Sam's Commentary

May 14, 2018 Commentary Archive

Best "Feel Good" Win At THE PLAYERS

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted May 14, 2018 ===========================================================================

There's nothing like a feel good story in sports. And in American sports, the comeback, feel good story is always the best.

We've had all kinds of winners at THE Players Championship. Household names like Jack and Tiger, hometown champions in Mark McCumber and David Duval, and unlikely names on the trophy like Stephen (Ames) and Tim (Clark).

But never a real "feel good" story like Webb Simpson. Nuts and bolts, he won at 18-under par, despite making double-bogey on the 72nd hole. He tied the course record of 63 looked in control the whole time. He's now one of seven players to have held both The Players crystal and the US Open trophy in their career. He also completes an American sweep of the Majors and the Players, Not done since Tiger Woods held all five.

All from a guy who was about a half a step from quitting golf completely. Simpson had success in his professional career, winning on the PGA Tour and US Open. He found a way to get the ball in the hole and win, despite not being exceptionally long and using a "belly" putter. When that style form of putting was outlawed, his golfing fortunes began to sink.

"You know, I think I had been a pro for eight years, seven years, and you get used to playing at a level that you know you're capable of, and then for -- you go a year or two years playing below that capability, and it starts to get at you," Simpson said Sunday. "And I actually think it's easier to work hard when you're playing well. So it made working hard and staying positive and present that much harder."

Noting the support he had from his "team" Webb admitted there were nights at the dinner table with his wife that he'd be in tears, ready to give up golf completely. But her encouragement, as well as his relationship with his caddy Paul Tesori kepts him going. Ironically, it was a disagreement with Tesori on the course that convinced him what he needed to do to get better.

Yeah, the lowest point ended up being the turning point. It was 2016 at Barclays at Bethpage Black," he explained. "I thought I missed the cut by one. I ended up making the cut. But Paul and I got in an argument on the golf course, and it was just frustration pent up in both of us. We go sit in my car for about an hour. I'm so frustrated, I'm over it, and he is, too, and he kind of encouraged me to really do something about it. So call certain guys who maybe have struggled, try out different putters. I was pretty stubborn. I wanted to go conventional as conventional can get, so I just started trying different things and became a lot more open minded."

Talks with a numerous players about their putting styles and how they came to use them were instrumental in Simpson finding something that worked for him. That "open minded" attitude allowed him to take a lesson from Tim Clark a year ago at the 2017 Players and switch to the "claw grip" with a Matt Kuchar style putter-up-the-arm stroke.

He couldn't go back to belly putting because it was illegal, and he couldn't go back to that putter either since he broke it in half to stave off temptation.

"My wife is in the driveway pulling out with the kids," as he tells the story. "And I tell her this, and I see my bag in the garage, and I see the belly putter, and for whatever reason I had an urge to just break it. And so I go over there and snap it over my knee, and I'm on the way to throw it in the trash can, and she tells me I'd better hang on to it, it's been pretty good to me. So I put it in my trophy case, both pieces."

Admitting he putted better in THE Players than he ever had, even Johnny Miller noted a "Tom Watson" like decision make and execution process on the greens. After talking it over with Tesori, looking it over, studying and stepping away, Simpson takes a practice stroke and hits it. No standing over it forever.

At this point, Simpson's relationship with Tesori is well documented. Paul's history in his hometown, his family's story, his steadfast faith and faith in Simpson all are part of this feel good story. Webb even calls Tesori "The Mayor."

"Paul has been just a great friend through all this, a great coworker," Simpson said in the post match press conference. "(He) is such a great caddie with such a great resume that I never thought once that he would quit and go work for somebody else.

"But through that, I expected him to be frustrated at times, and he never was. He never got frustrated. He stayed positive on my worst days. He would try to give me a pep talk. I think to go through that, you need someone more than a caddie, you need a friend, and he definitely was that for me."

Add to all that with final Players win on Mother's Day, just six months after Simpson lost his father. Webb's dad is the person who introduced him to the game, to a rare disease.

"I thought about him all day," Simpson said when asked about his dad. "I think it's been an emotional week for my mom and sisters and my brother. We miss him like crazy, but I really wanted to do this for my mom. She's been praying for me a lot."

Hard to get a better "feel good" story than that.


Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

05-12-2018 - Simpson (with Tesori) In Command At THE PLAYERS
05-11-2018 - Easy? Hard? Round 1 Of The Players Was Both
05-08-2018 - THE PLAYERS To March: A Good Move
05-08-2018 - Players Says "Adapt" To THE PLAYERS In March
05-08-2018 - A Bike Ride In The Tennessee Mountains
04-27-2018 - Anatomy Of A Pick: Jaguars Take Bryan At 29
04-23-2018 - Jaguars Draft is Wide Open
04-18-2018 - Poz Shows How To Retire
04-09-2018 - Masters Memories: Sam's 40 Years At Augusta
04-09-2018 - At The Masters In Augusta, It's Emotional
04-05-2018 - Coughlin: Same Guy, Different Role
03-20-2018 - Tiger Exceeds The Hype, Comes Back To Earth
03-14-2018 - Tiger's Back At Bay Hill
03-13-2018 - Jeff Klauk Back On The Course
02-07-2018 - Signing Day Still A Big Deal
02-05-2018 - No Sure Thing In The Pro Football Hall Of Fame
02-03-2018 - The Argument For Tony Boselli
02-02-2018 - What Are Tony Boselli's Chances? Inside The Hall Of Fame Process
01-23-2018 - Jaguars Pain Is Real, Because They Earned It
01-21-2018 - Heartbreaking Loss In AFC Championship Ends Jaguars Season
01-21-2018 - Jaguars In NE: "We're Ready To Go"
01-21-2018 - Respect For The Jaguars? We Don't Care, We Live Here
01-19-2018 - Telvin Smith Brings Talent, Heart
01-18-2018 - Tom Mcmanus Says The Jaguars Will Win
01-18-2018 - Hard Work No Stranger To Marrone
01-18-2018 - Marrone: Right Guy, Right Place, Right Time
01-17-2018 - Blake, Teammate, And That's How He Likes It
01-14-2018 - Jaguars Come Alive, Upset Steelers, Head To AFC Title Game
01-13-2018 - Jaguars In Pittsburgh, All Business
01-11-2018 - Jaguars To Play Eagles In London
01-07-2018 - Jaguars Beat Buffalo With Defense,"Grit"
01-05-2018 - Khan, "I'm very, very bullish on Jacksonville."
01-03-2018 - Boselli, Dawkins Finalists For 2018 Hall Of Fame
01-01-2018 - Marrone's Routine Stays The Same
01-01-2018 - Jaguars Home, Have Already Moved On
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Look Ahead To Playoffs
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Limp Into Playoffs
12-31-2017 - Jaguars Win AFC South, Lose Game, Poise In SF
12-17-2017 - Jaguars Dominate Texans 45-7, Qualify For Post-season
12-10-2017 - Jaguars Make Big Statement Beating Seattle, 30-24
12-03-2017 - Jaguars Sweep Colts, Eye Post-season
11-28-2017 - Mullen Is The New Gators Head Coach
11-26-2017 - Jaguars Falter, Lose To AZ, 27-21
11-24-2017 - Boselli's Chances For The Hall? Pretty Good
11-22-2017 - Boselli, Dawkins, Butler Among Hall Of Fame Semifinalists
11-20-2017 - Jaguars Do Just Enough, Beat Browns 19-7
11-12-2017 - Unlike Previous Years, Jaguars Find A Way To Win 20-17 In OT
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10-30-2017 - McElwain Departure "It's Never Pretty"
10-26-2017 - Telvin Smith New Deal: Worth Every Penny
10-18-2017 - NFL, Khan, Players and Protest
10-16-2017 - Inconsistent Again, Jaguars Lose To Rams
10-08-2017 - Jaguars Real Selves? Dominate Steelers 30-9
10-01-2017 - Jaguars Models Of Inconsistency, Fall To Jets In OT
09-24-2017 - Jaguars Kneel, Lock Arms With Khan In Show Of "Solidarity"
09-24-2017 - Jaguars Rout Ravens in London
09-24-2017 - Jaguars To Use "Home" Field Advantage vs. Ravens
09-22-2017 - Jaguars Say London Trip Is Pretty Routine
09-17-2017 - Jaguars 2017 Look Like Jaguars 2016 vs. Titans
09-13-2017 - Fournette Works In Relief Effort
09-13-2017 - Jaguars, Khan Help In Relief Effort
09-12-2017 - Jaguars Workout In Houston, Thinking Of Home
09-11-2017 - Jaguars Notes From Houston
09-10-2017 - Jaguars Don't Just Win, They Dominate Texans
09-01-2017 - Jaguars Decisions: Not Just "The 53"
08-23-2017 - Quarterback Decision Can Wait
08-18-2017 - Jaguars Step Backwards vs. Bucs
08-17-2017 - Jaguars Need A Big Step Forward vs. Bucs
08-10-2017 - Jaguars Better 1st Impression vs. Patriots
08-09-2017 - Bortles Better But Not Close To Brady
08-08-2017 - The PLAYERS In March Is The Right Fit
08-08-2017 - Jaguars/Patriots Practice: What It's Supposed To Look Like
08-07-2017 - Gipson Now Knows Tom Brady Is The Goat
08-05-2017 - Marrone's Jaguars Camp: Old Is New Again
07-28-2017 - Jaguars 2017: All About Blake
07-13-2017 - Kingfish Tournament Still Fishing
07-12-2017 - TPC Performance Center Will Make You Better
07-07-2017 - Players Is Big And Getting Bigger
06-29-2017 - Gators Baseball Win National Title
06-28-2017 - Gators Baseball National Champs
06-17-2017 - Bortles Knows This Is It
06-17-2017 - Marrone, Albert Lynchpins To Jaguars Success
06-10-2017 - Marrone Unimpressed In OTA's
05-24-2017 - Bortles On Being Bad, Better
05-15-2017 - Sunday Stroll For Si Woo Kim
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05-11-2017 - Malik Jackson At The Players: "It's Pretty Dope"
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05-09b-2017 - THE PLAYERS In May Or March Is Still Huge
05-09-2017 - GJO To The Players Is A Long Trip
04-29-2017 - Jaguars Take "Bama OL In 2nd Round
04-28-2017 - Jaguars Take Fournette: "Physical"
04-27-2017 - Past Is Prologue For The Jaguars Draft
04-22-2017 - Jaguars Draft 2017: Take The Best Player
04-21-2017 - Nothing Good In The Jags 2017 Schedule
03-31-2017 - Mt. Acosta Classic Is Something Special
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03-28-2017 - Khan "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
03-28-2017 - Coughlin "We Need A Culture Change"
03-26-2017 - NFL Owners Talk Player Safety, Shorter Games In Phoenix
03-19-2017 - Gators Swamp Virginia, Head To New York
03-19-2017 - FSU Can't Shoot, Loses To Xavier
03-14-2017 - DL3 In The HOF, Still Wants To Play
03-08-2017 - Jaguars Free-agency Preview: Plugging Holes
02-24-2017 - Shorter SpeedWeeks, Better Racing?
02-22-2017 - One Stop Sports Recovery (Now available to everybody)
02-07-2017 - The Case For Boselli In The Hall, And The Process It Entails
02-01-2017 - Coughlin Says Boselli "Should Be In The Hall Of Fame"
01-19-2017 - Hackett Stays As Jaguars OC
01-12-2017 - Coughlin, "Winning Is What It's All About"
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01-03-2017 - Boselli Makes Hall Of Fame Final 15
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