Is this the type of win for Webb Simpson that will help define him?
Or will it be the one where we look five years from now and say this is a major championship, the United States Open, where Tiger Woods was in control after two rounds and faltered and then Jim Furyk, one of the more steady golfers on the tour and a past champion, gave the tournament away on the final day in San Francisco?
Both were defeated by the Olympic Club course, but it was Simpson who found a way to overcome the fog, the thick air, the thin fairways and of course the tree lines that made things very difficult all week.
While the idea of Simpson, who at 26 is an up-and-coming star on the tour, winning his first major title under those conditions is remarkable in the sense that former Open champions like Woods, Furyk and Graeme McDowell all took shots over the weekend to tame the course. Lee Westwood was in contention as well as no-names like John Senden.
And it makes the mystique of winning the U.S. Open that much greater since anyone, if qualified, can compete to play into the tournament.
This was a title anyone could have won and Simpson proved to the lion tamer at the most appropriate time.
This course also wasn’t Congressional. There wasn’t a dominance all week like last season where everyone was chasing Rory McIlroy. Woods was proclaimed an early favorite, a position he seemed very comfortable with. Furyk hung around all weekend until the end, and even Ernie Els proved he still had a flair for the dramatic and took a shot at his third Open title before falling behind.
Some players need to be in the right place at the right time. Simpson was that person on Sunday.
And while the PGA Tour seems more “even” than it has had been in years with more first-time winners now and a wide-open field where the younger generation and charge of Simpson, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley among others is starting to become the elite of the field, Simpson showed that youth could be served on one of the hardest courses in America.
According to ESPN.com, “Of the last 18 players to tee off in the final round, Simpson was the only one to break par. That didn't seem likely when Simpson was six shots behind as he headed to the sixth hole, the toughest at Olympic.”
While others could not make par or a birdie to take advantage of a leaderboard that continually changed, Simpson began his move toward the top.
"I was tied for the lead, sitting on the 16th tee," he said, according to the ESPN.com story. "I've got wedges in my hand, or reachable par 5s, on the way in and one birdie wins the golf tournament. I'm definitely frustrated."
Golf is one of those games where if you post a score, you can actually run and hide. Golfers must find a way to beat you. The conditions of the course, the natural elements—they all play a role in finding a winner.
Simpson took advantage of those elements, the circumstances and the fact that his elder statesmen were have issues adjusting to the course, the one they had hoped they had figured out over three days.
And for now, Simpson's accomplishment will be discussed for how he seized an opportunity and played some of the best golf of his life while others allowed it to blow away.
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