By all accounts, Gary Woodland’s U.S. Open win last week at Pebble Beach was one of the most well-received major championship victories among his peers in a long time. And the more you hear about Woodland and his family, the easier it is to root for the newly-crowned U.S. Open Champion.
In his champions press conference, Woodland was quick to deflect praise from himself to his support staff — his wife, his former swing coaches Butch Harmon and Randy Smith, his new swing coach Pete Cowan and his short game coach, Phil Kenyon.
Long known as a bomber and supreme ballstriker, it was Woodland’s short game that shined at Pebble Beach en route to his three-stroke victory. Woodland, who had ranked 120th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting, finished second in the field at Pebble with at +8.29 strokes gained-putting.
“Pete (Cowan) has helped me, Phil Kenyon has helped me, put me in situations for the moment,” Woodland said Sunday after his round. “And fortunately I didn’t have a shot this week that I hadn’t practiced, and that’s pretty good.”
In the aftermath, his short game coach, Kenyon, reached back into his social media mentions to call out a doubter who questioned why the British coach was taking payment from a player who was performing so poorly on the greens.
Phil Kenyon taking money from Gary Woodland to coach putting is more egregious than me selling sports advice. It’s a battle of chicken between which one of us will become honest with ourselves first
— Pat DiMartino (@PatFromEH) March 23, 2019
When the final putt dropped on Sunday, Kenyon was ready to fire back.
— Phil Kenyon (@SwashPutting) June 17, 2019
“Hey Pat,” Kenyon wrote, simply, adding a first-place medal and trophy emoji along with a screenshot of Woodland’s strokes gained: putting stat for the week.
Kenyon doesn’t need to get into the mud with Twitter trolls, either. As one of the most sought-after short game coaches in the game, his stable includes or has included the likes of Francesco Molinari, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood, among others.