To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: It's hard to improve on a year when you win twice, finish second in the FedExCup and pocket more than $6 million. But Webb Simpson managed to do just that when he picked up his first major championship at the U.s. Open in only his fifth start in one of golf's crown jewels. Ranked second in par-breakers and 16th in the TOUR's all-around category, Simpson should have more opportunities to prosper in 2013.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Simpson started the final round at The Olympic Club four strokes off the pace being set by Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell. He closed the gap with a 68 that included three straight birdies on the front nine and a string of eight pars on the back. McDowell had a chance to force a playoff at the 72nd hole but his 25-footer for birdie wouldn't fall and Simpson became the fifth come-from-behind winner in as many U.S. Opens held at The Olympic Club. Several weeks later came another highlight -- his daughter Willow was born. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Webb was not having a good year prior to the U.S. Open but an intense week of practice resulted in his first major title. Simpson is such a well-rounded person and has such a good support group, starting with his wife Dowd, that he is going to be a winner on TOUR for a long time. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: No gamer expected him to maintain the staggering form he exhibited in 2011, so that he banked nearly $3 million less wasn't so much a downturn as it was a reset. Of course, he fulfilled a primary goal in winning the U.S. Open, but he also failed to chase any of his first six top 10s with a top 25. (His last of seven top 10s occurred in his final start.) If he's going to be a first-round pick, we need to rely on more consistency. Instead, he's a reliable second-rounder until further notice. Mild value for salary gamers at $3.436 million. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||1st||U.S. Open|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 18
Rounds played: 76
Top-10 finishes: 7
Money List rank: 17th
Driving distance: 111th
Driving accuracy: 92nd
Greens in regulation: 32nd
Strokes gained-putting: 54th
Scoring average: 21st
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Webb Simpson in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
The top 30 in FedExCup points are headed to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Here’s a look at Webb Simpson, one of the 30 players who will contend for the FedExCup title.
SCENARIOS TO WIN FEDEXCUP: For Simpson to win the
FedExCup, he MUST win the TOUR Championship and have the following
scenarios fall into place:
> Rory McIlroy (No. 1) finishes 19th* or worse
> Tiger Woods (No. 2) finishes in a 3-way tie for 5th or worse
> Nick Watney (No. 3) finishes 4th or worse
> Phil Mickelson (No. 4) finishes T-3 or worse
> Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
> Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) finishes T-2 or worse
*Tie for the FedExCup
Click here for scenarios of every player
SEASON IN REVIEW: Simpson had a whirlwind summer, picking up his first major championship when he won the U.S. Open and becoming a dad for the second time a month later when his daughter Willow was born. He started the final round at the Olympic Club trailing Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell by four strokes, closed with a 68 and ended up winning by one. Simpson, who finished second in last year's FedExCup and on the PGA TOUR money list, had a good chance at a second win earlier in the year at the Wells Fargo Championship where he took the lead into the final round and missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to join the playoff. – Helen Ross
PATH TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Here’s a look at
Simpson’s results in the first three events of the 2012
Click here for Playoffs Tracker of every player.
|FEC ranking after event||
PREVIOUS FEDEXCUP FINISHES: Here is how Simpson has finished in previous Playoffs appearances:
EAST LAKE HISTORY: This is Simpson’s second PGA TOUR start at East Lake. He was the FedExCup favorite in 2011, but finished 22nd to lose the title to Bill Haas after shooting 73 in the final round.
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Fred Albers, on-course
correspondent for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, provides a quick look at
I wonder how much a U.S. Open win and new baby have affected his game. A very talented player who is also a well-rounded person. Has been inconsistent on the course this year.
PLAYER PAGE: Click here for more on Webb Simpson
Now it’s your turn. How do you think Simpson will fare at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola?
CARMEL, Ind. – Webb Simpson went into Friday’s second round of the BMW Championship with a share of the lead after shooting an opening bogey-free 64. But the U.S. Open champ had one of those days you hope to quickly forget.
Simpson shot a 3-over 75 that include a disastrous tee shot at the par-3 sixth that resulted in a penalty shot and a double bogey. He also suffered four bogeys and not even a birdie on his final hole offered much consolation.
When Simpson walked off the course Friday, he was outside the top 30 on the leaderboard. His FedExCup projection went from No. 1 to No. 23. Simpson entered this week ranked 19th in points.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CARMEL, Ind. -- Webb Simpson knows the emotions Bo Van Pelt is feeling this week.
The BMW Championship is a home game for Van Pelt, who grew up a little over an hour away from Crooked Stick. He's had to wait a long time to play professionally in front of his fellow Hoosiers -- the last time the PGA TOUR's best played in Indiana was at the 1991 PGA Championship.
Van Pelt was 16 that year -- "I was stealing practice balls off the range and trying to avoid the lightning," he recalled -- when he drove over to Crooked Stick to watch John Daly win. Simpson had a similar experience, caddying as a teenager during the pro-am at the Wyndham Championship, played about 90 minutes from his childhood home in Raleigh, N.C.
The two played together on Thursday at the BMW Championship and fired matching 64s that gave them a share of the first-round lead with Rory McIlroy and Graham DeLaet. Van Pelt made a 21-inch birdie putt on the 18th hole to pull into the tie while Simpson came up with a 5-footer to save par.
"It's a big deal for me," Van Pelt said. "I want to play well."
Simpson certainly couldn't ignore the ovation Van Pelt received on the first tee Thursday morning.
"I didn't realize he was from here until the first tee when I heard all the people erupt,'” Simpson said. “But it was fun playing with him. I get two home events myself, and I know what it feels like to play well. He had a great day."
Simpson actually got his breakthrough PGA TOUR victory at the 2011 Wyndham Championship. And he finished one shot shy of a playoff this year at the other home game, the Wells Fargo Championship, where he lives a mile away from the host course.
Van Pelt, who won the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, would like nothing better than to follow in Simpson's footsteps, too. He said he didn't feel any added pressure when he teed off in the first round, though.
"I've been doing this a long time and obviously was excited to play in front of my home state and a lot of friends and family and obviously wanted to do well, but I definitely wouldn't call it nerves, just more excitement," Van Pelt said. "I was ready to get going."
He birdied his first two holes to get headed in the right direction. Van Pelt went on to turn in 31 and added three more birdies on the back nine. He hit 11 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens and took 26 putts.
"Stay aggressive -- that's just what I kept telling myself as I was making birdies early, just to keep going, because I knew if it seemed like it was playing easy for me, it was probably playing easy for anybody," Van Pelt said.
"I was a little disappointed in 13 through 15. I had three really good looks there inside 10 feet and didn't make any of them. It's something I've been trying to work on when I've been playing well is to take advantage of my opportunities. I was upset that I didn't make any of those three, but it was nice to finish with a birdie.
Simpson, on the other hand, made his move on the back nine where he shot 31. The reigning U.S. Open champ said playing with Van Pelt and, for that matter, Jim Furyk, who opened with three straight birdies on the way to a round of 69, was a positive.
"When you watch a guy who's making putts and playing well, it kind of lets you see that it's gettable out there," Simpson said.
Simpson also managed to tour Crooked Stick without a bogey. He hit 12 fairways, 11 greens in regulation and used just 22 putts -- one-putting six of his last seven holes and the seventh from the fringe.
"Good, solid golf, no bogeys, which I'm always excited about," Simpson said. "Got the putter going, made a lot of putts on the back nine, and it was good to get up and down for par on the last after not making any bogeys. I didn't want to end with a bogey, so it was a great start and in good position."
In Thursday's first round of the BMW Championship, Webb Simpson rolled in a 31-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th hole en route to an 8-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead.
NORTON, Mass. -- Webb Simpson just wanted to get some confidence back after missing the cut last week at The Barclays.
And that's exactly what he did with Sunday’s 66 that moved him to 8 under with one round remaining in his title defense at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Simpson is still well off the torrid pace being set by Louis Oosthuizen but at least he's gaining ground.
"I knew those guys are playing so well it's going to be a tough task, but I just wanted to come out and play a good solid day of golf and draw on some confidence for next week," Simpson said. "Last year I was pacing, I didn't try to press. That's what I've got to do tomorrow. Whether the winner shoots 23 or 24 under or 16, I've got to go out and do the same thing."
Simpson didn't make a bogey on Sunday -- and neither did his playing partner, Brandt Snedeker, who shot 65.
The former Wake Forest All-American did have an unusual double bogey on Saturday, though. He had to take a penalty stroke at the eighth hole when he inadvertently struck the ball with his putter as he tried to swat a bee away after he set up over a bogey putt.
"It looked like it was going to sting me so I swatted it and my putter hit the ball," Simpson said. "... I think it's a bad rule. it was unintentional that I was going to hit it. I think there needs to be more of a judgment in golf, intention-based. Obviously, my intention was not to move the ball. I had a bee coming."
Following an opening-round 66, Webb Simpson reflects on his play in the 2012 Wyndham Championship with John Maginnes from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Webb Simpson couldn't have been happier with his draw on Thursday. Ditto for the Atlantic Coast Conference fans at Sedgefield Country Club who came to see the Demon Deacon open his title defense by playing with UNC's Davis Love III and Carl Pettersson of N.C. State.
The trio didn't disappoint, either.
Petterrson posted a 62 that was one shot off the course record he set in winning the tournament in 2008. Simpson fired a 66 and Love came in with a 67 that included a 3-footer for birdie on the group’s final hole.
"It's always good to watch somebody playing well just to get an idea of what it looks like," Simpson said. "But (Carl) played beautifully all day and Davis played well, also. Anytime you got a couple guys playing good with you I think it's a good thing. You kind of feed off each other and make the course seem easier.”
Simpson bogeyed his second hole but made five birdies over the next 16. The reigning U.S. Open champion was steady, hitting nine fairways and 13 greens in regulation while taking 27 putts. He’s a big fan of the change from Bent to Bermuda on the greens, too.
"I think the rough is thicker," the Charlotte resident said. "I got a lot of bad lies in the rough. The greens are perfect. I mean it's the way the golf course is meant to be played. Quite frankly, it's more enjoyable to play it. I think everybody is really pleased."
Simpson, who will play for Love at the Ryder Cup, said the two didn't talk strategy as much as they did about the uniforms the U.S. Team will wear at Medinah. Both players represent Polo Ralph Lauren on TOUR.
"I love being with Davis," Simpson said. "I have known him for a few years now. He's been great to me. I'm looking forward to being on the team. I tried (the clothes) on at Memorial. I was on the outside looking in then. I liked the clothes so much I had to get on the team."
Simpson was pleased to get a good round under his belt after missing the cut last week at the PGA Championship. He called his 2-footer for birdie at the eighth hole, his 17th, the highlight of the day, and said he was enjoying his first title defense.
"I had great memories there walking on the back nine," Simpson said.
GREENSBORO,N.C. -- Carl Pettersson couldn't quite get the course record he set in his 2008 Wyndham Championship victory but the 62 he just polished off at Sedgefield was pretty darn strong.
Pettersson used a string of four straight birdies on the front nine, his second of the day, to finish one shot shy of the record. He started the streak with a two-putt birdie from 15 feet at the par-5 fifth hole, then added a 6-footer at the next, a 21-incher at the seventh hole and an 11-footer at No. 8.
Pettersson had a 31-footer for the record-tying birdie at No. 9 but couldn't convert. He owns a two-stroke advantage over David Mathis, who has played 14 holes. Defending champ Webb Simpson, who played with Pettersson, is tied for third at 4 under.
All three players have strong ties to the area.
Pettersson went to high school in Greensboro and college at N.C. State, then settled in Raleigh, N.C. Mathis was born in Winston-Salem, which is about 30 miles west of Greensboro, graduated from Campbell University and now lives outside Raleigh. Simpson is from Raleigh, went to Wake Forest and now lives in Charlotte, N.C.