Sep 02, 2018: THE PLAYERS champion Webb Simpson would have dreaded the idea of putting from well off the green not so long ago.
But having shed his demons at TPC Sawgrass after years of battling the aftermath of the anchoring rule earlier this season Simpson embraced it on his final hole of the second round at TPC Boston.
The result? Simpson nailed a 71-foot, four-inch eagle from well off the putting surface to shoot a stunning 8-under 63 and take the 36-hole lead at 11 under in the Dell Technologies Championship.
“I was excited and you just kind of laugh at those, because you’re not trying to make them, you’re just trying to get them close,” Simpson said.
“Those moments are always fun on the last hole. Honestly, it brings back the 2011 memories, making a couple of putts when I won. Just a great atmosphere out there.”
Simpson did indeed salute in the 2011 version of the event – taking down Chez Reavie in a playoff after making some clutch putts in both regulation and extra holes.
But back then he was anchoring his long putter – the style that would also help him to the 2012 U.S. Open title.
In fact he had ranked inside the top 53 players for Strokes Gained: Putting from his debut year in 2009 through the 2014 season with a high mark of 15th.
Now that he has reverted to a short putter and come through a dark few years (he plummeted to 174th in 2015 and 177th in 2016) Simpson is once again rolling the rock well.
He entered this week sixth on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting and he sits second in the field through 36 holes at TPC Boston gaining 4.909 shots on the greens.
With that taken care of Simpson says he wants to remain amongst the elite in the world rankings for a long time to come.
“I’ve got back in the top-20 in the world (currently 17th) and I want to stay here,” he said.
“I don’t want to just have a couple of good years and have it go away for two years. There are a few guys that are always top-10 in the world. I want to do that. I want to stay consistently good as a golfer.”
Starting the event ninth in the FedExCup standings Simpson projects to first with a win.