You can take the man out of North Carolina, but you’ll never take North Carolina out of the man.
One of the perks of being a PGA TOUR golf professional is that you get to travel the world, make lots of money and live the dream of becoming a professional athlete.
And yet, for some, the tug of home never leaves them.
For Webb Simpson, a major champion and seven-time winner on the PGA TOUR, home is very much in Charlotte.
The champ is back! #TeamRBC’s @WebbSimpson1 has announced his return to Harbour Town in pursuit of his second plaid jacket. https://t.co/mljwdVCDiA
— RBC Heritage (@RBC_Heritage) March 1, 2021
He is a guy whose personal life and professional career are inextricably linked to the state of North Carolina. He feels so at home in Charlotte that he and wife Dowd highly involved in their local area of Providence Park – ranked the third best neighborhood to live in the city at https://www.charlottestories.com/top-10-best-neighborhoods/ – to benefit the local community.
Simpson was born in Raleigh, spent his happiest memories vacationing in Wilmington, learned to play golf at the Landfall Country Club, and studied at Wake Forest University, where he won the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s individual championship.
The 35-year-old has set up home in Charlotte, and not only has the city and the state of North Carolina brought him personal joy, but it has also proven to be a happy hunting ground professionally too.
Simpson’s breakthrough moment as a PGA TOUR golfer came at the Wyndham Championship, hosted by the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro. It was there that he emulated the achievements of another Charlotte native – Davis Love III – in winning the title, and that would be the first of seven that have subsequently followed.
“I live an hour and a half away, and [used to live] an hour-and-a-half away”, Simpson said when interviewed at https://www.wyndhamchampionship.com/interview-with-webb-simpson/ after that famous victory. “[It’s a] good feeling when you hear people calling your name and rooting for you.”
More joy was to follow just south of the border on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island in 2020 when he clinched the RBC Heritage title. In doing so, Simpson aped the achievements of Love III – a five-time winner of the tournament – and Carl Pettersson, a Swede who studied at North Carolina State University and who latterly set up home in Raleigh.
The good news for passionate sports fans in Charlotte is that, while the Hornets and the Panthers face the challenges of establishing themselves in the NBA and the NFL once more, Simpson remains at the top of his game and is pushing for more silverware in 2021.
Open for Business
The flagship moment for any professional golfer is winning one of the four majors – the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship.
Simpson has already won the U.S. Open – outlasting the field in horrendous conditions at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, and he will be disappointed if he doesn’t add more major silverware to his collection in the coming years.
Perhaps his best chance of doing so in 2021 comes in the same tournament, which will this year be hosted by the Kiawah Island club in, you guessed it, South Carolina.
That sort of homecoming feeling will certainly get the best from Simpson, a player who has performed consistently well in the Carolinas in the past, but also the unique challenges presented Kiawah Island should be right up his street.
The Charlotte native is a noted wind player, having prevailed in a breeze across the United States in those aforementioned victories and in the desert of Arizona, and you can be sure that a zephyr will be blowing at times on the Island this summer.
Then & now.
From a rookie to 2 wins to a -42 career score, @McIlroyRory‘s history at the PGA Championship speaks for itself and in 42 days we’ll see his next chapter at @KiawahResort.#PGAChamp pic.twitter.com/TzMqRoiBEW
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) April 5, 2021
The Ocean Course at the Kiawah Island resort is also incredibly difficult, and in 2012 – the last time the layout hosted a major tournament – only one player finished with a score of lower than -5 (the champion, Rory McIlroy).
Interestingly, the Ocean Course was designed by legendary golf architect Pete Dye, whose Landfall course was where a young Webb learned the ropes of golf. Dye is also responsible for TPC Sawgrass, the venue where Simpson produced an astonishing performance to win the PLAYERS Championship in 2018.
As you may have guessed, you can wager on the U.S. Open at any of the betting sites recommended by SBO at https://www.sbo.net/golf/. The great thing about golf betting is that you don’t even need to back the winner of an event – the most agreeable sportsbooks offer markets for players to finish in the top 5/10/20 etc, and you could even back Simpson in tournament match-ups and head-to-heads too if you are confident of him enjoying some success.
And why wouldn’t you be – ranked ninth in the world, Simpson is an elite golfer who always seems to save his best for the tournaments held in the Carolinas. If he could triumph in the U.S. Open this summer, you’ll find him savouring his success in one of his favorite Charlotte hangouts.