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Woodland ready to leave Masters if health of wife, baby in jeopardy

Gary Woodland is playing this week at the Masters, but withdrew from the WGC-Match Play after his wife suffered complications during her pregnancy. Rob Carr/Getty Images

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Gary Woodland is competing in the Masters Tournament this week. He'll be playing arguably the world's best golf course among the world's best players, pursuing a lifelong dream of winning a prestigious green jacket.

And if he gets one phone call this week, he'll leave it all. Immediately.

"Family comes first," he explained after a Monday morning practice round. "That's the main concern right now."

Two weeks ago, Woodland was in Austin, Texas, for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. His wife, Gabby, was there with him, 18 weeks pregnant with twins.

Their first children. A boy and a girl.

On Tuesday of that week, Gabby's water broke around the baby girl. Gabby was admitted to a nearby hospital, where she stayed overnight. The next day, with both mother and baby still in stable condition, Woodland competed in the opening round, winning his match against Emiliano Grillo.

One day later, he was driving to the course for a match against Rory McIlroy when he received a phone call. He immediately withdrew from the tournament, turned the car around and drove back to the hospital.

That night, Gabby gave birth to their little girl, stillborn.

"It's probably the first time in my life," said Woodland, "where I've had something thrown in my face and sports weren't the top thing."

After two days, Gabby was medically transported to a hospital in Kansas City, closer to the couple's home in Lawrence, Kansas. Last Tuesday, she was discharged.

Gabby will be on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy, as she and the baby boy are in stable condition, surrounded by family 24 hours a day, especially while her husband competes in the Masters this week.

"The boy is healthy," Woodland explained, "but if anything happened right now, he wouldn't be able to make it. So we've got to do everything we can to keep him in there right now."

Woodland considered staying home this week. He thought about skipping the year's biggest tournament to be with his wife, remaining at home while his world-class peers played.

Instead, he was talked out of that idea -- by Gabby.

"I want to be there for her," he said. "But she wants me out here. She wants to be here. But as long as she stays stable and the boy stays stable, I'll be out here."

Woodland doesn't have the greatest record at this tournament. In four career starts, he's made the cut only twice, with his best finish being a share of 24th place six years ago. He's entering this week playing some of the best golf of his life, though. The world's 36th-ranked player, he already owns three results of sixth or better this year, and his long-hitting prowess puts him on a short list of potential sleeper candidates for the title.

Unless he gets another phone call.

If Gabby or their baby boy endure any complications, if anything goes wrong back home in Kansas, he'll leave. Immediately.

"It's hard," he said. "But it puts golf into perspective. Bogeys don't mean much right now."