Gary Woodland unplugged: From KU fanaticism to trash talking to getting ready for 2021




  • In Sports/Golf
  • 2021-01-02 18:00:56Z
  • By USA TODAY Sports - Golfweek
 

Don't we love to see passion from the athletes we're invested in from various sports? And sometimes, it's fun to get a glimpse of how animated they actually get when cheering on their alma mater.

For KU grad and 2019 U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, those emotions for his Jayhawks can take on a life of their own - even now, 13 years after he's left the KU campus for the fairways of Pebble Beach and the PGA Tour.

Does the father of three's reaction to Kansas basketball games on TV ever scare the kiddos at home?

"All the time," Woodland said recently on the Beyond the Clubhouse podcast. "I was watching the game against Kentucky and I was screaming at the TV and I just hear my son (Jaxson) say 'Mommy, what did Daddy just say?' And (Gabby) said 'Nothing!'"

Woodland who is the picture of emotional control on the golf course, seems to have a hard time when he's watching college kids 15 years young than him playing basketball, a game he's played his whole life growing up in Topeka.

"(My) kids need to be out of the room, I get a little emotional," Woodland joked. "I'm pretty level and even keel on the golf course, but I would say I get pretty emotional watching KU play basketball. Hopefully, the kids don't learn anything from me."

Woodland as you might expect is pretty bullish on the Jayhawks' chances this year.

"It's been interesting. They were so good last year and then you lose two studs but they got a lot of young guys coming back, and they've had a lot of guys step up and they're young," Woodland said. "it's going to be a roller-coaster ride this year but I think any time you've got Bill Self at the reigns, and they have a senior point guard which is huge and they've got some veteran guys kind of mixed in there. Any time you get to the tournament anything can happen."

Back to Woodland's day job on the course, he's had a front-row seat to watching and learning from Tiger Woods in his resurgence from injury the last couple years. Woodland's dealt with a fair share of injuries himself of late (torn labrum, hip) but he got to play for Woods in his first-ever team appearance on the 2019 Presidents Cup team and that required Woodland to spend many days leading up practicing with Woods, Justin Thomas, and other members of the team in Jupiter, Florida.

 

Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland stand on the 14th green during the final round of the 2019 Zozo Championship. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Not bad company to keep.

The 36-year-old loved having teammates again, after growing up in Kansas playing team sports for many years, and he very much wants to return to team competition in golf. The next opportunity would be September's Ryder Cup.

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