July 29 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHER SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Gary Woodland plays a game with which few of us are familiar.
Take that 8-iron he launched 240 yards over the 17th green -- after a 362-yard drive, no less. He then used a 3-wood to delicately bump the ball within 3 feet at the 610-yard par 5 on the way to one of his two birdies on Friday.
"I don't know how that happened," said Woodland, who actually opted for the 8-iron because he thought the 7-iron definitely would have flown the green. "We were shocked. We were trying to hit it short and somehow it got over the green."
Small wonder, then, that Woodland says he and his caddy still struggle with club selection. He tries to play a cut because "when I start drawing it (the ball) just takes off." He uses a softer ball, too -- the Pro V1 rather than the Pro V1x.
"I lose a little distance with the driver but i control it so much better with the irons," Woodland said.
Woodland, who picked up his first PGA TOUR victory earlier this year in Tampa, is in the hunt for another this weekend at The Greenbrier Classic. The 27-year-old shot a second-round 70 and was two strokes off the lead when he finished just after noon.
Even so, Woodland called the day "frustrating." He only hit eight fairways and 13 greens, and his 30 putts were two more than he took in shooting a first-round 65.
"I just never hit it close," Woodland said. "I didn't give myself hardly any birdie opportunities. I just had bad numbers out there. Yesterday I had a lot of good numbers and I was able to hit it close. Today I didn't. It seemed like I was lag-putting all day trying to make pars."
Woodland said the greens were softer on Friday and he never got the hang of it. "That was the big deal," he said. "Yesterday you were really bouncing the ball in there and today they were really coming back. I never adjusted. I was spinning it back all day today. it was very frustrating."
Woodland planned to relax at "The Black-Eyed Peas" concert on Friday night, then work hard to see if he can become the fourth multiple PGA TOUR winner of 2011. Woodland, who currently ranks 11th in the FedExCup, will be trying to join Nick Watney, Mark Wilson and Bubba Watson with two wins.
"I know if I take care of my business, everything will be all right," he said. "So I'm out here trying to take care of me, and hopefully I play well this weekend."