SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Webb Simpson returned to The Olympic Club for a memory and he wound up with so much more.
It was worth every penny.
Olympic is across Lake Merced from Harding Park, where the Match Play Championship is being held this week. Simpson had not been back to Olympic since he won the 2012 U.S. Open with a par save from the side of the 18th green. He wasn’t about to pass on the opportunity.
So he went there with a friend, and the first stop was the snack bar at the range. He saw a woman unloading groceries and she told him it was closed.
“I said, `I’ll pay you $50 for a burger,'” Simpson said.
The woman jokingly replied, “Did you win the U.S. Open or something?”
As she was making the burger, Simpson noticed a golf cart with a wedge and two golf balls. The original plan was for Simpson and his friend to have their picture taken on the 18th green, but this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“It was just kind of meant to be,” he said.
He drove off to the 18th green to recreate the chip shot that won him his only major. His approach wound up in a hole the size of a sprinkler head, and he hit a great shot to 3 feet for par and a one-shot victory over Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson.
“I chunked the first one, but we erased that video,” Simpson said. “So the one that we have was good. But it was amazing being back. I forget how small the green is, especially with no people and no scoreboard. But it was fun.”
As for the cost of that burger?
“So the funny part is I had either $48 or $100,” Simpson said. “And I’m thinking, `I can’t give her $48. I told her $50. I have to give her $100. And she didn’t take it. Her dad started cooking in the `50s. She and her husband have a thing on the 18th hole. So she’s been in the business a long time. She appreciated the effort of the $100, but she didn’t take it.”
Simpson added another memory to the area. He beat Ian Poulter on the 16th hole on the first day of matches at Harding Park.