Woodland’s Family, Friends Cheering During PGA Championship

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TOPEKA, Ks. —  They call it “Glory’s Last Shot.”

Golfers know the PGA Championship as the final major championship of each year,  and there’s a Sunflower State connection in the field. Locals in Topeka have known tour pro Gary Woodland since early on.

Let the good times roll. There’s always a reason to celebrate any time Topeka’s favorite golfer is on television.

Look no further than Dan and Linda Woodland’s living room for proof. Their son Gary is making his family proud. This week’s PGA Championship will be the ninth time the former Kansas Jayhawk will play in one of professional golf’s major tournaments.

“It’s easy to be proud when you have a son who’s accomplished everything he has,” Dan Woodland said.  “What I’m most proud of is the avenue that got him there. The sacrifice and dedication and the will to get there.”

Gary heard more cheers this past weekend, winning the Reno-Tahoe Open, which is his second win as a tour pro. Mom and Dad have known him since early on, when Gary’s dad had to drag him off the practice range as a kid.

“He would hit balls for hours,”  Linda Woodland said. “Three large buckets of balls. His hands would start bleeding and he didn’t want to leave.”

Every time Gary is in the hunt for another win, the family gathers at Jeremiah Bullfrog’s in Topeka. Sometimes, they’re joined by as many as 50 friends and relatives, all who want to see him make more headlines.

“They get fired up, you hear everyone screaming and clapping and having a good time,”  Heather Mollis, Jeremiah Bullfrog’s employee, said. “They’re all excited. He won this past tournament, so they were fired up over that.”

To these people, Gary’s championships matter less than friendships do. They’re cheering for Woodland to win the PGA this weekend, which would be his first major win, but their support has little to do with the way he hits a golf ball.

“Not only does he play a game well, but being a good person matters more,” Mollis said.

“He’s just real humble, and he’s a great guy, people love being around him,” Linda Woodland said. “That’s what makes me most proud.”

And with that approach, Woodland’s family said he can’t be off-target.

The PGA Championship began this morning outside Rochester, New York. Woodland is currently tied for 91st place after shooting a first-round 73, which scored at three over par.

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