Friday 27 April 2018

Webb's desire for revenge made him text Watson at 4.30am

Webb Simpson
Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson was the last player picked by Tom Watson for the US Ryder Cup team and the last player to speak at the pre-event media conferences. But he was the first of the visitors to express quite how badly he wants to avenge the heart-breaking defeat at Medinah two years ago.

Simpson even texted Watson in the middle of the night as the captain was finalising his wild-card picks to beg for his place on the team and a chance of redemption.

"I made my final plea," Simpson explained. "I told him I want revenge for what happened in 2012 and I really, really want to be on the team."

Though Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, and Bubba Watson, now a double Masters champion, formed a strong partnership as America built a four-point lead going into the singles at Medinah, Simpson was defeated by Ian Poulter early on as the Englishman inspired a miracle comeback.

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"It was more a shock than anything else," Simpson recalled of a traumatic debut in the transatlantic contest.

"We just believed it was going to be our week. For me personally, I can't play this week without thinking about the way it felt to lose last time.

"It's not the defeat that motivates me necessarily, just how much we want to win. Every time Medinah comes up, I see them celebrating and I just want that so badly for our team. Two years is a long time to wait," he added. "I wanted to be on this team to try to get back to the moment where we could perform better on the Sunday."

Simpson called it an honour to be picked as a wild card by an eight-time Major champion. But it was a controversial call with Chris Kirk just having won in Boston and, if the decision had come two weeks later, FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel would have been a shoo-in. Having flown from Boston to Denver for his next tournament, and knowing that two of the picks had gone to Hunter Mahan and Keegan Bradley, Simpson lay awake in bed unable to sleep.

His text to Watson, who was in New York to make the announcement, initially got a non-committal response. "This is a tough decision, Webb," Watson texted.

But half an hour later, Watson phoned. "He asked why I should be on the team and at 4.30 in the morning and laying in bed it was a tough question," said Simpson. "I just told him of my passion for the Ryder Cup from my one experience, how much I cared about it and what I believed I could bring to the team."

Irish Independent

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