Guest post by: Tour Pro Insider
As The Olympic Club in San Francisco says goodbye to the US Open for a fifth time, the world’s leading golfers jump back aboard their NetJets and onto the next Tour event knowing that the challenge ahead will be less severe, but the rewards nowhere near as great. For 2012 US Open Champion, Webb Simpson, the journey is sure to be a sweet one.
With two rounds of 68 over the weekend, the 26-year-old from North Carolina captured the second Major of the year by one shot from Michael Thompson and Graeme McDowell.
All the pre-tournament hype was about accuracy off the tee, so that the small, firm, well-guarded Olympic Club greens could be attacked from the fairway. Webb Simpson finished 14th in driving accuracy hitting just over 55% of the fairways with a Titleist 909 D3 driver in the bag.
Webb plays with a fairly old school set of clubs. Whilst most Titleist players, including fourth placed Jason Dufner (who led the GIR stats for the week), have turned to the 910 driver model, Webb still plays the 2008 version. His Titleist 680 MB forged blades are an even older 2003 model, with Webb finishing 21st in GIR hitting just over 58%.
These stats certainly don’t jump off the page at you but when you consider that Webb currently leads the PGA Tour Putting Average, with even a half decent tee-to-green week, he’s likely to feature high on the leaderboard. The 2005 model PING G5i Craz E Belly putter fits well into Webb’s antiquated bag.
Second placed Graeme McDowell, who currently leads the PGA Tour in driving accuracy with his Cleveland Classic driver, proved his 2010 victory was no fluke. Missing out on a play-off by one shot this year, G-Mac was 12th in fairways hit, but had to rely heavily on his Cleveland 588 wedge throughout the week as his iron game was a little off. Using the same Cleveland wedge, David Toms who tied 4th, led the sand saves stat.
Tiger Woods looked almost unbeatable over the first two days and the stats back that up. He was 7th in both GIR and Fairways hit playing Nike VR irons and woods.
Even more impressive was Justin Rose’s tee-to-green performance. He was 2nd in GIR using the popular Taylor Made TP MB irons and 3rd in fairways with his Taylor Made R11 driver in the bag. The fact that both Tiger and Justin finished down the leaderboard in 21st position suggests Sean Foley’s golf swing philosophy may not extend into the short game.
With the 3rd Major now less than a month away the focus is already shifting towards a small corner of North West England as Royal Lytham & St Annes prepares to host the 141st Open Championship.
The same NetJets will be touching down at Manchester Airport but the four day test is likely to be a very different one with Mother Nature having a big part to play. Finding fairways, hitting greens and a hot putter will again be key and come Sunday night the Champion Golfer of the Year will have got the most out of all 14 clubs in his bag and I for one, cannot wait.
The Tour Pro Insider attends all the major PGA & European Tour events, getting an ‘inside the ropes’ view of professional golf. Follow him on twitter @TourProInsider for the latest updates or visit www.tourprogolfclubs.com for a full run-down of the clubs used by the world’s top golfers.