TOPEKA (KSNT)- Andrew Beckler will play in his first PGA major at the U.S. Open on June 16-19. For Gary Woodland, it’s his 40th.
Beckler graduated from Washburn Rural High School and Washburn University. Woodland went to Shawnee Heights High School before also attending Washburn, then transferring to KU.
There might not be anyone better to show the newcomer, Beckler, the ropes at the U.S. Open than the former champion who shares the same hometown.
“He’s been nothing but kind to me,” Beckler said. “He’s been kind with his time and with his words, and he’s helped me out a lot.”
Woodland is happy to help the fellow Topeka native. In fact, it even gives him an energy boost for the big tournament.
“It brings back good energy for me,” Woodland, the 2019 U.S. Open winner, said. “I remember my first U.S. Open, the nerves and the excitement, and I went in there not really knowing anybody. It’s cool to kind of relive my first experience vicariously through him.”
Both golfers are hoping this will be the first of many majors they tackle side by side.
“I’m proud that another Topekan is out here with me,” Woodland said. “I hope he’s out here for a long time. I hope this is just one great week for him to kind of get his feet wet and he’s out here for a long time with me.”
Whether it’s their first major or their 40th, and whether they’re the favorite or the longshot, these two will never grow too big for their hometown.
“I’ve said it a hundred times, but I’m very, very proud to be from Topeka,” Beckler said.
Topeka shaped Woodland into the golfer and man he is now, he said.
“I always say, ‘I say I am where I am because I was raised in Topeka, Kansas,” Woodland said. “You learn how to be gritty. You learn how to fight and, also, you learn how to treat people the right way.”
Beckler and Woodland both tee off on Thursday from Brookline, Massachusetts.