Simpson's special Father's Day victory
June 21, 2020
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Webb Simpson wins at RBC Heritage
HILTON HEAD, S.C. – The yellow shirt Webb Simpson wore on Sunday at the RBC Heritage wasn’t a casual fashion choice.
He didn’t take it out of his closet because it would look good with that red tartan jacket that goes to the winner of the tournament, either. Of course, turns out that it did.
No, Simpson wears yellow on Sundays because it was his late father Sam’s favorite color. And in an unusual quirk of scheduling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RBC Heritage, once canceled and later postponed, was concluding on Father’s Day.
“This morning I thought about him, and when I was on the golf course, I thought about him,” Simpson would later say. “... So still feeling my dad all around me from memories. He loved golf.
“He would have loved watching today.”
Indeed. Sam’s son took control of the RBC Heritage on the back nine, making birdies on five of his last seven holes for a 64 to earn the seventh victory of his PGA TOUR career. With the win, Simpson climbed to the top of the FedExCup standings as well as to No. 5 in the world.
Webb Simpson’s Round 4 highlights from RBC Heritage
Of course, the U.S. Open, which was postponed until September, usually is the tournament that ends on Father’s Day. So, this actually marks the second time Simpson has celebrated victory on that holiday – and Sam was still alive when his boy won the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
“I'll never forget calling my dad after on the way to the press conference, and when he picked up the phone, he just was laughing,” Simpson said. “That's kind of what he did when he was happy, he would just laugh. So, I'm going to miss that laugh today for sure.”
For Simpson, who lost his dad jn 2017, the ascent is part and parcel of the hard work he’s put in over the last three years after finding himself on the outside looking in when everyone else was playing in the TOUR Championship and making Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams like he used to do.
“I really have a desire to be in that top 10 or 15 guys in the world ranking all the time and have chances to win, not just twice a year, but as many times as I can,” Simpson said. “So that led me to just look at every part of my game, whether it's working out or the mental approach, and see if I can get better.
“That was three years ago probably. So, yeah ... it feels great to see the hard work pay off and see that the process I've put in place is working. But we're nuts. We always think we can get better, and I think there's room to grow.”
Sunday’s final round was a roller coaster of emotions that featured as many as seven players tied for the lead. Turning up the heat, too, on this steamy afternoon was a different kind of race – this one to finish before darkness after a weather delay of two hours and 35 minutes.
Simpson, who also won THE PLAYERS Championship in 2018 on Mother’s Day, had held at least a share of the second- and third-round leads. But he had to come from behind over the final nine holes, chasing Tyrrell Hatton, Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Neimann, among others to seal the win.
“Honestly, the last kind of 10 holes were a blur because guys are making birdies, we're trying to finish before night comes,” Simpson said. “And so, to finish with five birdies like that was really special, especially after going kind of yesterday and the first 10 holes, 11 holes today not making putts.
“To see the putts go in when I needed them, that was really fun to see the ball going in the hole.”
The feverish competition worked in Simpson’s favor, too. As he saw birdies being posted, he knew he had to be a little more aggressive after giving up ground on the front nine. He played the final nine holes with authority and confidence, and was rewarded at the end.
“It's typically not a golf course where you can force it, but today after the storm, it softened things out, not much wind, we could go attacking,” Simpson said. “Guys kept making birdies. I was blown away with the scores, but there I hit my run, 12 through 17, and ultimately that's what made the difference.”
And Simpson, who has five kids of his own, now has a new celebration for Father’s Day.