When 96 AJGA juniors attended players’ registration on Monday, August 15 they were asked the trivia question, “How many FedEx Cup points does Webb Simpson have?” Little did many of these players know that the PGA TOUR player, who sits with 1,361 FedEx Cup Points, would be hanging out with them at the social activity later that week.
North Carolina native, Webb Simpson made an appearance at the Webb Simpson Junior Championship to interact with some of the AJGA juniors who are participating in the tournament at Tanglewood Park’s Championship Course this week. The juniors and Webb set out Tuesday and went head-to-head in an obstacle putting challenge.
Webb not only competed with the juniors throughout the activity but also wouldn’t hesitate to strike up conversation or challenge the players in a putting competition at any time. Simpson opened up many opportunities for parents, spectators and staff to chat and hang out with him throughout the afternoon. During the putting challenge Webb enjoyed dishing out friendly fire to the juniors participating while each of them was able to respond right back.
“He is a great player and you wouldn’t have expected him to be as nice to you as one of your friends would be on the golf course, but he was extremely nice,” said Mitchell Schneider of Charlotte, N.C.
Not only did these juniors get the chance to hang out with a professional golfer, but Webb Simpson’s success is at a peak, where he currently is 14th on the money list. His easy-going personality made it even more enjoyable as he treated every junior as a friend. At one point in Webb’s golf career he was also concerned more about Performance Based Entry like today’s juniors, but he now stands tall among the world’s best golfers. With 12 top-10 PGA TOUR career finishes and currently sitting 12th in the FedEx Cup standings, Webb’s welcoming demeanor and modesty established a bond with all the juniors that crossed his path. As a former AJGA player, Webb can relate to the juniors who spend the majority of their summer on the links.
Schneider was one of many juniors that attended the social activity and appreciated the time spent with Webb during the putting competition.
“Webb is really nice and it was really cool that he actually spent his time putting with us,” said Schneider. “The social activity took a little bit of the pressure off of all of us and gave us a break; even though we were still practicing it helped us out.”
The social activity was a time for the players to break away and enjoy the company of a PGA TOUR player while practicing their putting.
Webb and the juniors played two rounds of the obstacle putting challenge. Davis Womble of High Point, N.C., and Jonathan DiIanni of Kernersville, N.C., competed against Webb in the final round and won the challenge.
“It was fun to compete against Webb and hang out because he was very social with all of us,” DiIanni said. “Davis and I won the first round, then won the second round when we played against Mr. Simpson. It was a lot of fun to see him putt and interact with the other players.”
Webb’s AJGA career was defined by his win at the 2001 Rolex Tournament of Champions (where the photo above was taken). He was a four-time, first-team Rolex Junior All-American and a three-time Wyndham Cup participant. Webb went on to attend Wake Forest University and was a three-time All -American and the ACC Player of the Year in 2008 before he turned professional in June of that year.
Simpson will be participating in the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club this week. There’s no doubt that he now has many more fans in the AJGA who will be rooting him on.
- by Denae Olberding, AJGA Communications