Woodland returns to PGA in Detroit after US Open triumph

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Gary Woodland returns to the US PGA Tour this week after winning the US Open at Pebble Beach, trying to figure out the new realities after his first major title.

The 35-year-old American tees off in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, a new event at Detroit Golf Club, today alongside compatriots Brandt Snedeker and Keith Mitchell.

“It’s nice to be back out here this week, nice to get back to the grind, get back to the routine,” Woodland said on Wednesday. “It’s exciting to get back out here and play.”

Woodland fired a 13-under par 271 over 72 holes at Pebble Beach to defeat defending champion Brooks Koepka by three strokes.

After that came a whirlwind media tour, a long weekend off during which he celebrated his son’s second birthday and then a return to practice rounds that he cut short to get some rest.

“It’s more about focussing on myself, focussing on hitting golf shots,” Woodland said.

Woodland, ranked 12th, still has plenty to play for this year, including next month’s British Open, the US PGA playoffs and qualifying for the US team that will defend the Presidents Cup later this year.

“There’s still a lot at stake,” Woodland said. “Being a major champion is awesome, but I’m still trying to win more, still trying to get better.”

Woodland, whose 2009 PGA debut season was cut short by a shoulder injury, has won four career tour titles, including the 2011 Transitions Championship, the 2013 Reno-Tahoe Open and last year’s Phoenix Open.