Q&A: Defending U.S. Open champ Gary Woodland reveals the one shot he’d like to have back

Gary Woodland

Woodland’s winner’s share for the 2019 U.S. Open was $2,250,000. Enough to land a tee time at Cypress? Hard to say.

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The defending U.S. Open champ reveals his dream foursome, greatest accomplishment, the Tour player who reminds him most of himself, and more.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen on a golf course?

The [2019] Presidents Cup was pretty tough. I heard a lot of stuff at Royal Melbourne that I’d only ever heard when I played basketball. [Fans] talking about my mom. Wishing bad stuff upon me. You don’t see it that much out here.

What’s your No. 1 bucket-list course?

Cypress Point. Everybody talked about Royal Melbourne being one of the best courses in the world, and it lived up to expectations. But Cypress, I can’t wait to play it.

Which young player today reminds you most of yourself?

They’re all younger than me now. I think Cameron Champ is pretty similar. He has come out bombing the ball, and I did the same thing when I was his age. But I think he is a little more polished than I was. He putts well. He’s won on the PGA Tour twice pretty quickly in his career. He’s a freakishly talented guy and very humble.

Which three players — nongolfers — would make up your dream foursome?

Wow. That would be Michael Jordan, George Brett and [University of Kansas head basketball coach] Bill Self.

What’s your greatest accomplishment?

There’s probably a two-part answer to that question. Off the course, the best thing in my life was having kids. [Woodland’s son, Jaxson, was born June 23, 2018, and his twin daughters, Maddox and Lennox, on August 1.] On the course, it was winning the [2019] U.S. Open. In this game, you’re remembered for winning majors, and, fortunately, I got my first one last year. 

What’s your career mulligan and where would you take it?

I would like to have the second shot back at the PGA at [Bellerive] on Saturday. I was leading on day three, but on No. 10 I hit it short into the bunker and ended up making triple bogey. That’s one shot I’d love to have back. 

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

[Laughing]. A lot! The biggest piece of advice would be to stay patient. Sometimes you want instant results; you want to be the best player in the world right now. I’d remind myself that it’s a long road ahead. It’s a long career in pro golf. Just believe you will get better.

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