The Anchor


Cooper Benedict

D1 All- American at Wake Forest, 4-time PGA tour winner, 5 straight seasons in the top 20 on the PGA Tour Money list, and even 1 major championship by Webb Simpson. Yet, the ban of the belly putter changed Webb Simpson’s life on January 1st, 2016.

Webb Simpson, a top 10 ranked player in the world and a top 5 ranked putter on the PGA Tour, everything seems to be going right for Webb Simpson. Webb, along with many other guys, was famous for using a belly putting. Players could use a putter, longer than the average 34’, and anchor the putter on your stomach and then swing the putter by simply rocking your shoulders. Webb was one of the best golfers in the world, until on January 1st, 2016 the PGA of America decided to ban the use of a belly putter. Webb completely lost his game, having his worst season since he was 24 in 2016, finishing 73rd on the money list. A top golfer in the world who seemed to only be leading up to his prime, had fallen off all because of a putter.

Webb had to try everything to try and find his putting and get it back to where it once was. It seemed every week that Webb was trying a new putter and a new style of putting, yet nothing seemed to be working. Consistently missing cuts, and not competing to win anymore became a weekly occurrence for the former major champion just 4 year before. Webb seemed to be a lost cause, or did he?

Along came a new idea from Webb’s caddie longtime caddie, Paul Tesori, in 2016. Webb talked about how his lowest point ended being what was his turning point. The 2016 Barclays at Bethpage Black ended in an argument between Tesori and Webb on the course because of the continued struggles from Webb and what was thought to be another missed cut. It was after the round when Webb and Tesori were sitting in his car that they decided something must be done about it. While Webb did not start putting better immediately, it ultimately opened his mind to new ideas and methods, which eventually brought him to a specialized designed putter from Odyssey. Little did they know that the 40’ inch black and blue Odyssey Tank V- Line Cruiser would be the answer.

Webb gradually started to play better every week and finished 2nd in a playoff at TPC Scottsdale in 2017. This seemed to be a shining moment of comeback for the former top 5 player in the world, but in fact his putting was still not completely right. Webb decided to break his famous belly putter, which at this point was no banned, in 2017 after his runner up finish. While this may seem strange to do because Webb was not even using it, the point was to resist the temptation to ever use it again. He hung the broken putter up in his trophy case right next to his 2012 US Open. It was after this Webb began to explode.

Webb’s hard work and countless attempts to find a putter suddenly completely clicked in 2018 at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Webb tore up the course by shooting a course record, 270 (-18), after four round and running away with the tournament and winning what is known as the “fifth major” by four shots. What ultimately won Webb this event was his putter. Webb picked up 2.432 strokes per round on the green with his new putter and method. The method is that Webb anchors his left forearm on the outside of the grip of the putter to eliminate the use of wrists and hands in his putting stroke. The putter has 7 degrees of loft to accommodate the forward press in the arm- lock/ anchor method.

“But to be honest with you guys, I’ve never putted this well in my life, and I think if I had stayed with the belly putter, I think I maybe averaged 35th to 60th every year in putting, so very average. This year I think I’m in the top 10. It’s funny how those things happen, but this is probably the first time I can say I’m glad they banned it, because I wouldn’t have ever probably swayed away from the belly putter.” Webb said after his big win at the 2018 Players Championship.

Today Webb is very glad that he did switch. Since 2018 Webb has become one of the best players in the world consistently because of his hard work. This hard work has paid off in a massive way and Webb has moved up the number 6 player in the world today and as high as number 5 last season as well as three straight seasons from 2018- 2020 finishing top 10 on the PGA Tour money list.

Webb is a classic example of how hard work and dedication pays off. While there were a long 2 years of struggle where people began to lose hope in Webb Simpson, he persevered and continued to work to find his game and putting. While it may seem cliché to say, “hard work is the key to success”, someone should ask Webb if this is true. Webb has turned himself into one of the premiere and elite golfers in the world, but people may forget the dark place that Webb Simpson fell into. Ultimately, it was Webb’s incredible work which has skyrocketed him into the player that he has become today.