Q&A: 2012 U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson talks gear

Webb Simpson Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Q&A: 2012 U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson talks gear

Equipment

Q&A: 2012 U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson talks gear

Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion and winner of the 2018 Players Championship, recently spoke with Golfweek about his equipment.

David Dusek: Most players fall into one of two camps, either they know almost everything about their equipment or almost nothing and instead rely on their PGA Tour reps to handle the technical aspects of their gear. Which camp do you fall into?
Webb Simpson: I don’t get involved in the technology of equipment, but I have built such good relationships with Jim Curran, J.J. Van Wezenbeeck, Chris Tuten and the Titleist guys, so they know my game really well. They know what I’m looking for, so if Titleist is coming out with a new driver, they will already know what I need to test, shaft-wise. I don’t want to get into all the TrackMan numbers, but I want to be sure it is flying with the right trajectory, spin is important and I have to like the way it feels. I think there are plenty of drivers that create great numbers, but I did not like the way they felt. I’m more of a feel and sight guy than tech knowledge.

Webb Simpson's Titleist 680 irons

Webb Simpson used these Titleist 680 irons to win the 2012 U.S. Open. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

DD: That explains some of your preferences in irons. Even in 2012 when you won at Olympic, your 680s were, shall we say, vintage. Did you love that specific look?
WS: Yeah, and I knew the new Titleist stuff was really good, but they were nice enough to let me use an older model. You know the phrase, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ That’s my philosophy in golf. I always want to correct the Indian, not the arrow. If I feel like I’m doing everything right and the equipment is not working, then we can look at it, but that’s never really been the case.

DD: How many clubs do you bring to a typical PGA Tour event?
WS: Beside my regular set, I bring a backup driver and a backup putter. That’s it.

DD: So you show up with 16 clubs.
WS: Exactly. I’ve never been a guy who likes to bring a lot of hybrids, driving irons or woods. I’m a creature of habit, so if my equipment is working, I don’t mess with it. I feel like my Titleist hybrids are so good that I can flight the ball down if I need to, so I never really feel the need to have backup clubs, even at a windy tournament like the British Open.

Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson at the 2018 Players Championship (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)

DD: When you won the Players Championship you had a driver, two fairway woods and two hybrids. How did you decide to go with a five-headcover setup?
WS: I went to the 4-iron hybrid at the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. I’ve always been a low-spin player and have trouble getting my 3- and 4-irons up, giving them enough height. On the greens we play on, you need spin or height, or both.

Jim Curran had the idea of going with a 4-iron hybrid and built me one at standard length with a graphite shaft. I loved it, but it was actually going a little too far. It was too hot with not enough spin, so he cut it down, put a steel shaft in it, and that made the 4-iron hybrid act more like an iron. It split the gap between my 5-iron and my 3-hybrid perfectly. The beauty of the club is that I can hit it high and I can hit it really low. I hit those hybrids quite a bit going into the par 5s at Sawgrass, maybe six times playing 16 par 5s, which is a lot.

I have a gap between my pitching wedge and my sand wedge. It’s a big gap, but I have found it to be more beneficial to me, on these long golf courses, to have an extra hybrid than an extra wedge.

DD: So around the greens, do you work primarily with one club?
WS: Pretty much, I use a 60-degree wedge 99 percent of the time. If I have a long bunker shot, I’ll go to my sand wedge, or from a tough lie in Bermuda rough, but for the most part, I’m 60-degrees all day.

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