Gary Woodland’s US Open victory is shocking but not surprising. And I say that only because none of the stories were about a first-time winner; it was all Phil, Brooks, Rory, Tiger, etc. I say the victory is not surprising because Woodland is a Brooks-esque player. Koepka wins when his length AND his short game are firing on all cylinders. Woodland also hits it long, also is in great shape, and this week also had a great short game. I think more players who fit that bill–starting with Dustin Johnson who may have been the inspiration Brooks looked to as a long ball hitter who can contend in majors consistently–are going to start winning on the big stage.
Nobody had even even thought to complete a 900 in skateboarding until Tony Hawk did it in 1997. Once he did, the floodgates opened and now many boarders can do it. I think the same applies to players on tour who make their salary with their driver. Woodland had won regular tour events but majors were for guys who had sparkling short games and dazzling iron play. Then Dustin Johnson won a major. Now Koepka is winning majors. I think Gary Woodland sees this success of people who play the game in a similar way to how he plays it and that gives him the confidence to go out and win a major in that fashion as well.