Wood­land re­mains ‘the other guy’ at Bri­tish Open

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Sam Farmer

PORTRUSH, North­ern Ire­land — Since win­ning the U.S. Open at Peb­ble Beach last month, Gary Wood­land is get­ting rec­og­nized a lot more in pub­lic. But at times, he’s still rel­a­tively anony­mous.

Wood­land went to break­fast in Portrush this week with tour vet­eran Matt Kuchar and de­cid­edly was “the other guy.”

“I took about 20 pic­tures for him,” Wood­land said. “No­body knew who I was; they all knew who he was. He loved ev­ery sec­ond of that, I can tell you.”

Then again, Wood­land is a lot more fa­mous now than he was be­fore Peb­ble Beach. He was feted in his home­town of Topeka, Kan., af­ter that vic­tory, and about 3,500 peo­ple showed up.

“That was pretty cool,” he said. “Es­pe­cially for my fam­ily, grow­ing up there. My fam­ily has been there for­ever; they still live there. That was spe­cial.”

And then there’s the U.S. Open tro­phy, which Wood­land scarcely has let out of his sight.

“It’s been very close to me the last month,” he said.

Very close. As in, on his night­stand.

“Yeah, the night­stand, so I can see it,” he said. “You want to wake up and make sure it’s not a dream. You want to make sure it’s real.”

He was go­ing to let his par­ents keep it this week while he’s in North­ern Ire­land. In­stead, he left it with his wife, Gabby, who is ex­pect­ing twin daugh­ters and is sup­posed to be rest­ing at home.

“Our girls are sup­posed to come in two weeks,” he said. “So it was a de­ci­sion. We sat down and we talked about it. And she was the one push­ing me to come. Pretty con­fi­dent they’re not go­ing to come this week, but you never know. I’m hop­ing that’s the case.

“Next week, Mem­phis is only an hour away from home. I can get home pretty eas­ily. It would be a lit­tle tough if they came right now; I’m not go­ing to be able to get home.”

Fore­bod­ing skies — The sun has been out quite a bit in re­cent days, but the clouds rolled in Tues­day, threat­en­ing to turn Portrush into a much more chal­leng­ing course.

The fore­cast for Wed­nes­day calls for over­cast and breezy weather with out­breaks of rain and driz­zle through­out the day. Gusts are ex­pected to reach 20-25 mph at mid-morn­ing and into the early af­ter­noon.

“You never know what the Open is go­ing to bring,” said Eng­land’s Tommy Fleet­wood, who is look­ing to win his first ma­jor. “I am try­ing to get a 2019 Open Cham­pi­onship um­brella — and that will go in the bag.”

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