Tiger Woods’ final-round effort fell short as Webb Simpson held his nerve to win THE PLAYERS Championship by four shots at TPC Sawgrass in Florida yesterday (Sunday May 9). Simpson, seven clear overnight, shot a one-over 73 to triumph on 18-under and claim his first PGA TOUR win since 2013.
The Georgia native fell short of posting the biggest victory margin in the tournament’s history—seven strokes achieved by Steve Elkington in 1997—as he claimed the $1.98 million winner’s share of the purse.
But who is the American golfer? How did he go from amateur player to winning the 2012 U.S. Open and enjoying total career earnings of over $26 million?
The fifth of six children, Simpson was born on August 8 1985 in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Evander Samuel ‘Sam’ Simpson III and Debbie Webb Simpson. Known as Webb, Simpson’s full name is James Frederick Webb Simpson. He is married to Taylor Dowd Simpson; the couple live with their four children in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A devout Christian, Simpson often shares quotes from the bible and makes other statements about his faith on his Twitter account. After his first PGA TOUR win, he thanked his “Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Simpson founded an annual junior golf tournament with friend Mark Bentley in 2010; the tournament is currently called the Webb Simpson Challenge.
Simpson started out playing high school golf at Needham B. Broughton High School before his collegiate golf career at Wake Forest University on an Arnold Palmer scholarship.
He was a three-time All-American and the ACC Player of the Year in 2008. And he played on the triumphant 2007 Walker Cup and 2007 Palmer Cup teams.
Simpson turned pro in 2008, upon which he played in the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour on sponsor’s exemptions. He recorded two runner-up finishes on the Nationwide Tour; he then managed to earn his PGA TOUR card for 2009 after competing in the Tour’s qualifying school.
Two successive top-10 finishes in his rookie year signified Simpson was one to watch in the game of golf. However, the promising young talent experienced a run of bad results, missing nine of his next 13 cuts, before steadying his season in the summer with some solid displays to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs.
Simpson’s 2010 season was less successful, with only two top-10 finishes all season—both occurring towards its latter end. He finished the year 94th on the money list to keep his playing privileges for the 2011 season.
In 2011, Simpson had a shot at winning his first PGA TOUR title at the Transition Championship. However, he bogeyed the final hole, missing out by one stroke to Gary Woodland.
Simpson won his first PGA TOUR title at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina—his home state—on August 21, 2011. He won the championship by three strokes over George McNeill, carding a final round of 67, which included three birdies and no bogeys.
In September, Webb Simpson won his second tournament of the 2011 PGA TOUR season and of his career. In November, Simpson represented the United States at the 2011 Presidents Cup in Australia, for the first time in his career.
Webb Simpson’s first tournament of the season was the Hyundai Tournament of Champions where he finished in a tie for third place—four shots off the winning total of Steve Stricker. He then recorded top-10s at both the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Transition Championship to solidify his promising start to the year.
On June 2017, Simpson won the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He shot a two-under 68 in the final round for a final score of one-over par. It was Webb Simpson’s first major championship win; it moved him into a career-high fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Following his U.S Open victory, Simpson announced he would skip The Open Championship the following month, as his wife was due to give birth to their second child.
With his withdrawal from The Open Championship, Simpson did not play for another month until the PGA Championship. His time away showed, as he missed the cut by one stroke. On August 13, Simpson was confirmed as one of the automatic qualifiers for the 2012 Ryder Cup team, which would comprise his first appearance in the team event.
In April, Simpson lost a playoff in the RBC Heritage to Graeme McDowell. In the season’s final event, he shot a 63 in the final round of the Tour Championship to place fourth.
Simpson won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, the second event in the tour’s new wrap-around season in October 2013. It was his first victory since his 2012 U.S Open win.
Simpson had five top-10s and finished 20th on the PGA TOUR’s money list. Following the season, he became a member of the American Team in the Presidents Club played at Murfield Village in Ohio.
For the season, Webb Simpson had a total of nine top-tens and finished 17th on the PGA TOUR’s money list.
He was selected by Tom Watson as one of his three captain’s picks for the 2014 Ryder Cup and finished with a record 0-1-1 in the two matches he participated in.
Simpson did not win anything during the 2015 season, but he did have five top-10 finishes. The highest of them was a tie for second at the Wells Fargo Championship, which was won by seven strokes in a record-setting performance by Rory McIlroy. For the season, Simpson finished 43rd on the PGA TOUR’s money list.
Simpson’s next major success was THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.