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August 24, 2013

Gary Woodland


JOHN BUSH:  We'll get started.  We'd like to welcome Gary Woodland into the interview room, one of our co‑leaders through 54 holes at The Barclays, 3‑under par today, Gary.  If we can just get some comments on your round.
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, I played pretty solid today.  I got off to a solid start.  Hit a bunch of greens but then 6, the par5, knowing that's a pretty good stretch for me, I've got some par 5s I can get home on.  Drove the ball beautifully all day, and you know, finally I got some putts to go in.
I missed some putts early, but 6 there, I think I made four in a row.  I got some putts to go in and kind of gave myself confidence the rest of the day.

Q.  Can you just tell me what flipped your year?  What was your state of mind before Tahoe?  What is it now, and what specific things did you do to flip it?
GARY WOODLAND:  There's been a lot going on.  Obviously I made a lot of changes last year.  Really I've made a lot of changes this year, too, but the key was getting healthy.  I got healthy there in March.  I started working with Claude.  Started swinging a little more similar to what I was in 2011 when I was working with Randy.
Then I really was struggling short game‑wise.  I hired Pat Goss the week of Augusta and my short game has been phenomenal ever since.  Led scrambling a couple weeks this year which I've never done in my life.  Pat's really helped.
Then I hired Julie Elion Wednesday of Reno, and really, just kind of cleared my head.  Obviously I had made a bunch of cuts, kind of forcing it a little bit, trying to get back to where I was really with every golf shot and she helped me just let it go and relax.  I'm in a great mental state right now and I'm playing pretty well.

Q.  Did you hurt your wrist at all?  They showed you shaking it.
GARY WOODLAND:  It was a stinger there.  It was a tough lie there on 17.  Just vibrations all the way up the arm.  I'll be all right tomorrow.

Q.  You've had similar‑‑
GARY WOODLAND:  I've had two similar, both wrists last year.

Q.  In the stroke‑play events this year, your first rounds have been markedly better than your last rounds.  Is that a mental thing that you alluded to that Julie has worked with you, or is it physical or how do you explain it?
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, I mean, I think a little bit of everything.  Obviously being healthy now, I'm able to play four rounds.
Obviously I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, I knew I was playing well and put myself in position and just tried to force it on the weekends.  Now working with Julie the last couple weeks, I've really let my game take over.  I'm playing beautifully and I'm controlling the ball.
Claude Harmon and I really feel like we have got my game in a pretty good spot right now with the golf swing.  If I can just get out of my own way and relax, I'm playing pretty good.

Q.  This course seems to seem comfortable to you.  What is it about this that suits your game?
GARY WOODLAND:  It sets up really good to my eye.  Obviously the greens are great.  You get in the right spot, you can make putts.  I feel like I putt fast greens pretty well but off the tee box, I can really use my length to my advantage.  I can hit irons off a lot of holes where guys are hitting driver, 3‑wood, I can get the ball in play with iron.  And when I do hit driver, the par 5s, I can get to all of them, which I think is a huge advantage out here.

Q.  You came out with a bang on the front nine, four birdies in a row but then it kind of slipped a little bit.  Talk about how you brought it back together with that birdie after the two bogeys?
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, you know, there on 11, I was just in‑between clubs and made a bad golf swing.  And 12, I just put it in the wrong position off the tee box and I actually just hit a bad putt and 3‑putted.
Then I got to a par 5 and it was really two of the best swings I have made all day.  Got in the fairway, and you know, really the second shot, I knew I had to hit it hard to get it over the water, and I just‑‑ it just came off really hot.  Probably the best chip I hit all day, too.
So it was a good momentum swing, and I gave myself chances coming in.  I didn't make as many as I wanted to, but I'm in a good position.

Q.  What did you do on 13?
GARY WOODLAND:  4‑wood.  I had 256 I think dead into the wind.

Q.  Playing alongside your co‑leader, how closely, if at all, were you paying attention to what he was doing?
GARY WOODLAND:  With Kuchar?  Yeah, Kuch and I, he's one of my best friends out here.  We've played a lot of golf out here.  We play mostly every practice round together.  Pretty comfortable with him.
I knew what he was doing.  I saw what he was doing.  I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could.  I saw there was a lot of guys making birdies behind me and I know I saw Kevin Chappell shoot nothing, so I knew they were out there.  You wanted to give yourself as many birdies as you can going into tomorrow.

Q.  Whenever the TOUR comes around here, there's always talk about how spirited the people are and the crowds.  Did you experience that and what did you think about the reception you got out there?
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, the people are great.  Surprised how many Kansas people I've heard out here talking, but there's a lot of energy, which is nice, especially playing in the last couple groups.  You can feed off that energy.  The crowds have been‑‑ they are loud, they are energetic, and I enjoy it.  It kind of brings me back to basketball days.

Q.  I know obviously it's not exactly what it used to be in big spots, but Tiger, he was way down there at the beginning and you see his name tied for fourth at 8‑under.  When you see him coming up, is there anything that stirs inside of you, like you need to play better, or do you just focus on your own thing?
GARY WOODLAND:  No, it doesn't matter.  I have my own game plan.  I go and execute and I'll be fine.  It doesn't matter who in front of me or behind me.  I worry about myself.

Q.  Did you ask Kuchar who he was taking to the World Cup?
GARY WOODLAND:  I told him, we'll see how good he does without a partner this time.  So we'll see.  (Laughter).
No, we had a great time over there, unfortunately they changed the format, but that was a nice way to go out on top there.
JOHN BUSH:  Gary Woodland, thank you, sir.

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