Patriots’ Danny Woodhead dominates US Open golf qualifying

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 9: Danny Woodhead #39 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 9: Danny Woodhead #39 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Danny Woodhead is one of the most improbable New England Patriots success stories of the Bill Belichick era. After coming from Division II Chadron State and being tossed aside by the rival Jets, Woodhead helped the Patriots pull off a 39-9 regular-season record over a three-season span.

After retiring from the game, Woodhead has largely left football alone, as he has spent most of his time honing his golf skills. He’s already overcome all of the doubters who said a 5-8 running back from the middle of nowhere couldn’t make it to the NFL, and now he’s poised to do the same again in a different arena.

Athletes going into golf after retirement is nothing new, but what Woodhead is doing is defying conventional odds. He’s a true two-sport star, as he’s just a few lucky drives away from making it one of the biggest stages the game of golf can offer someone.

Woodhead had an even-par 71 at the US Open’s Omaha qualifier, earning one of the few remaining final qualifying berths. In retirement, the former Pats scatback has turned his love for golf from an offseason hobby into a passion that could vault him to the highest level of the game.

Former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead is a great golfer.

In his pro career, Woodhead compiled 2,238 rushing yards and 2,698 receiving yards to go along with 32 touchdowns. In addition to his tenure with New England, Woodhead was highly productive alongside Philip Rivers as a pass-catching change-of-pace back in San Diego.

Woodhead is not just some below-average golfer who lucked into a few spectacular rounds. He qualified for the 2021 US Amateur Four-Ball at Chambers Bay last year. The passion and the fire that made Woodhead a valued Patriot have helped him translate his skills to a totally new field.

Woodhead might have a shot at being the best golfer among retired former NFL players. Tony Romo appeared to have that title locked down, but after he shot 3-over in the Wisconsin qualifier, Woodhead could jump past the former Cowboys quarterback. Not too shabby for a guy who was playing football half a decade ago.

Woodhead might not seem like someone capable of doing damage in the golf game, but no one thought that a running back coming from a 3,000-student Division II school in Nebraska would become one of Tom Brady’s more reliable targets. Woodhead never got a Super Bowl ring, but he could use golf to fill up his trophy case.