Gary Woodland is from Topeka, Kansas, and many of his family members still call Kansas home. Woodland went to college at Kansas University, and graduated in 2007 with a degree in Sociology. Woodland is known for his skills as a golfer, but he also had a solid basketball game.
Woodland was a standout basketball player in high school, and played a year of college ball at Washburn Univeristy. Woodland opted to transfer to Kansas where they offered him a golf scholarship, and he discussed the difficult decision with Taylor Made.
Growing up in Kansas, basketball was everything. There are so many good basketball schools nearby, so the dream of playing at that next level was always present.
We won two state basketball championships during my time in high school, and that gave me the opportunity to go to Washburn University to play basketball on a scholarship.
Heading into college, I definitely had the belief that I could play basketball professionally. But in our first game, we played the University of Kansas and they were on a completely different level. They were so much bigger and so much faster than we were…
I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to play basketball as a professional—I probably could’ve gone overseas and played, but I wasn’t going to be able to do it as a career.
It was time for me to find something different.
I’ve always had the dream of playing professional sports, but after that first game, golf felt like the only viable option I had left. Fortunately, the University of Kansas honored the golf scholarship they originally offered me out of high school, so I changed schools and changed sports.
The 2018 PGA Championship has been a homecoming for Woodland given how many family members live in nearby Kansas.
Gary Woodland’s Family Is From Kansas
Not only is Woodland playing in front of family at the PGA Championship, the golfer is in contention to win the tournament. Woodland spoke with Yahoo Sports about getting such a warm reception at the golf course.
“This is as close as I’ve ever played to home,” Woodland admitted to Yahoo Sports. “Which is awesome. I have a million friends and family here, which is really cool. We’re kind of in enemy territory down here in Missouri. We’re big Kansas people. But the Missouri fans were nice to me today as well and I really fed off the energy that was out there surrounding the group.”
Just how many of Woodland’s family members and friends are in attendance? Woodland told Yahoo Sports he saw between 75 to 100 familiar faces during the tournament.
Woodland’s parents, Dan and Linda Woodland, have seen the hard work that Gary has put into his craft. This week, they get to enjoy seeing their son shine with family and friends around the course.
“It’s easy to be proud when you have a son who’s accomplished everything he has,” Dan Woodland told Fox 4 News in 2013. “What I’m most proud of is the avenue that got him there. The sacrifice and dedication and the will to get there.”
Woodland’s mother remembers seeing her son hit golf balls for hours.
“He would hit balls for hours,” Linda Woodland noted to Fox 4 News. “Three large buckets of balls. His hands would start bleeding and he didn’t want to leave.”
A win for Woodland would be a nice moment for the family given their difficult 2017. Woodland’s wife, Gabby, was pregnant with twins, and lost one of the babies during the pregnancy. Their son, Jaxson, was born 10 weeks premature, but is doing much better now.