World ranking (current/end of year)
Current 2020 Stats
FedEx Cup Rank: 35th
Top 10: 4
Top 25: 5
Made Cut: 7
Off-The-Tee: 29th (2019: 19th, 2018: 3rd, 2017: 31st)
Approach: 16th (2019: 20th, 2018: 24th, 2017: 12th)
Around The Green: 178th (2019: 107th, 2018: 177th, 2017: 93rd)
Putting: 81st (2019: 130th, 2018: 114th, 2017: 172nd)
Tee-To-Green: 21st (2019: 16th, 2018: 18th, 2017: 18th)
Total: 19th (2019: 24th, 2018: 20th, 2017: 46th)
After hovering around the top 50 between 2011 and 2016 (apart from a slump in 2012), Woodland has really kicked on in the last three seasons and hit a high of 12th in the OWGR after last summer's breakthrough U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach. There's plenty of consistency in his numbers; Woodland is in elite status as a ball-striker but has struggles around and on the greens. His putting numbers have improved this year and if the flatstick continues to do its job, he's an attractive proposition.
Grade so far: B
Gary Woodland 2020 quotes
Sentry Tournament of Champions (after third-round 69): "I'm excited about where my game is at. I'm playing well. Saw some putts go in, which is nice for me, and so hopefully go out and play well tomorrow and give myself a chance."
Waste Management Phoenix Open (on now being a major champion): "Yeah, the impact of the U.S. Open was cool from a personal standpoint. Obviously, it gives me a lot of confidence. I show up to golf tournaments, now I know I'm a major champion, I know I can beat the best players in the world any given week, so that's special."
Honda Classic (assessing his play in 2020): “I played well in Hawaii (T7th TOC), played well at the end of the year last year (T3th CJ CUP, 5th ZOZO), and then I had a lull there, which is a little surprising. San Diego (Farmers) and Phoenix are two usually pretty good spots for me, and I missed the cut for the first time in San Diego, which was frustrating, and then I didn't play great in Phoenix (T40th). Last week was a better week for me (T12th WGC-Mexico). I struggled down there with the altitude. I like to hit the ball low, so coming here with the wind is usually pretty good for me, and with the altitude, hitting the ball low, I played with Rory, he's hitting it 80 yards by me just by how high he hits it. Finishing 12th last week, I was okay with how I played, and then getting here, Pete Cowan is here, my coach. I haven't seen Pete since October, so it's been great to work with him the last three days and work with him and tighten some things up."
Honda Classic (on enjoying playing in the wind): "You've got to hit shots out here. You've got to work the golf ball both ways. You've got to ride the wind. I love playing in the wind."
THE MAJORS (most recent result on the left)
The Masters: 32-MC-MC-DNP-MC-26-DNP-WD-24
Speaking about Augusta earlier this year, Woodland said: "I'm starting to hit the ball with my irons both ways, which I think will benefit me at Augusta, and for me personally, Augusta is a golf course that I feel sets up well for me, I just haven't played great there. I know the short game is good enough now, which I don't know if it was in the past. There you can get in some spots that your short game has to bail you out, and I probably haven't done that." No top 20s in seven starts suggests he hasn't. Looking at the stats, he's used his length off the tee (3rd for DD last year) but just hasn't hit his irons well enough and not been sharp enough close in. Perhaps there's a little light on the greens as his 22nd in Putting Average last year was a personal best. For now, though, it would be a leap of faith to go big on him at The Masters.
PGA Championship: 8-6-22-MC-DNP-MC-74-42-12
T12 on debut in 2011 at Atlanta Athletic Club, this has been a really good event for him the last two years. In fact, apart from his U.S. Open, the PGA is the scene of his only other two top tens in majors - T6 at Bellerive in 2018 and T8 at Bethpage last year. And there's a fair chance that streak could continue. This year we're at Harding Park in San Francisco and that's where Woodland finished runner-up in the WGC-Match Play when, as a lowly 50th seed, he went 3-for-3 in group play and won three more duels to reach the final before losing to Rory McIlroy in the Championship match. California, of course, is also where he won the U.S. Open.
U.S. Open: 1-36-50-DNP-MC-52-DNP-MC-23-MC-47
Woodland owns a 6-for-9 slate in the U.S. Open but hadn't managed a top 20 before last season's superb victory at Pebble Beach - a venue where he'd previously posted a regular tour top five (2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am). The 35-year-old ranked 3rd in Approach that week and 6th Tee-To-Green but the difference maker was the putter as he gained 7.163 strokes on Pebble's Poa Annua surfaces (ranked 4th). As stated earlier: if he putts well, watch out. He'll put his title on the line at Winged Foot in New York (not played there) and it's worth noting that he made a decent job of his last defense, taking T7 in Phoenix in 2019 after scoring a playoff win the year before.
Open Championship: MC-67-70-12-58-39-DNP-34-30.
As he mentions in some of the above quotes, Woodland likes hitting it low and loves playing in the wind: a good recipe for shining in an Open Championship. That hasn't yet translated into big finishes but he's an impressive 7-for-8 (best cut rate in any major) and was tied 12th at Royal Troon in 2016. He also played some impressive golf in brutal conditions at Royal St. George's in 2011, recovering from a slow start to take T30. That's the scene of the next Open in 2021.