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Monday, June 17, 2019

Gary Woodland Breaks Through

A relative unknown to the casual golf fan, Gary Woodland put together one of the most impressive scrambling rounds in U.S. Open history on Saturday to win his first major title.

Saturday? What about Sunday?

Clearly, there was work to be done on Sunday with a field with the likes of Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose still on his heels. Woodland was steady, business-like, and cool under pressure on Sunday. But with a chip from the putting surface on 17 and a bonus birdie on 18, Woodland put to bed the championship he truly won on Saturday.

Coming into the week, Woodland was ranked 169th in scrambling. This week at Pebble Beach Woodland was 1st. He was making everything on Saturday. Chipping in to save a critical par and making a nearly impossible 50-footer for another par with Rose making a run. The work was done on Saturday. The win just needed to be held on Sunday and it was.

The breakthrough victory came with a $2,250,000 payday but clearly will pay further dividends in the years to come. Secondary income opportunites, increased sponsorship deals, and tournament exemptions mean that Gary Woodland not only joined an elite club of major champions, he also assured that his life as a professional golfer is secured for about as long as he wants to keep working for it.

Social media quickly filled with congratulations for the, if unknown player outside of the game, very popular man inside of the game.

Where Gary Woodland goes from here will be fun to watch. There are plenty of players who have gotten hot over a 4-day week and taken an unexpected major championship only to fade away just as quickly. Somehow I don't believe that will be the case with Woodland. He too perfectly fits the current mold for what it takes to dominate the modern game. Woodland is another exceptional athlete that decided to go with golf as a career. He has a mental attitude that lets him stay singularly focused on his next shot and seems to be able to keep his emotions completely in check. Sort of sounds like Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson doesn't it?

Look out golf world. Turns out you might just need to be an athlete to dominate this sport too.

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