Rozner: Gary Woodland was already big winner
Musings and meanderings after the 119th U.S. Open on the 100th year of golf at Pebble Beach:
What a Father's Day for a great player who's been through so much on and off the course.
The 35-year-old Woodland and wife, Gabby, are expecting identical twin girls in August, after losing one of their twins to miscarriage two years ago, while his boy was born 10 weeks premature. They also had two miscarriages last year and thought they were done trying.
After so much heartbreak, he's now back to being the player some of us thought he would be, the opinion here that he had everything in the bag Brooks Koepka did and that there was little physical difference between the two.
Woodland had the misfortune of a penultimate Sunday grouping with Tiger Woods at Bellerive in 2018, but also the good fortune of being able to learn from that major championship circus.
"Being a father now puts life in perspective," Woodland said Sunday night. "My whole life, it's all been about trying to win, and now I'm trying to make a better life for my son than I've had.
"Hopefully, someday he can see this and realize that anything is possible."
His victory at Pebble Beach is not a shock and it shouldn't be his last, but it is far from his greatest victory.
That is off the course and waiting for him at home in Florida.
For the first time in years, the USGA did not destroy the U.S. Open.
Avoiding the usual insane pin positions, burned out greens and refusal to plan for wind, the tournament at Pebble Beach was the actual story instead of the clowns that run the tournament.
Then again, it's really hard to ruin a tournament at Pebble Beach.
If anything, the lack of wind and soft conditions allowed for scoring, and a graduated rough wasn't as tough as it should have been.
After all, if you hit the rough at a U.S. Open, it should be an automatic hack out and at least a half-shot penalty.
But after all the calamities of previous years, the USGA did not take it to the edge and risk disaster, which could have happened had they gone for scary weekend pins and had the wind or rain descended.
There wasn't even the usual, ridiculous rules violation with all the normal USGA complications and miscommunication.
So fair is fair and this national championship came off without a hitch and for that the USGA deserves a tip of the cap.
Or maybe a gentle golf clap.
The Big Cat never got it going Thursday and Friday and by the time he struggled Saturday it didn't really matter anymore.
On Thursday, he putted very well but didn't hit his irons close enough for it to matter. His chance to win the tournament came Friday when he hit his irons great but couldn't make a putt.
This is something Woods will have to get used to, an inconsistency that's based on a lack of game reps and practice time, which is why there will be days he can't get all parts of the game working.
The new schedule is too condensed for him to get in a lot of work between majors, and his broken body needs time to recuperate. On the other hand, without enough practice and game reps, he's never going to know what he's got when he puts a peg in the ground on Thursday.
Last year, he admitted he played too much. This year, it's clear he hasn't played enough, but that's because he must manage his physical ailments.
"When it's cold like this," Woods said, "everything is achy."
The conditions will be similar at Portrush in Northern Ireland, and Woods will not play until the Open Championship a month from now, just as he didn't play in the month after the Masters and then struggled at Bethpage.
Doesn't mean he can't win -- he played his last 12 holes in 6-under Sunday -- but the difference between how he felt at Pebble on Monday when it was warm and Thursday when it was cold was apparent -- and a genuine concern moving forward.
For 100 years, Saturday has always been considered "Moving Day," the round in which a player must jump up the board and get into contention.
It's just one of those accepted notions.
But it says here that Friday is the real "Moving Day." You better be Top 10 of a major by dinner Friday night or you can pretty much forget about it.
The most boring narrative on the PGA Tour is that Jon Rahm won't win a big tournament until he controls his temper. There's a guy who own 15 majors with the same temper.
Move on already.
His last nine majors: win, sixth, 13th, win, 39th, win, second, win, second. In some parts of the world, that's considered a trend.
Low amateur at the Masters (T-32) and U.S. Open (T-12), the 21-year-old turns pro Thursday in Hartford. Buy stock in this kid. He could win a major wearing OSU orange before Rickie Fowler.
And finally …
Gary Woodland, an all-state basketball player and two-time high school state champ in Kansas, on the moment he chose golf as a career: "I went to (Washburn University) to play basketball and always believed if basketball didn't work out I could fall back on golf. Our first game, we played Kansas at the University of Kansas. They were ranked No. 1 in Division I and we were ranked No. 2 in Division II. I was guarding Kirk Hinrich and it was like, 'OK, I need to find something else because this ain't gonna work.' That decision got forced on me real quick."