Monday April 2, 2012
Augusta, Ga--Picture this scenario. You're on the 18th green at Augusta National, a four foot putt for birdie, and the green jacket on the line. Now, imagine the same scenario, except you're 12 years old. Webb Simpson's lived it, except for the green jacket part. That's a part of the story he hopes will come true in the next few days.
"it's a course i first played when i was 12. That was when the scotty cameron twirling putters came out, and i walked in the shop and asked my dad if i could get one. He said, 'if you break 76 today, i'll get you the putter.' said Webb Simpson
The just 12-year-old simpson was 8-over coming to 18 at Augusta National, so there was no way he was breaking 76, but he got an ultimatum.
"He tells me if i birdie it, he'll give me the putter. So i hit driver, 3-wood to the sunday pin, about four feet, and i miss."
He got the putter anyway, but for the now 26-year-old, that's a putt he's confident he can attone for now that it matters most.
"I still think about that putt that i missed for that putter, even though i got the putter. The next time i played was eight years later when i was 20. I shot eight strokes better, 72."
The pressure involved in sinking a putt like that is something simpson has learned to deal with in the past year. Two wins and three major appearances, but never an official trip to the Masters, and he knows that a different animal.
"if i'm in contention, i'm sure the pressure is going to be, you know, far beyond what i feel at a normal pga tour event.
The fact of the matter...It's been 31 years since a masters rookie has won the tournament. Most don't have Simpson's experience with the course, though, and his largest area of confidence are those same greens where he, as a 12-year-old, fell apart.
"You know, those are the type of greens I grew up, bentgreens, and so when i go, i feel really comfortable. I putted really well there the rounds i played. I do feel really comfortable on those greens, and hopefully i can make some putts."
And if it's from four feet with the green jacket on the line, don't count on history repeating itself.