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How basketball and baseball helped Gary Woodland Master Golf

"I came back and I scored 20 goals," said Woodland proudly.

Sunday, Woodland resisted a charge from Brooks Koepka, who closed with a score of 68 to less than 68. Koepka, the best player in the world, could not intimidate Woodland, who scored 69 to beat Koepka, world No. 1, by three strokes.

Woodland also learned the basketball breathing techniques he transferred to the golf course. Before throwing free throws, he took several deep and soothing breaths and counted up to three in his head to help block the noise of the crowd. Between golf shots, he does the same thing. He takes deep breaths and, especially on the putts, he counts up to three in his head before starting his stroke.

Woodland said Sunday that these techniques kept him "in the moment."

He added: "From a mental point of view, I think I have been as good as ever. I never let myself be ahead, I never thought about what would happen if I won. "

Being at home or on the line of free throws with the game in play has taught Woodland to accept the pressure and discomfort instead of succumbing to the pressure. Thus, when Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Koepka, who accumulate seven major titles, took turns chasing after Sunday, Woodland did not panic. He said, "Enjoy the stress. Enjoy being uncomfortable. "

Team sports also made Woodland coachable. When his instructor, Pete Cowen, suggested some adjustments earlier this week, Woodland did not question or file a complaint. He did what he had been told and his running around the greens during the week was almost perfect.

"He sent me an incredible text this morning that had nothing to do with my golf swing or my technique," Woodland said, referring to Cowen. He said, "All men die, but not all men live, and you live for that moment. "I've thought a lot about that today."

And in the end he got his first major victory in 30 attempts. Woodland does not expect such a long wait until the next. Using the third person plural to reflect the team effort of any sport, Woodland said, "I think we are going in the right direction."

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