Current Residence: Richmond, Va.
Hometown: Powhatan, Va.
Home Golf Course: Mill Quarter Plantation Golf Course, Powhatan, Va.
College: James Madison University
Big Break Season: Big Break Mexico
Since Competing on Big Break: Competing on the NGA Pro Tour Series and various mini tours. One win and one runner-up finish on the NGA Series in 2014.
BIG BREAK MEXICO BIO
- Two-time Virginia State Amateur Champion (2002, 2003)
- Six career victories on the NGA Tour (two full field and four smaller field events) and 25 top-10 finishes
- 2012 Virginia State Open Champion – the seventh player to capture the State Amateur and Open titles
Jay Woodson, like the majority of the competitors on Big Break Mexico, was introduced to golf at a young age – 4-years-old to be exact. Golf, however, was not Jay’s passion growing up. His father, who also introduced him to the game, was a football coach, and Jay had his heart set on following in his footsteps and play football at the highest level.
“Football and golf were the two bonds between my father and me,” recalled Jay. “I didn’t have the ‘love’ or ‘passion’ for the game like you hear from a lot of other professionals out there growing up. Golf, to me, was a fun way to spend time with him away from the football field.”
Jay’s father, however, did have a passion for golf, and was acquainted with one of preeminent sports psychologists and instructors in the game, Dr. Bob Rotella. In high school, Jay’s father introduced his son to Rotella. The rest, as they say, is history.
“Dr. Bob saw the natural talent I had when I first played with him,” said Jay. “He told me I could definitely have a career in golf if I wanted to pursue it.”
Rotella began working with Jay on the mental side of the game and discussed the idea of pursuing golf in college, even though he was being recruited for football. He ultimately decided that golf would be the best opportunity to pursue his dream of being a professional athlete – all with the full support of his father.
Through recommendations from Rotella, Jay received phone calls from multiple schools who wanted to see him play, including South Carolina, Mississippi State and James Madison. He ultimately signed with James Madison – the same school his parents attended – and had a stellar college career that included one victory, several runner-up finishes, two-time all-conference recognition and player of the year award his senior year. Jay also was a two-time winner of the Virginia State Amateur. He currently holds the lowest cumulative stroke average over his four-year career in James Madison history.
Jay turned pro immediately following graduation in 2004. He found immediate success, winning his third professional tournament on the NGA Tour in Myrtle Beach.
“Coming out of college, I thought I was invincible,” explained Jay. “I just knew it was only going to be a matter of time before I was on the PGA TOUR.”
It would be nine long years before Jay tasted victory in a full-field, professional event. Jay won a few smaller-field events, but did not have the success he was hoping for. He also battled injuries during that nine-year stretch, and his confidence waned, to the point where he was burnt out on the game and hung up the golf clubs in 2011.
“I was worn out and exhausted. To play that many tournaments a year – every year – and constantly living paycheck-to-paycheck while trying to support a family, it definitely took its toll.”
Jay returned to his high school to become a health and physical education teacher. Growing up in a small town near Richmond, everyone knew the Woodson family.
Jay soon realized that he was not only teaching the kids to pursue their dreams, his kids were teaching him to not give up on his dream of competing on the PGA TOUR. The kids renewed his passion for the game, and he returned to professional golf in 2012 with a new sense of energy and desire.
In July 2012, Jay captured the Virginia State Open, becoming only the seventh player in history to win both the Virginia State Amateur and Open titles. It was an emotional high that he hadn’t felt since winning his first pro event, eight years prior.
Jay’s life off the golf course is at an all-time high, as well. He and his wife are expecting their first child in June. He says his perspective on golf – and life – are the best they have been in years.
That confidence and perspective just might be the two ingredients Jay needs to run the table on Big Break Mexico.