If the powers-that-be who run the USGA could have hand picked their 2012 U.S. Open champion, there’s little doubt Webb Simpson’s name would have been on just about everyone’s slip of paper.
He’s not a club thrower. He’d never smash the ESPN microphone after a bad tee shot like Sergio Garcia did on Friday. You’d never hear him snap and swear at a TV photographer the way Bubba Watson did in round 2. Simpson treats a bogey the same way he treats a birdie. He hands his putter to his caddie and moves on to the next hole.
You want your son or daughter to grow up and “be like someone”? You should hope they grow up to be like Webb Simpson.
That he’s the U.S. Open champion this morning speaks volumes about the kind of golf Webb Simpson can play. There’s an argument that he’s the best American player right now, with all due respect to the likes of Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Only Hunter Mahan might be his rival right now, in terms of American-born players, that is.
But more important than his golf is his style. I’d almost go as far as to say it’s “charming”…the way he goes about playing the game, particularly in high-level events like the Fed Ex Cup event he won last September or yesterday’s Open at The Olympic Club.
If you need one story about Webb Simpson that proves he’s a champion, it has nothing at all to do with holding up the trophy in the San Francisco mist late Sunday afternoon.
In May of 2011, Simpson was leading the Zurich Classic in New Orleans by one shot on Sunday afternoon when he faced a tap-in five-inch putt for par. As he took the putter back, he noticed his golf ball moved about a half-an-inch. He paused…and called over a rules official to explain what had transpired. The rules at that time (since changed) called for a one stroke penalty, which eventually cost the Charlotte, NC resident the title when he lost to Bubba Watson in a sudden death playoff.
Afterwards, while he wasn’t thrilled about the outcome, Simpson talked about missing birdie putts on 17 and 18 that would have given him the title outright. Later on in the summer, he would campaign for the rule to be changed, but he did it in a respectful, courteous manner.
Some players would have barked loud and long about getting “jobbed” and costing them a million bucks in the aftermath of such an unfortunate situation.
Webb Simpson talked about missing birdie putts and things he could directly control.
That’s why Webb Simpson is a winner.
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