As former European Tour Director Ken Schofield said on Live From on Golf Channel following the U.S. Open’s Final Round coverage- “The American Juggernaut is on a roll, “ with Webb Simpson being the latest from our star spangled and striped nation to hoist a major championship trophy. Webb’s win was preceded by Bubba Watson when he murdered an albatross to win the Masters, and slowpoke cross-eyed Keegan Bradley as he won the PGA Championship last August over big dipping Jason Dufner. Throw in Matt Kuchar’s win at the PLAYERS Championship, where his smile would’ve made Stuart Smalley proud, and American golf suddenly is peaking at the right time in a Ryder Cup year. But, before we capitalize USA! USA!, Webb Simpson deserves some serious due.

All jokes aside (other than the one that this random photobomber tried to drop on Webb before he hilariously was told by Webb to “Enjoy the Jail Cell pal”), Webb Simpson can flat out play. He’s the shot-making all around birdie machine who you can’t find anything about him to hate. He’s like that one episode of Seinfeld where Jerry breaks up with this girl because she’s “too good” (he got her phone number off an AIDS walk list, and she had a closet full of Today sponges- yep, you remember that one). Webb is chalk full of non-stop genuine smiles on the outside, but on the inside is filled with grit and birdie juice that flows out directly through the end of his belly putter. Call it more than a bit ironic that the first U.S. Open played after the USGA’s “official review” of belly putters was won by….a belly putter (counting Keegan’s win at the PGA last year, it’s 2 out of the last 3 majors now won by a belly- you can guarantee that won’t go unnoticed). Belly putter talk aside, those blue-blooded USGA gooses will be talking about Webb for reasons other than the flatstick that sticks into his gut. The Southern kid can flat out play.

Everyone handles wins and losses differently. For some players, it defines their careers (think Johnny Miller and his round-the-clock I-shot-63-in-the-final-round-at-Oakmont-and-you-didn’t) and for others, well it defines their careers in the wrong way (think Sergio and his playing against more-than-the-field meltdown at the ’07 British Open). For Webb, I can flat out tell you that I don’t think that this win will change him one bit. He’s still going to be the aw-shucks young smiley Southern guy who says please and thank you more than anyone on Tour. He’s still going to be known for his belly putter, his flowing golden locks, his open spirituality and how his name randomly has two b’s in it, and most of us will refer to or think of him as U.S. Open Champion Webb Simpson, but for Webb, it won’t change him a bit (in a good way). He will always be just Webb. And for him, that’s a good thing.

Joel Harrington