JUNE 18, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO | Webb Simpson said he had “a
peace all day” Sunday.
Now he owns a large piece of golf history.
By scorching a nails-tough Olympic Club layout
with a pair of weekend 68s, the 26-year-old Wake
Forest grad from Charlotte, N.C., won the 112th
U.S. Open by a shot ahead of little-known American Michael Thompson and Northern Ireland’s
Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion.
“One of my thoughts on the back nine,” Simp-
son said, “was ‘I don’t know how Tiger’s won 14 of
these things.’ ”
But an important part of the “peace” he men-
tioned clearly came from swing work he had done
after missing the cut at The Memorial in May, his
last start. Then, last week, Simpson went on a
buddies golf trip to Pinehurst to clear his mind in
advance of the Open.
It all worked.
In the end, McDowell needed a 25-footer to
force an 18-hole Monday playoff on the 72nd hole
and missed it left. Third-round leader Jim Furyk,
playing in the final pairing with McDowell, also
arrived at the final hole needing a birdie to tie
Simpson. He bunkered his second and made bogey
to drop into a five-way tie for fourth with David
Toms, Padraig Harrington, John Peterson and
“Nerve-wracking,” said Simpson when asked
what it was like watching McDowell and Furyk on
their final hole.
“We made it very clear,” Davis said in a mo-
ment of frustration. “Some don’t like it, I guess
they can tune out by this week or not file an entry
if you’re a player.”
Earlier, Davis had described the purposed
inconsistency of the lies in the rough as being “a
“little bit like an Easter egg contest.”
Davis also went the extra mile during a post-
round TV interview between Simpson and an-
nouncer Bob Costas. When an interloper attempt-
ed to run into NBC’s shot, Davis grabbed him and
yanked him out of the camera’s reach.
LEADERS’ FINAL ROUNDS
Later, McDowell said he enjoys tough tests.
But, he added, “I’m not sure you can have your ‘A’
game on this course. It’s just impossible. It beats
Tiger Woods looked for all the world like a win-
ner the first two days and was tied with Furyk after
Alas for him, his driver, iron game and putter
deserted him Saturday on the way to a 75. When
he bogeyed the first two holes and doubled the
third Sunday his bid to join Bobby Jones, Jack
Nicklaus and Willie Anderson this year as the only
men to have won four U.S. Opens died aborning.
Woods closed with a 73 and a 7-over total of
287. It was good for a tie for 21st.
Phil Mickelson celebrated his 42nd birthday
Saturday and little else at the major championship
he still hasn’t won. His 72-hole total of 296 was a
whopping 16-over par and left him tied for 65th.
The feel-good story of the week was the performance of 17-year-old amateur American Beau
Hossler. Just four shots back of the leaders after
54 holes, Hossler hung on with a Sunday 76 to gain
second-low amateur honors. Jordan Spieth was
In the end, there was the wait. “I did not want to
play in a playoff for a lot of reasons,” said Simpson, who watched in the locker room with his wife,
Dowd, as the final drama unfolded.
All he really wanted to do this year, he said,
was to continue to get better. “I don’t care if I make
a million dollars as long as I keep getting better,”
Better, for now, for Webb Simpson, is best.