Webb Simpson: US Open Champion Proves That Golf's Majors Are More Open Than Ever
Webb Simpson came into the 2012 US Open with just two career wins on the PGA Tour and a 16th place finish at the 2011 US Open as his best ever showing at a major event.
None of that mattered come Sunday.
Simpson rallied to beat the likes of Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Ernie Els at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, earning his first ever major championship while also becoming the 15th different winner over the last 15 major events.
Even when Woods leads a major tournament—like he did after 36 holes this weekend—the deal is far from closed. For just the second time in 10 tries—and the second time in his last two—Woods didn't win a major that he led after two days.
Woods choked away the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine to South Korean Y.E. Yang, then collapsed this weekend with a 75 and 73 over the last two days. The leader in the clubhouse at -1 after 36 holes, Woods finished at +7—tied with amateur Jordan Spieth, who is just 18-years-old and a member of the University of Texas golf team.
Yet there was Simpson, +5 through 36 holes, holding the US Open Trophy Sunday night.
As long as Woods continues to struggle, a simple will remain: Any player, at any time, can win a major golf championship. Webb, and the last 15 majors, have absolutely proven it.
Let's take a look back at the last 15 majors.
After Woods won the '08 US Open at Torrey Pines, Padraig Harrington went back-to-back at the British Open and PGA Championship.
Since then, it's been a new winner at every major tournament.
Hank Gola of the New York Daily News wrote a well-thought out piece on the subject. It's worth your read.
Gola outlined the 15 different major champions to end the story.
The last 15 major championships have been won by 15 different players:
2012 Webb Simpson U.S. Open
2012 Bubba Watson Masters
2011 Keegan Bradley PGA
2011 Darren Clarke British Open
2011 Rory McIlroy U.S. Open
2011 Charl Schwartzel Masters
2010 Martin Kaymer PGA
2010 Louis Oosthuizen British Open
2010 Graeme McDowell U.S. Open
2010 Phil Mickelson Masters
2009 Y.E. Yang PGA
2009 Stewart Cink British Open
2009 Lucas Glover U.S. Open
2009 Angel Cabrera Masters
2008 Padraig Harrington PGA
The list doesn't include Tiger Woods, who hasn't won sine 2008. Phil Mickelson is on the list just once, but it's been nine majors since he's raised a trophy.
Luke Donald, golf's No. 1 player in the world, is no where to be found. You can't find Lee Westwood, who has never won a major, on that list either.
There's no Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Justin Rose or Hunter Mahan—all players you can currently find in the Top 10 of the world rankings.
Parity reigns supreme over the last 15 majors.
Andy North, ESPN's fantastic golf commentator, does an elimination style prediction before each US Open tournament. This year, he narrowed down his one option to Kuchar, who eventually finished +8 after failing to crack an under-par in any of his four rounds.
But North's idea is flawed. There's no longer any way to narrow down the field in hopes of finding a particular major champion.
Anyone, and everyone, is in the running. There's no eliminating any player these days.
Webb Simpson, who came back from as much as six back on Sunday, helped put the finishing touches on that idea. 14 others before him begun the idea.
In this day and age of professional golf, any major championship is up for grabs. The stranglehold that Woods and Mickelson once had on the game's biggest events is no longer.
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