Webb Simpson entered THE PLAYERS 2018 in search of his first win on the PGA TOUR in over four years. The then four-time TOUR champion was hungry to get back in the winner’s circle. He was certainly on the right track, with three top-5 finishes in his 2017-18 season heading into THE PLAYERS.
Off the golf course, however, Simpson was dealing with the personal and emotional challenges that come with losing a loved one. Simpson father, Sam – whom he called his hero – had recently passed away in November 2017 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia. Sam’s passing gave Simpson “the motivation to work really hard.”
One thing Sam preached to his son was to always “keep persevering.” Simpson kept those words close to his heart as he prepared to take on the Stadium Course in May of 2018.
Simpson began the championship with a first-round 66, his lowest career score in 25 rounds at THE PLAYERS, and finished the day tied for the lead with five others.
“It's a really cool event with a lot of history, and I think it's just as hard to win as a major because you've got the best players in the world here, maybe a better field than any tournament, and then last few holes there's trouble lurking,” Simpson said in an interview after his first round. “I want to play well here. You know, just like any other tournament, but this is a special one. This is our tournament.”
He continued his outstanding play into Friday, tying the course record of 63 and also tying the 36-hole scoring record at 15-under. Simpson’s five-shot lead through 36 holes became the largest in THE PLAYERS history.
Simpson’s record-setting streak continued on moving day, where he fired a 68 to tie the 54-hole scoring record and extend his lead to seven strokes, the largest 54-hole lead in THE PLAYERS history. Simpson had not only conquered the Stadium Course; he had outplayed the best field in the game. Championship Sunday for Webb Simpson was certainly more relaxed, and with a final-round of 73, he secured THE PLAYERS 2018 title to capture his fifth PGA TOUR victory and became the sixth player to win THE PLAYERS, a major and a FedExCup Playoffs event.
“Man, it means everything to me. I feel like it's my first win,” Simpson said during his post-win press conference. “You know, we train hard and practice hard to try to win, and so -- there's been some tough moments along the way, as I've shared with you guys this week, but to come here against this field and put up some good numbers the first three days and do what I needed to do today to get it done, I'm so happy.”