Topeka native Gary Woodland picked for Presidents Cup

Gary Woodland of the United States watches his tee shot on the 6th hole during the final round of the Zozo Championship PGA Tour at the Accordia Golf Narashino country club in Inzai, east of Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(WIBW) - For the first time in his professional career, the reigning United States national champion in golf will represent his country in team competition.

U.S. team captain Tiger Woods selected Topeka native Gary Woodland as one of his captain's picks on Thursday night. The former KU golfer joins Tony Finau and Patrick Reed as captain's picks on the team for the event going from December 9-15 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.

“I can't tell you how excited I am," Woodland said, according to the website for the Presidents Cup. "I've been close to making a lot of teams and I have never made one. It's been a goal at the start of every year to make that team.

"I miss the team atmosphere. I want to get in that locker room and see the guys. That's what I'm looking forward to, and on top of that, representing your country and you're playing for Tiger Woods, that's pretty special.”

“What he displayed this year at Pebble Beach in winning the U.S. Open, that was awfully special, and we've all known the talent that he has had, and he's just now figuring it out and putting it together, and we couldn't have a better, more competitive guy,” Woods said, according to the website. “We all know he's a jock that played basketball, and went with this golf thing, and it turned out all right. Again, another good dude that all the players wanted on the team.”

Woodland has played well recently, notching top-five finishes in his last two PGA Tour events.

The rest of the American squad includes Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar.