sunday’s final round, he made a remarkable 17 of 17 putts inside of 20 feet.

“I was very conservative this week,” Woodland told PGAtour.com after the victory. “Laid back almost all day — all four days — and just tried to get the ball in the fairway, get it on the green and let the putter do the work.”

Woodland’s first victory came in his 33rd PGA tour event.

Woodland finished second in the Bob Hope Classic, losing a playoff to Jhonny Vegas and has four top 10 finishes in seven events this season. He ranks third on the money list with $1,850,064, ranking behind only Nick Watney ($2,278,000) and Mark Wilson ($2,268,825).

Comments

100 6 years, 8 months ago

Pasted below is a great article from yahoo Sports yesterday about Woodland. The writer openly wonders if America can fall back in love with golf again after the fall of Tiger. It seems pretty apparent from this article... Gary has already begun to capture the attention from the nation.... As well as Jayhawk nation. Below is the main portion of the article:

"Woodland's distance is stunningly watchable, and when you learn more about him, you realize he could be one of the game's fun stories. An all-state hoops player in Kansas in high school, he turned down a golf scholarship to KU to play basketball at Washburn (Kan.). As a result, Woodland got to score three points in a game at Allen Fieldhouse, then decide it was time to quit basketball and play golf, transferring to KU. Now, he lists Jayhawk coach Bill Self in his dream foursome and wakes up to a world where he is $990,000 richer, has an invite to Augusta in two weeks and enjoying that Kansas is safely through to the Sweet 16.

Remember how good the Johnny Vegas story was back in January? Woodland's story is almost as fresh. And, by the way – in case you didn't remember who Vegas beat in the playoff at the Bob Hope – it was Gary Woodland.

See how it all comes together? There is "L.A.T.," friends – Life After Tiger."

turbomax 6 years, 8 months ago

Agreed! Not only is he a powerhouse with his ball striking ability, he's got all the charisma in the world. Give this kid a chance to show it and America will see that he has the 'It factor' that will be fun to watch. I see a bright, bright future for Gary Woodland.

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