US Open champ Woodland has only two weeks to nail cup spot
US Open champion Gary Woodland admitted Tuesday he has only two weeks to convince Tiger Woods that he deserves a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup.
Despite winning his first major, Woodland missed out on automatic selection for the Ryder Cup-style event that will pit Team USA against the Internationals in Melbourne in December.
“I’ve talked to Tiger, I’ve spent a little time with him. He’s made it clear he wants the guys out playing and he wants guys playing well,” Woodland told AFP ahead of this week’s $9.75 million CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju, South Korea.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t secure my own spot, so I’ve got to rely on a pick,” said the 35-year-old, who was runner-up a year ago at Nine Bridges to world number one Brooks Koepka.
Woodland will also play in the PGA Tour’s inaugural event in Japan next week, the $9.75 million Zozo Championship.
That is the second leg of a new three-week mega-money Far East swing with prize funds totalling $29.75 million, concluding with the $10.25 million HSBC-WGC Champions in Shanghai.
“I’m excited about the next two weeks. I’ve had success here, I love this golf course,” he said.
“I’m not going to play the HSBC, so I have two weeks left to go out and prove that my game’s in a good enough spot that I deserve a pick.” US captain Woods will decide on his four captain’s picks, which could include himself, straight after next week’s event in Japan.
The world number 19 Woodland enjoyed an extended break after the season-ending Tour Championship and said it was just what he needed after having to cope with the hullabaloo of being a major winner.
Not only that, wife Gabby gave birth to twin girls in August, and the couple already have a two-year-old son.
“Obviously winning (a major) was huge, but we had a couple of babies as well, so I had a lot going on,” he smiled.
“I needed that five-week break. That’s as long a break as I’ve had in years.” Woodland brushed off the cobwebs at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas two weeks ago, finishing tied 55th.
“I played a lot better than I scored,” he said. “I was happy with the way I played there. I was excited to get back to Vegas to get some of the rust off and clean some things up in the game.” His form took a dip immediately after the US Open, where he turned the tables on Koepka to win by three strokes at Pebble Beach.
Woodland missed his next two cuts and has a best result only of tied 15th since his breakthrough.
“I think the biggest thing is just managing my time. I have a lot more demands now, a lot more stuff that I need to deal with off the golf course,” he said. “I have a bigger family now. So it’s been managing my time from the business side to my family to my golf side. “That’s been an adjustment for me that I really never had to deal with too much before.”