Webb Simpson: Bold Predictions for U.S. Open Winner in 2012
As the sun set on the foggy, overcast Sunday evening at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Webb Simpson was the man wearing the crown as U.S. Open champion.
The 26-year-old North Carolina native claimed his first ever major championship over the weekend by finishing one over for the tournament and a combined four-under on Saturday and Sunday.
Simpson strung together four birdies in a five-hole span on the final day and reminded the rest of the field that not only was the man in the navy blue cardigan dangerous, he was deadly.
After third-round leader Jim Furyk's meltdown on the 16th hole, the only golfer standing between Simpson and the U.S. Open Championship was Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion.
But after McDowell pulled his 24-foot putt left on the 18th to force a playoff, a stunned and speechless Simpson watched alongside his wife in the clubhouse as he reveled in his first career major victory with a kiss and a fist pump.
Simpson's one-over finish was the highest winning score by a U.S. Open champion since Angel Cabrera's five-over in 2007.
Simpson was the underdog who played the most clutch golf when nobody else could.
With all the talk about Tiger Woods' resurgence after Friday, Simpson was the last name on anybody's mind heading into the weekend.
With the cut at eight-over after the second round, some of the world's best golfers—like Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Luke Donald and Dustin Johnson—all failed to make it to the weekend.
The Olympic Club proved to be a demanding juggernaut of a course to conquer for some of the world's best, while lesser-known players like Simpson, Michael Thompson and 17-year-old amateur Beau Hossler were able to tame the beast.
It proved to anybody that the intangibles, a disciplined mindset and a little bit of luck can help lead you to victory.
With the U.S. Open under his belt, Simpson has a month to prepare for the Open Championships at Royal Lytham and St. Anne's, although he may not even get the opportunity.
According to the Golf Channel's Randall Mell, the status of Simpson's Open Championship fate is uncertain, as his wife is expected to give birth to their second child in late July.
If he does play, hopefully he fares better than McIlroy during last year's British Open.
Dismal playing conditions dashed any shot of McIlroy winning at the Open Championships while he finished tied for 25th place—only one month after finishing 16-under to claim the U.S. Open title.
For Simpson, the pressure of being a contender after winning the U.S. Open will be heavy.
Past champions have failed to win the Open Championships after winning the U.S. Open, resulting in 14 different winners in the past 14 majors.
Simpson finished tied for 15th in last year's Open Championships at five-over, two shots ahead of McIlroy.
Right now, Simpson has all of the momentum on his side. He finished the weekend by playing some of the best golf of his brief professional career, and he stood atop the golf world by winning the 112th U.S. Open.
After a missed cut in last year's PGA Championship, Simpson will also look to redeem himself right outside of his home state in this year's PGA Championship at the Ocean Course in Kaiwah Island, S.C.
For now, Simpson is just thinking about his U.S. Open victory and the upcoming birth of his second child.
If he is unable to attempt to win back-to-back majors, it will be because of his respectable decision to put his family at the top of his priority list.
In a world where personal affairs can tarnish the reputations and careers of players around the world, Simpson remains a true gentleman and a young champion that has nothing but positive things to look forward to.
Not bad for a guy who ranks 112th on the PGA Tour in driving distance and 120th in driving accuracy.
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