‘A Zombie’: Painful Secrets of Gary Woodland’s Brain Tumor Battle Disclosed by PGA Tour Pro’s Closest Ally

Published 01/12/2024, 4:11 AM EST

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It’s not easy when your every waking hour is a fever dream; it’s not easy playing golf when you take epilepsy medicine before stepping on the greens. But that’s what Gary Woodland was going through after a lesion cropped up on his amygdala, the part of the human brain that controls fear and anxiety. Unnerving moments like these come out as Brennan Little, his caddie recounts the harrowing days before Woodland went through surgery.

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Didn’t matter if I was driving a car, [or] on an airplane – I thought everything was going to kill me,” Gary Woodland told reporters in the press conference from the Wai’alae Country Club. Little, of course, knew these since the diagnosis. Chatting with Garrett Johnston of the Beyond the Clubhouse podcast, the veteran caddie unraveled what exactly was going on with the PGA Tour pro.

Woodland was like a “zombie”, per his caddie

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Surprisingly, Woodland played in till the Wyndham Championship in early August before pulling the brakes. The first signs, of course, started showing way back—since the Masters. Little, throughout those four months, kept advising, “You got to get things figured out with your health first. That’s the most important thing.

It was too much to bear for the veteran caddie, who helped Gary Woodland secure his first Major five years ago. During the initial few months, the four-time PGA Tour winner was taking epilepsy drugs for seizures and was totally beside himself. “He was kind of a zombie,” Little echoed his employer, who earlier said he was almost going “crazy.”

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Little added, fortunately, “he was on a good track, he had a good medical team, and they were pushing him through to the end of the year.” Gary Woodland first consulted his regular consultant in April before eventually undergoing surgery on September 18.

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The medical team was steadily monitoring the progress in between. Little is thankful that “it wasn’t like, it was growing a lot.” Nevertheless, the experienced bagman feels “he needed to get better.” Hence the surgery. Woodland, currently teeing up at the 2024 Sony Open in Hawaii, also spoke of the days of trauma and mental anguish.

Gary Woodland spoke about his past trauma

The Kansas native, stepping into the professional sphere for the first time in more than four months, was seemingly jovial. Despite finishing one under par, the 39-year-old was relieved after the first round. But speaking to the media, the Kansas native admitted that there was a time when he used to wake up with his heart in his mouth. 

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Despite a Forgettable Return After Brain Tumor Battle, Gary Woodland Makes an ‘Emotional’ Confession

I’m laying in bed at 1 a.m. grabbing the bed to tell myself I wasn’t falling from heights, [that] I wasn’t dying, for an hour.” Frequent seizures and irrational fears of death almost drove him out of his wits. But now, after going through brain surgery, the 39-year-old appears positive and plans to play the full season this year.

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Written by:

Parnab Bhattacharya

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I, Parnab Bhattacharya, am a budding golf writer at EssentiallySports. I am keen on constantly exploring my deep-rooted love for golf through my long-time passion for writing. With a strong knack for storytelling and experience in SEO content writing, I bring a unique blend of fluent writing and technical expertise.
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Edited by:

Tushhita.barua

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