LAHAINA, HAWAII | When the tournament Gary Woodland had led for so long finally was complete and Xander Schauffele was being congratulated for winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions on the wings of his closing 62 on Sunday, Woodland put aside his disappointment for a moment.
Woodland, who played college basketball and has a linebacker’s build, saw Schauffele in the scoring area and quickly stepped toward him, giving the winner a playful shove on the shoulders before congratulating him.
“He knows he could kick my ass if he wanted to,” Schauffele said later.
It was a week that provided yet another lesson in how difficult it is to win on the PGA Tour. And Woodland became the face of that lesson. He shot 67-67-68-68 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua to finish at 22-under par. No one played the par-5s better than he did.
As good as it was, it wasn’t good enough.
“The competitor in me knew I needed to do one better and, unfortunately, I didn’t get it done,” Woodland said.
It’s been a decade since Woodland joined the PGA Tour and it’s been a lucrative career in terms of money and lifestyle, thanks to more than $22 million in on-course earnings.
When Schauffele birdied the 72nd hole to win on Sunday, it was his fourth victory in a Tour career less than three years old. That’s one more victory than Woodland, who first played the Tour in 2009.
Woodland, a 34-year-old Kansas native, is a familiar name on leaderboards and he’s a familiar presence on the golf...
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