SAN DIEGO – Gary Woodland continued his comeback from an injury-plagued 2020 with a first-round 66 on the North Course at Torrey Pines on Thursday that left him tied for fourth place and two shots off the lead.
That’s a long way from where he was last fall when he said he hit rock bottom at the U.S. Open in September and was advised he should have surgery to repair a labrum tear in his left hip.
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Thanks to intense therapy and plenty of rest, Woodland said he’s finally feeling healthy again and that his renewed health allowed him to start working with swing coach Justin Parsons just after New Year.
“We cranked up the speed that day. It was the first time I swung hard, that day, and I was sore the next day, so that was a little nerve-racking,” said Woodland, who tied for 16th last week at The American Express for his best finish since July.
After struggling with his injury for most of 2020, the ability to swing without pain allowed Woodland and Parsons to work on parts of his game that had suffered.
“I had a ton of bad habits. That was more frustrating than anything,” Woodland said. “You start swinging around pain and you get into some bad habits, so that was frustrating. I’d like to erase 2020, but I think a lot of people would like to erase 2020 from what’s going on.”