Simpsons are just wild about Wyndham

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2014, 12:02 am

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Any questions about where the Wyndham Championship ranks on Webb Simpson’s priority list can be answered by his daughter’s birth certificate.

Simpson is a crowd favorite at Sedgefield Country Club, and deservedly so. A native of Raleigh, he went to school at nearby Wake Forest and now calls Charlotte home, which means that nearly the entire state of North Carolina has at least one reason to root for him.

Add in the fact that his first PGA Tour win came in Greensboro in 2011, a three-shot victory that occurred 10 months before his U.S. Open breakthrough at Olympic.

Then there’s the newest addition to the Simpson clan, a daughter born in May – named Wyndham Rose.

Yep, this is more than a typical Tour stop for Simpson, and he played like it Thursday, carding a 6-under 64 to move within a shot of the first-round lead.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, videos and photos


“Just played good, solid golf today. One of my favorite rounds,” he said. “I felt like I was in control of my ball for the first time in a few weeks, since The Greenbrier. That was nice.”

Simpson started hot, with birdies on his first four holes and five of his first seven. He grabbed a share of the lead after curling his tee shot at the par-3 12th to within 4 feet of the hole, and despite a dropped shot at No. 17 he remains near the top of the leaderboard.

It’s a familiar position for Simpson around these parts. Since 2010, he has finished no worse than T-22 at Sedgefield, including his maiden win.

“The course is just similar in the way it shapes, and the hills and undulating greens, to what I grew up playing,” he said. “I really see the tee shots well, where like Akron I don’t see the tee shots that well. I don’t see the lines that well. Guys feel that way about certain courses out here.”

That may be true, but most Tour players don’t name their children after tournament sponsors. Simpson did, in part to honor the event that helped propel him onto a path toward becoming a major champion. His wife, Dowd, said she didn’t need convincing on the name, and that the idea came from family friend Bobby Long, chairman of the Piedmont Triad Charitable Foundation in Greensboro.

“We were sitting outside Augusta National, and Bobby came over and we were talking baby names,” she said. “We thought, ‘Oh, if you win the Masters, then we’ll name the child Augusta.’ Then we missed the cut, so Augusta was quickly crossed off the list.

“Then Bobby said, ‘Why not Wyndham?’ And Webb and I both went, ‘I love that name.’”

Simpson gave some of the credit for the naming process to the couple’s first two children.

“We had three names as a possibility,” he said. “We would say to our son, James, and daughter, Willow, ‘Which name do you like?’ They kept saying Wyndham. All right, y’all pick. We named her Wyndham.”

Simpson added that part of the name’s inspiration came from Arnold Palmer’s wife, Winnie. Like Simpson, Palmer played at Wake Forest, and Simpson’s father got to know Palmer’s wife before her death in 1999.

“We love the name Winnie as a nickname,” he said. “Maybe when she gets older she might change it. That’s how it came about.”

Etymology aside, Simpson continues to thrive at Sedgefield. It’s a venue where he continues to perform well, in contrast to the consistency that has marked his career. This season he has a win in Las Vegas to go along with three third-place finishes, but he has also missed the cut in three of the four majors and has only one top-25 finish from his last six starts.

“Buddy of mine texted me about persevering and not pressing, and I have a tendency to press to try to make things happen,” he said. “I’ve had multiple times in my career where I won’t be playing well for a couple months, but I know I’m doing the right stuff and I’ve just got to stay patient.”

After missing out on an automatic qualifying spot for the Ryder Cup team, Simpson has made clear his desire to be one of captain Tom Watson’s three picks on Sept. 2. After Tiger Woods withdrew from consideration Wednesday, Simpson began play in Greensboro with the belief that his prospects for Gleneagles had increased overnight.

“As for me and my chances to be a pick, it’s greater now,” he said. “I think he was going to be a pick if he was able to play. So yeah, it opens up, I feel like, another spot that wasn’t there before.”

Simpson hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation during the opening round, his lone bogey coming when a 3-foot putt hit a spike mark. After he missed the cut last week at Valhalla, his game once again appeared effortless upon returning to a course where he has thrived before.

Perhaps that’s all it took.

“It’s just kind of no matter how you’re playing coming into certain weeks, you feel like you can play well,” he said. “That’s kind of like how I feel here.”

Getty Images

Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

Getty Images

Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.


Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

That forced him to think differently for the back nine and he was rewarded with three birdies.

''It was quite funny really,'' Southgate said. ''We birdied the ninth and I walked off and said to my caddie Gary ... 'We've just shot level par, so let's just pretend that we've made nine solid pars and that we haven't holed a putt and haven't made a birdie. Let's just start again on the 10th'.''

The 32-year-old Guerrier started his round with a monster 48-foot birdie putt and had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

Getty Images

J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

Australian golfer Hannah Green moved into second place after the round of the day, a 66.

Green, 21, is seeking to become the first Australian to claim her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Webb, who is playing a part-time schedule in 2018, missed the cut Friday by one stroke.

Green birdied her first three holes on Saturday and then added two more on the eighth and ninth. Two more birdies followed on the back nine with her only dropped shot a bogey on the 17th.


Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


"I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

"It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut, but I know she has got different plans."

South Korea's Hyejin Choi (70), was tied for third, five strokes behind. Australia's top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee was tied for fifth after a 69, six off the lead.

Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot a 71 and was eight strokes behind.

"It's always nice to be able to start the season on a good note, and I've obviously got tomorrow," Lydia Ko said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to finish off on a high note."

Getty Images

Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

They were at 7-under 135.

Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue. He had three holes remaining in his second round. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole for a 68 and was one shot behind at 136.

Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.


Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

''All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence,'' McDowell said.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.