Woodland celebrates Waste Management Phoenix Open win at house of his baseball hero
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – After winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday, Gary Woodland was invited to celebrate at a Super Bowl-watching party held at the home of a local resident. The invitation just happened to come from his role model and childhood hero – Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer George Brett. Brett had been in attendance at TPC Scottsdale, rooting on Woodland, the Kansas native who grew up wearing Brett’s No. 5 while playing team sports. After Woodland’s victory – the third of his PGA TOUR career – Brett said he was throwing a party. Woodland said he had lots of family with him. No worries, Brett replied. Dan Woodland, however, wasn’t initially going to celebrate with his son. “You guys go have fun,” he told Gary. To which Gary said, “Dad, we’re going to George’s house. He’s like, ‘I’m coming.’” So Woodland and his family, including his parents, hung out at the Brett house while watching the second half of Philadelphia’s win over New England. “George Brett’s a god where we’re from,” Woodland said Tuesday while preparing for this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. “Very cool to spend time at his house.” Woodland said he has been friends with Brett – the only player in major league history to win batting titles in three different decades – for about five years. They first met at a Web.com Tour charity event and “hit it off” while playing nine holes. They’ve played golf several times since then, including just a few weeks ago while Woodland was in Phoenix. Asked what kind of golfer Brett is, Woodland noted: “Way better than he says he is. He won his club championship at a very good golf course back home. He says he’s a 4 (handicap). If he’s a 4, I’ll take him as my partner.” Woodland said he received more than 500 congratulatory messages after beating Chez Reavie in Sunday’s playoff. It was an emotional victory, coming less than a year after Woodland announced he and wife Gabby had lost one of their unborn twins. It also ended a 5-year drought on TOUR. Woodland took off Monday to mentally decompress. “It’s a big deal for me and it’s a big deal back home in Kansas,” Woodland said of his win. “I have a lot of love and support back home, which is nice.” As for the visit to the Brett household? “Probably the coolest part of it all,” he said.
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