Much of the attention for the 2012 U.S. Open Championship went to local-legend Tiger Woods and his career comeback attempt, some of it went to 17-year old phenom Beau Hossler and his improbable run, and the rest probably went to the difficulty of the course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco as no competitors managed to stay under par on the weekend.
Yet, Webb Simpson managed to quietly fly under the radar and end up winning the tournament with a 1-over par on the tournament, and in doing so he captured his first career major in only his fifth appearance in one.
Simpson joined WFNZ in Charlotte, N.C. with The Drive, to share a little bit about his experience at the Open, the course at the Olympic Club, and what it means for him going forward in his career. He also talked about Tiger Woods, because of course they asked him about Tiger Woods. Thanks to SportsRadioInterviews for transcribing the interesting interview.
When did the thought creep first creep into your mind that you could win the U.S. Open?:
"I didn't look at the board until I was done putting on 18. I just didn't think it could help me in any way. I never had a thought that I can't win, but I didn't expect to win this early. I've only played in four majors prior, so more than anything I was just looking to gain experience through the week. I found myself there on the back nine in contention, so I figured I better take advantage of it because it doesn't come often."
Did it help that you were coming from back in the pack on Saturday and Sunday so there wasn't a lot of added pressure?:
"I think so. Playing in a final group would have certainly been a lot more pressure I think, just given the circumstances and the pressure surrounding that in itself. I figured being the fourth-to-last group was a great place for me to be because I'm close to the leaders, but I'm far enough ahead where I can make some birdies and make some noise and put a little pressure on them coming in."
Do you think there's something wrong with Tiger Woods' game, perhaps psychologically, or is it there and he's just got to put it together?:
"I think he gets so much criticism when he doesn't win, but the fact is he's won two huge tournaments this year already. ... I have so much respect for the guy. He's won 14 majors and I've only won one and having gone through what I did yesterday, I realize that winning 14 is far more spectacular than I thought. But his game's there. I think the game is so competitive right now that it's harder to win now than ever. I think he's going to win a lot more."
How much harder was that course compared to the courses you play week-in and week-out?:
"It's so much harder. Everything about it is harder. The greens are firm and fast, the rough's up, the fairways are firm. And Olympic's such a great venue because there's one fairway bunker on the whole golf course, I'm pretty sure, and no water hazards to speak of really, that come into play. You take a golf course with no water hazards and one bunker and it's that hard, you know you've got a fair, tough test in front of you. It was a course where you can make birdies, but also if you didn't think about where you were trying to place your approach shot, you could make bogeys and doubles so quickly."
Check out more from the interview at SportsRadioInterviews.