Webb Simpson Survives Brutal Olympic Club at US Open
Monday, June 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM
PGA Tour victims of the US Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco are happily headed to this week’s Travelers Championship in the Hartford, CT area where Fredrik Jacobson’s winning score in 2011 was -20.
, a 26 year old American didn’t so much win the US Open, he just had the fewest strokes over par for the Tournament at +1. The true winner of the Open was the Olympic Club and the USGA.
Simpson found out he won the Open in the safest place possible, sitting in the Clubhouse with his pregnant wife. As soon as he posted a +1 score, I knew that we had found the Champion, er “Survivor”. Third round co-leaders and former US Open Champions Jim Furyk
(2003) and Graeme McDowell
(2010) had done nothing all day to suggest that they could beat or even tie a +1 score.
Furyk hit a brutal duck hook on 16 that led to a bogey and left him at +2. He would need to birdie 17 or 18 to force a playoff. He parred the par 5 17th and hit his approach shot on 18 into a greenside bunker with an impossible lie and ended up with a bogey. Furyk shot a 74 and never had a birdie the entire round.
Furyk described his disappointment, “I don't know how to put that one into words. But I had my opportunities and my chances and it was right there."
McDowell needed to birdie both 17 and 18 to force a playoff and managed to birdie 17. He hit his approach shot on 18 some 24 feet above the hole. His birdie putt started left and never came back leaving him one stroke out of a playoff. McDowell’s front nine was +4 and took him out of contention.
The main storyline of the US Open was the golf course but it was certainly not the only storyline. Tiger Woods, seeking his 15th major victory and second consecutive victory on the PGA Tour after his recent win at The Memorial was tied for the lead after two rounds but couldn’t make a putt on the weekend and finished six shots behind Simpson.
, the seventeen year old rising senior at Rancho Santa Margarita High School in Northern California briefly took the lead on Saturday before he realized that he wasn’t supposed to win the US Open at seventeen. He finished +9 but probably ensured that he won’t have difficulty securing a prom date next year before he takes his talents to the University of Texas.
, a 23 year old tour rookie and the 2011 NCAA Champion out of LSU thrilled the gallery on Saturday with a hole in one on #13. Peterson finished +3 in a tie for fourth and demonstrated that he will be a contender on the Tour in the coming years.
put a charge in the opening round as he double eagled #17 but couldn’t sustain that pace as he finished +9.
Webb Simpson survived the Olympic Club but earned the Championship with a pair of 68s on the weekend. While every other player in the field faltered at various times under the Open pressure, Simpson met all of the challenges. He joins a group of other surprise winners at previous Opens held at the Olympic Club. Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan in 1955, Bill Casper over Arnold Palmer in 1966, Scott Simpson over Tom Watson in 1987, and Lee Janzen over Payne Stewart in 1998 were other surprise winners.
The 113th US Open will be held next year at Merion in Ardmore, PA. Who will be next year’s “Survivor”?