Simpson a better putter than ever before
May 13, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Webb Simpson wins THE PLAYERS Championship
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Webb Simpson has not only beaten his putting demons – he’s annihilated them.
Caught in a three-year mire after the rule makers in golf banned the anchored belly putter style he used to win four times on the PGA TOUR - including the U.S. Open - Simpson wondered if he’d ever come out the other side.
Making the change to a conventional putter and stroke had proven to be non-effective and he stubbornly refused to be open minded about trying new styles.
This despite the fact the stats suggested he should.
Simpson went from being ranked inside the top 53 players for Strokes Gained: Putting from his debut year in 2009 through the 2014 season to a basement ranking of 174th in 2015 and 177th in 2016.
But an argument with caddie Paul Tesori on the subject finally cracked open the window to a resurrection.
“The lowest point ended up being the turning point,” he said of the argument at THE NORTHERN TRUST during the FedExCup Playoffs in 2016.
“It was just frustration pent up in both of us. We go sit in my car for about an hour. I'm so frustrated, I'm over it, and he is, too, and he kind of encouraged me to really do something about it.
Tesori suggested Simpson start calling guys who had had putting issues and guys who were known as great putters. Pick brains. Try anything and everything.
“I was too closed minded but then just tried to learn a lot about putting and what's important,” Simpson said.
“So talking to great putters helped, Aaron Baddeley and Brandt Snedeker, had tons of conversations with those guys. I didn't start putting better immediately, but it's what led to using the Kuch-style putter, and it's what led to me being open to listening to Tim Clark here a year ago.”
Clark, a fellow PLAYERS Champion, suggested Simpson try the claw grip with the mid-length putter.
It proved a masterstroke. After gaining 9.368 strokes on the field this week at TPC Sawgrass in putting Simpson now ranks fifth overall on the PGA TOUR this season.
He disagreed with the anchor ban – still does – but has now moved well past it. “I've never putted this well in my life,” he said.
“It's funny how those things happen but this is probably the first time I can say I'm glad they banned it, because I wouldn't have ever probably swayed away from the belly putter.” After breaking a win drought that had stretched from October 2013, Simpson now has his sights set on even more success.
He is already Hall-Of-Fame eligible thanks to this victory but wants to add many more to become an automatic choice.
“To beat the best field in golf will give me confidence going into the majors and World Golf Championship events,” he said.
“Everybody on TOUR wants to think of themselves as a top player, and I want to get back to kind of that top-level caliber that I played at for a few years. “More importantly, I just want to keep getting better. I want to enjoy this. It's going to boost my confidence, but I want to build on it and be in contention more in big tournaments. I haven't been able to do that as much as I want.”
TIGER WOODS IGNITES TPC SAWGRASS… Two-time PLAYERS Champion Tiger Woods sat outside the cut line late on Friday before getting a late reprieve. He then shot 65 on Saturday and was six birdies deep through 12 holes Sunday to pull into a tie for second place just four shots back. It reminded us just how close we might be to an 80th PGA TOUR win. Read about Tiger’s travails here.
JUSTIN THOMAS IS No. 1 EVERYWHERE… Already FedExCup No.1 Justin Thomas shot a final round 6-under 66 to finish T11 and now moves to world no.1. It ends Dustin Johnsons 64 week run at the top. Read his thoughts on overtaking Johnson here.
JASON DAY'S SHOULDER PAIN… FedExCup No. 2 Jason Day was four under on his final round at the turn and perhaps one of the players who could make Webb Simpson nervous. But he was unable to find any birdies on the back side and settled for a T5 finish. It was the Wells Fargo Championship and Farmers Insurance Open winner's fourth top-5 finish of the season.
Of minor concern was a wince after his second shot into the par-5 16th hole. “Every now and then it happens where my shoulder feels like it pops out but it's like more of a sting,” Day explained. “I don't know if it's because I've had back issues and it's gone from my back to my shoulder now… It's more on the transition, so when I go to the top and then I start to unwind, then it is like a stinging pain and then flipped it and went left. So just unfortunately just at the wrong time there because obviously you can get maybe get an eagle and get something going. But, it is what it is.”
DUSTIN JOHNSON – Despite a decent T17 finish, his eighth top 25 from nine PGA TOUR starts this season, Johnson’s reign as world No. 1 is over – for now.
JASON DUFNER – Claimed his second top-5 finish in his last three starts after a final round 68 left him T5.
JORDAN SPIETH – Never really hit the heights on Sunday before finishing with a disastrous quadruple bogey eight on the 72nd hole leaving him in a tie for 41st.
JUSTIN ROSE – Equaled a PLAYERS record with six straight birdies on holes 9-14 Sunday en route to a 66 and T23 finish.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL – Former Masters champion made it three top-10 finishes in a row with his final round 67 and T2 result.
JIMMY WALKER – His T2 result is a second top-5 finish in three starts and sends Walker to 49th in the FedExCup.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE – PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year finishes T2, a third top-10 of the season, to jump to 31st in the FedExCup.
ADAM SCOTT – Final round 68 leaves Scott at T11 – his best result on TOUR since June 2017. Moves back inside FedExCup top 125 at 110th.
BROOKS KOEPKA – Course record 9-under 63 includes six birdies and an albatross to finish T11. Read about it here.
QUOTABLESI've got it -- I'm not that far off from winning golf tournaments.It’s nice to do it on Mother's Day… to have her out here watching is neat.You'll never see TPC Sawgrass play easier than it is this week.It's hard to put it into words what this week has been like.
Low round: Course record-tying 9-under 63 by Brooks Koepka (T11), who holed a 6-iron from 208 yards to make an albatross at the par-5 16th hole.
Longest drive: 356 yds (Branden Grace/No. 14)
Longest putt: 44’ 4” (Jason Kokrak/No. 13)
Toughest hole: Par-3 8th (3.197)
Easiest hole: Par-5 2nd (4.394)
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