Webb Simpson: The unlikely U.S. Open winner
By mustang6560 on 6/18/12
The 112th U.S. Open is in the books and The Olympic Club crowned another unlikely champion in Webb Simpson. Webb is no Jack Fleck and neither Graeme nor Jim is cut from the same cloth as Ben Hogan, but unlikely seems to be a good adjective to describe his victory.
Webb is a very talented young golfer, so it doesn't surprise me that he is now a major champion, however, leading up to and during the U.S. Open, no one was talking about him as a possible contender. The media attention was on former U.S. Open winners Graeme McDowell ('10) and Jim Furyk ('03), who were co-leaders through 54 holes, and Tiger Woods because, well, he is Tiger Woods.
Nobody seemed to notice Webb until he rattled off four birdies in five holes to close out the front nine and start the back. With his string of three birdies in a row on holes 6-8, he climbed the leaderboard and was only one stroke off the pace. Even then, it seemed unlikely that Webb would be able to sustain his level of play for another eight holes and win the U.S. Open, especially since it was only his second appearance in the event. But, as unlikely as it was in the moment, it's clear to me now that the media was too focused on the usual storylines to see Webb lurking in the distance.
Webb had a breakout season last year winning twice and finishing runner-up three more times. His win total could have easily been higher as he lost in a playoff at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the McGladery Classic. In addition to his 12 top 10 finishes and 21 top 25 finishes, he nearly won the PGA Tour money list in 2011 with earnings in excess of $6 million. However, Luke Donald shot an unbelievable final round 64 to win the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic and take the money title.
With his U.S. Open title, Webb will no longer be on the outside of the contender conversation - at least not for the foreseeable future. I hope his career does not turn into a one-and-done career. I would like to see him continue his strong play and contend for years to come. But more importantly, I hope Alan Shipnuck was paying close attention to the weekend at The Olympic Club as his prediction was wrong - dead wrong. He should not be allowed to write about anything related to Tiger for one year.
Image via Flickr, Keith Allison
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