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Gary Woodland Advocates for Second Chance after Life-Saving Brain Surgery

Gary Woodland had brain surgery on September 18 and is now working on restoring his game to its former level.

Darren Riehl

In Pacific Palisades, California, Gary Woodland faced sleepless nights. During the 2023 Memorial Tournament week, at 1 a.m., a sudden jolt startled him awake, leading to intense fear and anxiety. This fear consumed him daily, affecting his appetite, causing shaking hands, chills, and a lack of energy.

Woodland, typically optimistic, found himself overwhelmed by fear, especially while playing on Tour during the 2023 season. Despite pushing through, his performance suffered. Recognizing the need for help, Woodland’s doctor ordered an MRI, revealing a concerning brain lesion affecting his fear and anxiety regulation.

Following the diagnosis, Woodland underwent surgery on September 18 to remove the lesion, facing potential paralysis risks. Fortunately, the surgery was successful, alleviating his anxiety. Despite the relief, Woodland embarked on a challenging road to recovery and golfing form.

Post-surgery, Woodland defied expectations by practicing putting shortly after the procedure, gradually progressing to hitting balls, albeit against medical advice. With the guidance of his coach, Butch Harmon, Woodland navigated the hurdles of regaining his former prowess, battling residual side effects and an eagerness to return to full swing.

Woodland’s comeback journey demanded patience and open communication with his support team. Balancing good and bad days, he learned to rest when needed, prioritizing his well-being over relentless practice. Despite initial setbacks in the 2024 season, Woodland’s dedication and adjustments in his swing mechanics show promise for his return to top form.

During the Genesis Invitational, Woodland showcased improvement, posting his best round of the year and outperforming Tiger Woods. Despite challenges, Woodland remains optimistic, acknowledging the progress made and the work ahead to reclaim his competitive edge.

Woodland’s resilience and determination in the face of adversity highlight his unwavering commitment to overcoming obstacles and rediscovering his golfing magic.

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Zephyr Melton

Zephyr Melton, an assistant editor for, contributes to instruction, amateur, and women’s golf coverage. With a background in various sports organizations, including the PGA Tour, he brings a wealth of experience to his role. For inquiries, contact Zephyr at [email protected].