Bill Haas, Not Webb Simpson, Was Originally a Captain’s Pick for Ryder Cup

Webb Simpson
Courtesy of Izod

Bill Haas was Captain Tom Watson’s original third pick for the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Team before an impassioned, last-minute plea from Webb Simpson changed his mind.

Watson had decided to use his captain's picks on Haas, Keegan Bradley and Hunter Mahan before flip-flopping and selecting Simpson, a member of the 2012 Ryder Cup team, according to a report in Golfweek.

Simpson was considered a potential captain’s pick for the team after a tie for fifth in the Wyndham Championship in August and a tie for ninth at The Deutsche Bank Championship in early September. He texted Watson after traveling from the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston to Colorado for that week’s BMW Championship.

"I texted him, something like, `I know it's a really tough decision for you,’” Simpson told the Associated Press. “I know Chris (Kirk) just won and I know Bill (Haas) is playing good, and you even have other options than that. But I really, really, really want to be on the team and I really want to represent the United States. I love this format, and I'll do anything to be on the team.' Something to that extent."

Watson then called Simpson in the wee hours of the morning the day he was to announce his picks during a live broadcast in New York City.

"I just told him about my passion for the Ryder Cup from my one experience, and how much I cared about it, and how much I believed I thought I could bring to the team," Simpson said.

That apparently was enough to displace Haas, who followed a tie for 27th at the PGA championship (Simpson missed the cut) with a strong run through the final events of the season. He was second at the Wyndham Championship, T15 at the Barclays (Simpson missed the cut), T9 with Simpson at the Deutsche Bank Championship, T16 at the BMW Championship (Simpson was 53rd) and 16th in the 30-player Tour Championship (Simpson was T23).

At Gleneagles in this year's Ryder Cup, Simpson didn't match his 2-2 record from 2012 at Medinah. He and Bubba Watson were routed, 5 and 4, by Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson in the opening match of the Ryder Cup. He then sat until splitting his Sunday singles match with Ian Poulter.

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