Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson (1 US Open, 2 Ryder Cup's.)

1985

James Frederick Webb Simpson (born August 8, 1985) is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour who is most notable for winning the 2012 U.S. Open. As an amateur, he was a member of the United States' victorious 2007 Walker Cup and 2007 Palmer Cup teams. In college, Simpson played on the Wake Forest University golf team on the Arnold Palmer scholarship. After turning professional, Simpson played on the Nationwide Tour where he finished in second place twice. Simpson qualified for the PGA Tour after his tie for seventh at the 2008 PGA Tour Qualifying School. In 2011, Simpson had his first two victories on the PGA Tour, which came at the Wyndham Championship and at the FedEx Cup playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship. These wins helped him finish in second on the Tour's money list. He was also a member of the United States' victorious 2011 Presidents Cup team.

Simpson was born on August 8, 1985, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Evander Samuel "Sam" Simpson III and Debbie Webb Simpson, the fifth of six children.[2][3]

Simpson married Taylor Dowd Keith (like Webb, Dowd goes by her middle name) on January 2, 2010, in Charlotte, North Carolina.[4] In 2011, the couple had their first child, a son named James.[5] On July 28, 2012, Webb and his wife had their second child, a daughter called Willow Grace. On May 15, 2014, the Simpsons had their third child, a daughter named Wyndham Rose, named after the first PGA Tour event Simpson won. On Thursday, May 12, 2016, Simpson was forced to withdraw from the 2016 Players Championship due to the birth of his fourth child, a daughter named Mercy Dowd.

Simpson is a Christian. After his first PGA tour win, he thanked his "...Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ".[6] Simpson frequently posts Bible verses and other statements about his faith on his Twitter account.[7]

Simpson founded an annual junior golf tournament with friend and current director Mark Bentley in 2010. The tournament is currently called the Webb Simpson Challenge.[8]

Simpson played high school golf at Needham B. Broughton High School before his collegiate golf career at Wake Forest University on an Arnold Palmer Scholarship.[9] He was a three-time All-American and the ACC Player of the Year in 2008. He played on the victorious 2007 Walker Cup team and the 2007 Palmer Cup team.

After turning professional in June 2008, Simpson played on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour on sponsor's exemptions. He recorded two runner-up finishes on the Nationwide Tour, including a loss in a playoff at the Chattanooga Classic. He then competed in the PGA Tour's qualifying school and finished T7 to earn his Tour card for 2009. He had a successful start to his rookie year with two successive top-10s, finished tied 9th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied 5th-place finish at the Bob Hope Classic. Simpson then went on a run of poor results, missing nine of his next thirteen cuts, before steadying his season in the summer with some solid displays to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. There he finished 8th at The Barclays to ensure further progression to the second and third playoff events before being eliminated in 62nd position. He ended the season with four top-10 finishes and retained his tour card ranked 70th on the money list.

Simpson's 2010 season was less successful, with only two top-ten finishes all season, both of these occurring towards the latter end of the season. His season took a similar pattern to his first on tour when he missed six straight cuts in the middle of season, before a strong summer saw him make six of next eight cuts to again qualify for the season ending playoffs. This time, however Simpson missed the cut at the second playoff event and was eliminated. He finished year 94th on the money list to keep his playing privileges for the 2011 season.

After starting the season well with three top-25 finishes in his opening five events on tour, Simpson had a chance to win his first PGA Tour title at the 2011 Transitions Championship but bogeyed the final hole, missing out by one stroke to Gary Woodland.[10] Simpson then came even closer to his first career PGA Tour title when he lost out in a playoff to Bubba Watson at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. At the 15th hole Simpson had incurred a one stroke penalty when his ball moved fractionally while he was addressing the ball.[11] This meant that Watson could tie with Simpson to take the tournament into a playoff. The two players were tied at 15-under-par after the full 72 holes. Both players made a birdie on the first extra hole, the 18th, with Watson holing a 12 footer to take the playoff to a second hole. When they replayed the 18th hole for a third time in succession, Simpson missed exactly the same putt for birdie which Watson had holed earlier during the first playoff hole, allowing Watson to tap in for the victory.[12] In June, Simpson played in his first major championship at the U.S. Open and recorded a tied 14th finish. He followed it up with another top-20 showing at The Open Championship a month later.

Simpson won his first PGA Tour title at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, his home state, on August 21, 2011. Simpson won the championship by three strokes over George McNeill, carding a final round of 67, which included three birdies and no bogeys.[13] After achieving his first victory so close to home, Simpson said "I really couldn't think of a better place to win than here in Greensboro. That was probably the most fun 18 holes I've ever been a part of." As a result of this victory, one week before the season ending FedEx Cup playoffs, Simpson jumped to third in the overall standings.

In September, Simpson won his second tournament of the 2011 PGA Tour season and of his career, at the second FedEx Cup playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship. He beat Chez Reavie in a sudden death playoff. Simpson made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th to cut Reavie's lead to one and when Reavie bogeyed the 18th, they went into a playoff replaying the 18th hole. Simpson made another 12-foot birdie putt to stay alive while Reavie made birdie. On the 17th hole Simpson hit his second shot on the par-4 to 8 feet and Reavie replied by hitting his to within 20 feet. Reavie shaved the edge with his attempt, allowing Simpson to capitalize by knocking his 8 footer in for the victory.[14] Simpson moved to first in the FedEx Cup standings for the first time in his career.

Simpson was also in contention at the third FedEx Cup playoff event, the BMW Championship, before scores of 73-71 on the weekend led to a fifth-placed finish. He maintained his lead of the FedEx Cup standings going into the final playoff event at the Tour ChampionshipBill Haas won the Tour Championship to finish top of the standings by 15 points, with Simpson in second place after finishing 22nd in the field of 30 players.[15]

Simpson came close to picking up his third victory of the year at the McGladrey Classic in October but lost to Ben Crane in a playoff. Simpson missed a three footer for par on the second extra hole to lose out to Crane. The runner-up finish made him number one on the money list, overtaking Luke Donald with one week remaining. Donald however won the final event of the season at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic to beat Simpson to the money title meaning he finished second on the 2011 PGA Tour money list. He finished the year with a record of 23 cuts made in 26 starts and well over $6 million in prize money.

In November, Simpson represented the United States at the 2011 Presidents Cup in Australia, for the first time in his career. He posted a 3–2 record, helping the United States defeat the International team, 19–15.

Simpson opened the 2012 season at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions where he finished in a tie for third place, four shots off the winning total of Steve Stricker. He then recorded top-10s at both the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Transitions Championship to maintain his solid start to the year. Then at the Wells Fargo Championship Simpson finished fourth after holding the 54-hole lead. He made a late bogey in his final round on Sunday to finish a shot outside of a playoff. On May 14, he missed the cut at The Players Championship to end a run of 18 consecutive cuts made in PGA Tour events. This was also the first time he had missed the cut in the 2012 season, after 11 straight cuts made. He then proceeded to miss the cut in his next event at The Memorial Tournament.

On June 17, Simpson won the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.[16] He shot a two-under 68 in the final round for a final score of one-over par. It was good enough to win by one stroke over Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson.[17] McDowell missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have forced a playoff. It was his first major championship win.[18]The win moved Simpson to a career-high fifth in the OWGR.[19]

Following his victory at the U.S. Open, Simpson announced his intention to skip The Open Championship the following month, as his wife was due to give birth to their second child during this time.[20] He finished in a tie for 29th at the Travelers Championship the week after winning the U.S. Open. In July, Simpson held a two stroke lead going into the final round of the Greenbrier Classic. He had only one bogey all tournament before bogeying four of five holes on the back nine, resulting in finishing in a tie for seventh. With his withdrawal from The Open Championship, Simpson did not play for another month until at the final major of the year, the PGA Championship. This showed when he started the first round at six-over-par through seven holes on his way to an opening round of 79. This left him too much to do in round two and despite shooting an even-par round in very difficult conditions, he missed the cut by one stroke. On August 13, Simpson was confirmed as one of the automatic qualifiers for the 2012 Ryder Cup team, finishing in 5th place in the final standings. This would be Simpson's first appearance in the team event.

In April, Simpson lost a playoff in the RBC Heritage to Graeme McDowell. In the season's final event, Simpson shot a 63 in the final round of the Tour Championship to finish in fourth place. Simpson had five top-tens and finished 20th on the PGA Tour's money list. Following the season, Simpson was a member of the winning American team in the Presidents Cup played at Murfield Village in Ohio.

Simpson won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, the second event in the tour's new wrap-around season in October 2013, by six strokes. It was Simpson's first victory since his U.S. Open win and fourth PGA Tour win of his career. For the season Simpson had a total of nine top-tens and finished 17th on the PGA Tour's money list.

Simpson was selected by Tom Watson as one of his three captain's picks for the 2014 Ryder Cup team, finishing with a record of 0–1–1 in the two matches he participated in. This included a halved match against Ian Poulter in the singles competition.[21]

Simpson was winless for the season though he did have five top-ten finishes. Simpson's highest finish was a tie for second at the Wells Fargo Championship which was won by seven strokes in a record-setting performance by Rory McIlroy. For the season Simpson finished 43rd on the PGA Tour's money list. For the first time in five years, Simpson did not represent the United States in a year-end international competition.