Gary Woodland's win at the 2019 U.S. Open this past weekend was a tremendous display of mental toughness. He showed to the world how capable he is as a player and how controlled his thoughts were to win one of the biggest events of the year.
Gary has competed with the bigger names in past majors, with T6 and T12 finishes in the 2018 PGA Championship and 2016 Open Championship, respectively. We all knew he was a solid golfer, but no one really considered him as a Major championship winner.
The win at Pebble has catapulted him to a new level. Like anyone else who wins a Major, their name will always be a consideration as a possible winner for future Majors. His focus and attitude are what got him to this point, and it is what is going to keep him in the conservation/winner circles going forward.
The pressure of that incredible pitch shot off the 17th green to a foot was a display of tremendous mental strength. The clutch shots and putts throughout round three and four were excellent displays of calmness and staying in the moment, especially the way he played the 18th knowing he was going to win it.
Going from a good golfer to a great golfer is mostly mindset. Going from a great golfer to a Major champion is 100% mindset. There is a golden thread among the best golfers in the world throughout history; they mastered the skill of staying in the moment and staying calm. They do not look back and do not look forward on anything within their round. Woodland briefly mentioned this in regards to his round on Sunday. He never got ahead of himself. Staying in the moment keeps your focus and tranquility strong, and great things are usually the result.
If you think about it, you might agree that anytime you thought ahead in your own rounds, with thoughts like, "If I par in, I will win the Club Championship!", or "If I can just par this last hole, I'll shoot my personal best", or even "I just can't screw up the next few holes". Once you think that, your nerves run wild and you have lost control of your thoughts. This type of forward thinking in a round has a high probability of disaster. Many of the best golfers in the world have trained themselves never to think this way.
Staying in the moment, keeping thoughts minimal or nonexistent, and keeping focused on one shot at a time is the path to higher levels of golf. Woodland has done this; he just demonstrated it spectacularly this past weekend. It was excellent to see such incredible golf on a grand stage. We are happy for Woodland and look forward to more great things from him on and off the course.