Webb Simpson earned $1.98 million for his blowout victory at the Players Championship last week, more than all he made for the entire 2016 season.
Simpson’s caddie, Paul Tesori, joined the Golf Digest Podcast this week and said he was largely to blame for Simpson’s lackluster year. Simpson was one of several players who used the broom-style putters with an anchored stroke ahead of the 2016 ban, and Tesori thought it would be a good idea to go to a traditional putting stroke a year early.
The idea was that Simpson would get a jump on things and settle in with the new technique once the ban became official entering the 2016 season.
“We went in a year early, which was my call, and that cost us at least $5 million because (in 2016) I think he finished third in ball-striking and only made about $1.5 million,” Tesori said on the podcast. “We went in and looked at his average putting stroke throughout his career and if he had an average putting year he would have been second on the Ryder Cup list, he would have won a couple tournaments and he would have made about $6 million.”
Simpson finished 177th on Tour in strokes gained: putting and fourth in strokes gained: approach-the-green in 2016, so Tesori is correct that the head start did very little to help him.
“I was like, ‘Webb, you’re welcome buddy,” Tesori said. “Anything else you need, just let me know.’”
Simpson was 34th in strokes gained: putting in 2014, the year before he switched to the traditional putting stroke.
The 2012 U.S. Open champion earned his fifth career win at the Players and first since 2014. He’s now ranked fifth in strokes gained: putting this season and the victory propelled him to ninth in Ryder Cup points, one spot behind Phil Mickelson and currently on the bubble ahead of the 2018 matches in Paris.