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Simpson reaches Olympic heights

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There is something about the U.S. Open that creates historical parallels and loops. Some of them are flat out weird, like a guy named Lee hitting his ball on Sunday into the exact same tree that another guy named Lee hit his into 17 years ago. And some of them are pleasing in their symmetry. At the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic, Webb Simpson claimed is first major championship and also became a part of one of those historic loops.

Simpson, who shot rounds of 68 on Saturday and Sunday to finish one shot clear of 2010 Open winner Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson, became the ninth consecutive first-time major winner. Simpson played his college golf at Wake Forest as a recipient of an Arnold Palmer scholarship. How fitting that The King was responsible for mentoring the man who won at the site of one of his most bitter defeats, a loss to Billy Casper in 1966 when Palmer lost a seven-shot lead on the final nine holes of the tournament. Simpson also won 25 years after another Scott Simspon (no relation), who took the U.S. Open at Olympic for his only major title. Scott Simpson was born in 1955, the year that Ben Hogan famously lost to Jack Fleck in a playoff at Olympic that is considered by many to be the greatest upset in golf history.

And on and on.

A two-time winner and contender for player of the year honors in 2011, Simpson had never really contended in a major and had missed the cut in the two events he played in prior to the U.S. Open. But in the closing holes that pitted him against some to the toughest and most seasoned professionals, Simpson performed like an old pro in top form. Of the last 18 players to tee off on Sunday, he was the only one to break par. And when faced with a difficult chip shot out of an old sprinkler head depression on the 18th, Simpson executed the shot brilliantly, leaving himself a 3-footer that he rolled in for the par that was the difference between winning and a playoff.

While calm on the outside, Simpson admitted that he was a jangle of nerves on the inside while trying to track down a major title on one of the toughest tests ever set before a group of professionals.

“On that back nine, I was thinking to myself, ‘How did Tiger ever win 14 of these things?'” Simpson said after the round. “I couldn’t feel my legs for most of those holes.”

He managed his nerves well enough to post four birdies around the turn, post his 281 and make it the clubhouse where he could watch the NASCAR-like crashes of the remaining contenders.

On a course where a good prayer could have been as essential as a good putter, Simpson was right at home. A devout Christian, he has said that if he were not a pro golfer he would likely be a minister. A father of one and expecting his second, Simpson is the quintessential “old soul” in a young man’s body. His game and his life seem grounded in the fundamentals.

Simpson is only in his fourth year on Tour, and he clearly has the talent to take his career to whatever level he aspires to.  But when he talks about what’s important to him, it’s all about his wife Taylor and the family they want to raise and the community that they want to serve. Who knows; Webb Simpson may very well achieve more off the course than on it. But history will note that for one week in June in this Olympic year, Webb Simpson’s game reached Olympic heights.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Blakester

    Jun 19, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’ve heard Webb speak twice now, at events here in Raleigh, and he comes off as very genuine and down-to-earth.

    And yes…his wife’s name is Dowd. Not Taylor.

    Way to go Webb! Everyone here in Raleigh hopes this is your 1st of many Major victories to come!

  2. Cody Oikemus

    Jun 19, 2012 at 1:21 am

    And by 2014 event, I mean 2010….

  3. Cody Oikemus

    Jun 19, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Webb is one of the nicest guys out on tour. He hosts a tournament for juniors in NC which I was lucky enough to play in the inaugural 2014 event. There was no entry fee for the tournament and he covered all the food and housing. It just goes to show what a selfless guy he is. I hope he has a successful career and keeps his humble attitude which is such breath of fresh air compared to other athletes in this time.

    PS. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe his wife’s name is Dowd, not Taylor

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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: “The Traditional” Edition

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Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers…But really, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour we spotted over the past couple of weeks.

Grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please. And be sure to check out the rest of our tour photo galleries when you’re done.

Patrick Reed with a fine articulation of what we’re calling “The Traditional” wedge stamping: First and last initials, usually in white or black. 

Here’s The Traditional on Keith Mitchell’s Mizuno T22 wedge as well as a slab o’ wedge tape positioned to raise CG.  

Tyler Duncan’s Traditional stamping on his Vokey SM10 also includes a note about head weight in Sharpie. 

The Traditional, again, this time for Cam Smith on his Vokey SM10 in Jet Black.  

Jason Dufner’s Cobra’s SB wedge bears his initials, JD.

A variation on The Traditional, Lee Hodges’ initials are surrounded by “RTR,” as is usually the case on his wedges — Roll Tide Roll!

Phil Mickelson’s PM Grind wedge has a saucy little 64 stamped on the toe and a slab of lead near the toe peak. 

John Rahm’s Callaway Jaws Forged wedge featured the motto of his LIV Golf squad, Legion XIII.

John Daly’s Sub 70 wedge is superb, featuring the logo of his alma mater, the University of Arkansas. WPS! 

Check out our tour photo galleries here.

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Equipment

Photos from the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Custom Camerons and some “super” new grips from SuperStroke are filling our galleries early in the week as well as WITBs — including the always interesting “Cashmere Keith” Mitchell.

Check out links to our photos below, which we’ll continue to update throughout the week.

And while you’re making your way through our photos, be sure to check out last year’s incredible gallery of prototype and personal Ben Hogan golf clubs.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, for the PGA Championship.

While we see fewer equipment changes and new gear seeding at major championships, we get a look at custom gear and looks into the bags of players we rarely see, which is just as exciting. In the case of the PGA Championship, this means a look at the gear some of the PGA Professionals who qualified for the tournament will be gaming, and LIV players, such as Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed.

Check out links to all our albums from Valhalla below and check back throughout the week as we continue to update.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

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