DUBLIN, OHIO – As he walked up the hill to the 18th green at Muirfield Village Saturday afternoon, his name having appeared on the bottom of the Memorial Tournament leader board, Webb Simpson could hear the hole announcer detail his career achievements that include two Ryder Cup appearances and two Presidents Cup appearances.
This week, Simpson was not on the invite list for potential Ryder Cup players who were asked to stop by for uniform fittings for the fall matches at Hazeltine. No surprise, Simpson said, acknowledging his flat form in recent months.
“So that’s a motivation,” said Simpson, who shot 66 Saturday to move into the edge of contention in Sunday’s final round of the Memorial Tournament.
Simpson posted his first top-10 finish of the year last week when he finished third at the Dean & Deluca Invitational and his good roll has continued at Muirfield Village.
Prior to his good week at Colonial, Simpson was 145th in FedEx Cup points, strange territory for the 2012 U.S. Open champion. He hasn’t panicked, however.
Muscle spasms slowed Simpson early this year and he and his wife, Dowd, welcomed their fourth child three weeks ago.
Then there’s the issue of putting. Simpson abandoned his anchored putting style in 2015, a year before the anchoring ban went into effect but he had a sluggish season.
After missing the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship where he lives on the seventh hole at Quail Hollow Club, Simpson went looking for an answer. He found it in an Odyssey putter that he braces against his forearm much like Matt Kuchar does.
Whether it’s love or just a brief infatuation, it’s too soon to know but Simpson looks like his old self again.
“I tried it last fall and didn’t like it. I tried it for literally 10 minutes. I picked it up after I missed the cut in Charlotte and it felt different, it felt better,” Simpson said.
It may not be enough to get Simpson on his third straight Ryder Cup team but he knows there is plenty of time – and three major championships – to turns things around.
“I definitely want to make the team but I don’t put the kind of urgency pressure on myself because I’ve never operated well when I’ve felt like I had to go out and do something,” Simpson said. “If I take a step back and just think about trying to get better…like last week, I had no expectations and just stayed patient and had a great week.”