'Steep little pop' helps land Simpson a major title


SAN FRANCISCO – Of all the shots Webb Simpson hit on a 68-68 weekend at The Olympic Club it will be the testing chip across the hill at the 18th hole that will be engraved into U.S. Open lore. It’s a shot that he likely couldn’t have hit a week ago.

The twisting downhill chip was complicated by a thick lie in the rough that Simpson’s caddie Paul Tesori figured was an old sprinkler head that had been overgrown.

“Probably, one out of five at best (to get the ball up and down at the 18th),” Tesori said. “It was the worst lie I’ve ever seen. You would have called someone cheating if they would have given you that lie in competition. He could have chipped it down the fairway 30 yards.”

Tesori said Simpson added the shot – a steep, wristy pop – to his repertoire this week because of the thick Open rough and the eventual champion struggled with the chip a first. But on Sunday, when it counted, it worked, with Simpson rolling the chip to 4 feet and converting what turned out to be the winning par putt.

“He played last year’s U.S. Open, it was his first Open, but it was more like a Tour event. This was the real deal and you had to create that shot,” Tesori said. “We started working on it this week and put it in play here. He had no other shot. Steep little pop.”