Webb Simpson begged, pleaded and texted his way onto the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, leap-frogging Bill Haas, whom Captain Tom Watson had initially tabbed as his final captain’s selection in the process.
But when all was said and done, Simpson wasn’t thrilled about being benched for the majority of the weekend.
"The golf side was a terrible experience because I only played in two matches," Simpson told the Golf Channel. "I showed up in Scotland really ready to play and excited to play, and when you sit through three matches in a row, it's tough. So the golf part for me stunk, I'm not going to lie. I mean, if I said the golf was great, you could call me a liar, and we didn't win. If I sit three matches and we win, I'll have a different answer.”
Watson paired Simpson with Bubba Watson in the opening match of the event against the buzz saw of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Simpson and Watson were 2-1 as a team at the 2012 Ryder Cup. When announcing his captain's picks in early September, Watson said Simpson's 2012 Ryder Cup record as a deciding factor.
However, Simpson and Watson were destroyed by the Euros on a cold Friday morning and didn't card a single birdie between the two of them in foursomes. After 14 holes, they were put out of their misery. Simpson didn’t see the course again until Sunday singles rolled around (where he halved his match after being 1-up on the 18th hole against Ian Poulter). he was the only player for the United States team to be benched for three of five events.
Simpson clarified his comments after his first round at the Shriners Hospital Classic.
"Any golfer wants to play, and I wanted to play," Simpson said. "So my anticipation of what the Ryder Cup would be on a golf side, and what it was, was much different. And that's why I said yesterday it stunk. I think all of our team would agree that to an extent, the golf part did stink. We lost. We lost the Ryder Cup, and nobody likes that.”
The 2012 U.S. Open champ was a questionable decision for Watson from the get-go. Simpson had won one event in the 2013-14 season, the Shriners Hospital Open where he is defending his title this week, and grabbed six of his nine top-10s within his first eight events. He missed the cut at the Masters, British Open and PGA Championship, and finished 45th at the U.S. Open. During the first two events of the FedEx Cup — the final two tournaments before the captain’s selections were to take place — Simpson missed the cut at the Barclays and finished tied for ninth at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Reports of behind-the-scenes unplesantries at the Ryder Cup began to leak as early as the Sunday night press conference when Phil Mickelson launched a thinly veiled attack on Tom Watson’s captaincy. Even more stories — like Watson attempting to motivate his team for Sunday’s singles by beginning his speech on Saturday with “You stink at foursomes" came out in the days following Europe's 16.5-11.5 victory.