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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[ comments ]
mtgolfidiot says:
Congrats to Webb Simpson. I need to get this off my chest. My wife and I were watching the broadcast and she mentioned, "gee, Johnny Miller is really negative, isnt' he?" For the first time I really listened to Miller's comments. She was right. Every putt inside 10 feet was, "this is a really simple putt". Every swing that resulted in an offline shot was "a case of nerves". It seems that Johnny never hit a bad putt or a bad shot. After two hours I found him very difficult to listen to his analysis. I think it may be time for NBC to look for a new lead analyst
6/18/12
 
legitimatebeef says:
@mtgolfidiot: Miller's negativity is off the charts these days. The blowhard meter is absolutely pinned during an NBC golf broadcast. At times I got the sense that some of his NBC colleagues get tired of his rap too. Tiger Woods misses a shortish birdie opportunity and Miller was about to start in with the critiques when Peter Jacobson cut in with a comment about "Or maybe golf is just a hard game". Miller has immense knowledge of the game but when everything delivered with such an air of self-righteous disapproval...well who needs it?
6/18/12
 
legitimatebeef says:
Good call Nathan. Alan Shipnuck deserves to be publicly flogged and ridiculed for his stupid grandiose proclamation on Saturday. When someone who gets paid for his supposed insight into the sport puts out this kind of spurious, ignorant, sensationalistic, look-at-me "writing", some kind of embargo is definitely in order, it's only fair.
6/18/12
 
jcstoll says:
There were so many other storylines (Tiger, Furyk, McDowell, Els, Hossler, Westwood), coupled with the fact that Simpson wasn't playing too well leading up to the open - but it was pretty surprising how little attention was paid to him.
nd @mtgolfidiot - you're so right, but that's why Johnny Miller is there. He's actually toned it down over the years. (My all-time favorite Millerism is when he described Rocco Mediate, in the epic US Open playoff with Tiger, as looking more like Tiger's pool boy than as a serious competitor to Tiger). But he is pretty sharp, and his commentary is definitely more entertaining than a lot of other bland announcers.
6/18/12
 
jcstoll says:
I do find Miller entertaining, but in the relatively small doses of usual tour event coverage - it does get annoying in the extended coverage in the majors.
6/18/12
 
Matt McGee says:
In a tournament that was so difficult that it was won by the player who failed the least, Johnny Miller's commentary was about as accurate as Shipnuk's prediction about Tiger. I'd rather listen to no commentary at all.
6/18/12
 
dottomm says:
I gotta give Miller credit. He knows his shit. Saturday before Tiger teed off, Miller commenting that the speed of the greens were slower than the previous two days, flat out said "This will hurt Tigers round. He has a tough time adjusting to green speed in the middle of a tournament." And sure enough Tiger could not get the speed right the last two days.
6/18/12
 
joe jones says:
Johnny Miller. He rambled on about growing up on this course and how many times he played it. How many times did he play well enough to win anything? Does any one know? He sure didn't bring it up in his commentary.
6/18/12
 
SpaceMaNy0 says:
Ever heard of the mute button? One of the best inventions of the 20th century.
6/18/12
 
joe jones says:
The mute button really works. My wife has been using one on me for 48 years with great success.
6/20/12
 
CeeBee says:
That was pretty good Joe. But I'll tell tou who can stand Gary Maccord?
7/4/12
 
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