Woodland reminisces about KU after U.S. Open victory

Posted on Jun 21, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Gary Woodland wins U.S. Open
Ross Randall, the coach and mentor who recruited Gary Woodland to the KU men’s golf team after Woodland spent a year playing basketball at Washburn University, was “always to the point. There was no sugarcoating it, at all,” Woodland recalls.

Coach Randall, who passed away two years ago, wasn’t the only KU coach with a straight-talking reputation, and Woodland says he was especially glad to have closed out his first major-tournament victory, Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, so he wouldn’t catch heat when exchanging post-tournament text messages with his pal Bill Self.

“You talk about not sugarcoating anything,” Woodland, c’07, said with a laugh Thursday while driving to his home course in Palm Beach County, Florida, for his first practice session since a three-stroke victory over Brooks Koepka. “Coach has been hard on me at times when I haven’t finished, so I was glad to finish this time so he had nothing bad to say to me. He couldn’t get on me like he does some of his guys.”

Woodland, a Topeka native who now lives with his wife and son in South Florida while also maintaining a home in Lawrence, told Kansas Alumni magazine that he’s eager to return to Kansas and celebrate with family, friends and fans, and he promises he’ll bring along the gorgeous U.S. Open trophy when he does.

That’s down the road. For now, it’s back to work. Woodland entered the U.S. Open No. 9 on the PGA money list and exited at No. 4. He also vaulted from No. 12 in Presidents Cup standings to No. 7; the top eight automatically qualify for the U.S. team in the biennial match between the best American and international (minus Europe) golfers.

The Presidents Cup, this year set for December in Australia, has long been a goal for Woodland, as has the even more prestigious Ryder Cup, which features spirited matches between American and European stars. The next Ryder Cup is Sept. 25-27, 2020, in Wisconsin.

“I’ve always believed in myself, but it’s hard sometimes to get other people to buy in without results,” Woodland said. “I think I’ve proven that I’ve become a more complete player and I belong on the bigger stage. I have to continue to get better and continue to go out and prove myself, but I think I’ve proven that I belong.”

Among other highlights from Kansas Alumni’s conversation with Woodland: He again emphasized the joy he felt in sharing the spotlight with his young friend Amy Bockerstette—a Special Olympics golfer who had her own star turn on NBC’s “Today” show, during which Woodland surprised her with his unannounced visit—and bringing attention to Folds of Honor, an organization founded by retired fighter pilot Maj. Dan Rooney, c’96, g’97, that delivers scholarships to family members of fallen members of the U.S. armed forces.

“I’ve been a huge part of Folds of Honor since 2009, when Major Dan, a fellow Jayhawk, got me to buy in. Men and women who go sacrifice for us to be free and to follow our dreams while they go sacrifice everything, it’s pretty special and it’s an honor to give back.”

Woodland also revealed that he’s spent the past year and a half working on his putting game with his new coach, Pete Cowen. They started retooling his full swing in December, and only recently Cowen also convinced Woodland to change his preshot routine.

“I’ve had the same routine—I’m a creature of habit—since I was in college,” Woodland said. “He changed it all about a month ago and it’s really been clicking for me.”

Told that his inspirational U.S. Open victory had convinced many of his fellow KU basketball fans to now make time to follow him on the PGA Tour, Woodland, who keeps a Jayhawk emblem on his tour bag, affirmed his devotion to the crimson and blue.

“Obviously I’ve been a fan my whole life,” he said, “but I’ve matured, I grew up, I became a man at the University of Kansas, and I’ll never forget that.”

—Chris Lazzarino

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Woodland wins U.S. Open

Posted on Jun 17, 2019 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Gary Woodland wins U.S. Open

Photo Courtesy USGA

KU alumni in professional sports reached a new height Sunday evening as Gary Woodland, c’07, won the 119th U.S. Open to become the first Jayhawk to claim a major golf championship.

Woodland played golf at KU from 2004-2007, after starting his college career at Washburn, where he played basketball.

“I went to Washburn to play basketball and I always believed if basketball didn’t work out then I had golf to fall back on,” said Woodland at a post-tournament press conference. “In our first game we played Kansas, they were ranked No. 1 in Division I. I was guarding Kirk Hinrich and I was like, ‘Okay I need to find something else because this isn’t going to work.'”

A native of Topeka, Kansas, Woodland is a Jayhawk through and through. See for yourself:

Read more on Woodland’s historic victory at Pebble Beach.

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Jayhawks in the News | Feb. 9

Posted on Feb 9, 2018 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org | Jayhawks in the news
Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our weekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.
 

Alumna’s art on display at Evangel University | Publicnow.com

The unique works of multi-media artist Julie Rush, who holds a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Kansas, will be on display at Evangel University, in the Fine Art & Design Gallery, for the month of February.
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BYU football names AJ Steward as running backs coach to finalize coaching staff | Desert News

BYU’s football staff is complete, as the Cougars announced Tuesday that AJ Steward will be the team’s running backs coach under first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. Steward, d’12, played college football at Kansas from 2008-11. He most recently spent four years as the running backs coach at Rice University.
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The voice of @KUnews: Social media strategist says goodbye to KU | The University Daily Kansan

With one final “Rock Chalk” tweet, Katie McCurry, the longtime voice behind @KUNews, said goodbye to the University on Jan. 26. McCurry, c’11, recently accepted a position with Citizens Bank in Boston as a social media and editorial strategist. As the University’s senior digital strategist for a few years, McCurry has made a large impact on the social media presence of the University.
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Woodland’s win for family here and above | Golf Channel

Former Kansas golfer Gary Woodland, c’07, captured his first PGA Tour win in nearly five years after holing a short putt to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It’s his third career PGA Tour victory.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks. 

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Jayhawks in the News | June 30

Posted on Jun 30, 2017 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

Rambunctious performances by a solid ensemble make ‘Garfield’ a rollicking good time | Kansas City Star

“Garfield: The Musical With Cattitude” opened Friday night and, even at the matinee show the following day, the actors, including alumna Brianna Woods, gave energized performances that would make you think it was opening night all over again.
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Wendell Castle: Agent of Change | Surface Magazine

As one of the first American designers to challenge the boundary between utility and fine art, Wendell Castle creates an enticing breed of objects marked by superior craftsmanship and ingenuity in form, style, and technique. Castle, f’58, g’66, received an honorary degree from KU in 2013.
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Eastern Panhandle judge dies from complications after heart surgery | Herald-Mail Media

Circuit Judge John Christian Yoder, whose work in law and politics spanned more than 40 years, including two terms in the West Virginia Senate, died Friday as a result of complications from heart surgery. He began a career in government service in his native state of Kansas and graduated from KU School of Law in 1975.
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Meet KU grad Loral O’Hara, newly minted NASA astronaut candidate | Kansas City Star

NASA was slammed with a record number of astronaut applicants this year and out of more than 183,000 people, only 12 were given that proverbial golden ticket. The deserving dozen includes a Texan and University of Kansas graduate named Loral O’Hara.
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A Kansas Investment Firm Spurring Change on Wall Street | New York Times

Peter Mallouk, c’93, b’93, l’97, g’97, an estate planning attorney, started his business with an eye toward servicing medical professionals in suburban Kansas City. Today the company, Creative Planning, is at the vanguard of a profound shift in finance.
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Shapiro Bieging Barber Otteson Announces Bo Anderson as Partner | PR.com

Shapiro Bieging Barber Otteson llp (SBBO) announced the election of Bo Anderson to partner. Anderson, l’99, had previously been senior counsel at the Denver-based law firm.
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Getting to Know: David Seely | Wichita Eagle

David Seely, l’82, was elected the new president of the Wichita Bar Association. He joined Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch in 1984 and focuses on civil litigation, especially cases involving oil and gas.
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For philosophy majors, the question after graduation is: What next? | Washington Post

Philosophy majors spend their college years pondering deep questions, such as: What is the meaning of life? Do we have free will? And what job am I going to get with this degree after graduation? As chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Sheila Bair, c’75, l’78, leaned on her philosophy degree from the University of Kansas to make crucial decisions during the financial crisis.
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In advance of her Free State Festival appearance, a Q&A with comedian and KU alumna Nikki Glaser | LJWorld.com

Nikki Glaser’s come a long way from her days as a reluctant college student at the University of Kansas. Eleven years after graduating with an English degree, Glaser’s back in Lawrence, this time as a headliner at the Free State Festival.
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New father Gary Woodland feeling relieved and ready to get back to work soon | KUSports.com

The highlight of Gary Woodland’s golf season arrived Friday when Gabby gave birth to the couple’s first child, son Jaxon Lynn Woodland, at 11:56 p.m.
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Awesome sauce: Olathe native is first to get married in new Taco Bell wedding chapel | Kansas City Star

The first couple to ever say “I do” in the new, upscale Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas, in a ceremony on Sunday, happened to be Olathe native Dan Ryckert and his beloved Bianca. Dan is a 2007 graduate of the University of Kansas.
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2017 WW Georgia Teaching Fellows Named | The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation recognized the third class of Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows, which includes KU graduate Justin Fairchild, g’13.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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Jayhawks in the News | April 7

Posted on Apr 7, 2017 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

KU campus graphics | www.kualumni.org

Find out what fellow Jayhawks are up to in our biweekly edition of “In the News.” It’s like an online version of Class Notes. If you’ve seen Jayhawks in the news who should be featured, email us at share@kualumni.org.

 

Gary Woodland in Masters field for fifth time | LJWorld.com

Two-time PGA tour winner Gary Woodland, who ranks 10th on this season’s money list with four top 10 finishes in 11 events, is playing in his fifth Masters and first since 2015. He did not qualify for the tournament last year.
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Kala Stroup blazed a trail for women in higher education | University Daily Kansan

As a graduate of the University and the last dean of women, Kala Stroup, c’59 g’64 PhD’74, has held many positions in higher education and still works with students to make the University an inclusive place.
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Once A Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk: Linda Ellis-Sims | Kansas Athletics

Linda Ellis-Sims spent her childhood in Independence, Missouri. Though her parents did not attend college themselves, they always placed a priority on education. Ellis-Sims gained an appreciation for math and science while achieving academic success in high school. An athlete in high school, Ellis-Sims also developed a strong passion for sports. Both of her interests factored into her decision to attend the University of Kansas.
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Susan Tabor inextricably connected to Audio-Reader, a program helping visually impaired people | University Daily Kansan

Susan Tabor, who was born blind, works for a service that provides both readings and information to those who are blind, visually impaired or print-disabled. After high school graduation, Tabor went on to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degree in social welfare at the University of Kansas.
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Law school to honor four with Distinguished Alumni Award | KU School of Law

A veteran, a state government leader, a CEO and a managing partner will be recognized with the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor. The awards will be presented at a private dinner April 8 in Lawrence.
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To KU data guru Deb Teeter, it’s all about the people | University Daily Kansan

Teeter, b’71 g’75, has been working in analytics at KU for 45 years. Not only has she changed the way the University handles the data, but she has forever impacted the lives of those that work with her.
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Washburn hires Brett Ballard as head men’s basketball coach | Topeka Capital-Journal

Washburn University has hired former University of Kansas player and Wake Forest assistant Brett Ballard, d’04, to succeed Bob Chipman as head men’s basketball coach, the school announced Thursday.
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UNCW names C.B. McGrath Head Coach of Men’s Basketball | University of North Carolina Wilmington

C.B. McGrath has been named UNCW’s 11th head coach of men’s basketball, the university announced today. His appointment is effective Tuesday, April 4. McGrath earned a B.A. in human biology and a master’s degree in education from KU.
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Brandee Caswell named 2017 ‘Top Litigator’ by Law Week Colorado | Faegre Baker Daniels

Faegre Baker Daniels partner Brandee Caswell, l’98, has been selected for the 2017 “Top Litigator” award by Law Week Colorado. The award is given to lawyers who excel inside and outside of the courtroom in plaintiff and defense work, and in trials and appeals.
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Cyclist Steve Tilford dies in crash involving three vehicles | LJWorld.com

Topeka native and University of Kansas graduate Steve Tilford, a popular figure at cycling events in Lawrence because of his outgoing personality and area roots, died early Wednesday morning on Interstate 70 near the Utah-Colorado border, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.
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Have you heard news about a fellow Jayhawk, or maybe you have news of your own to share? Email us at share@kualumni.org, or fill out our Class Notes form to be included in a future issue of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read more about newsworthy Jayhawks.

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