x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Webb Simpson is on an upwards spiral

The American golfer, who had a poor time of things last years, has turned things around and is one tournament away from winning $10 million.

Webb Simpson leads the way in the race for the FedExCup after a dream season. Jamie Squire / Getty Images
Webb Simpson leads the way in the race for the FedExCup after a dream season. Jamie Squire / Getty Images

The FedExCup will never have the majesty of a major championship but anything worth US$10million (Dh36.7m) demands to be taken seriously.

That is the purse waiting for the winner at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday and all 30 players in the field have a chance of taking that cheque home.

There are infinite possibilities regarding who needs to do what and how to finish No 1 on the PGA Tour.

Any of the top five players can win the FedExCup with a victory; Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar.

The remaining 25 players can still win, but must get help from players at the top of the standings.

Even Bo Pelt, in 30th position, could walk away with the prize if he wins and the top five all have nightmares.

The favourite among the pundits is Donald, the world No 1, however, America's Simpson leads the way after a dream season and is the man to beat.

Last year was a write-off for Simpson, a 26 year old from North Carolina, but he has shown great ability to recover and win twice this year.

His rookie PGA Tour win came at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro in his home state and his second came just weeks later at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston. Prior to that he was beaten in a tense play-off against Bubba Watson at the Zurich Classic - one of 10 top-10 finishes he has had in 2011.

"I know I'm playing well right now and riding a lot of confidence, but every player in the game is going through ups and downs," Simpson told ESPN.

"You know, I was talking to Ernie Els and he said, 'When you're up, just keep it going and keep the hammer down', so that's what I'm trying to do.

"I am enjoying being in this position and that's a good sign. I don't think about it too much, but it's nice to know that I have played well to lead the FedEx list against some of the best players in the world.

"If I win, then great. If not, then I'm not going to beat myself up about it."

All this hard work has him top of the current money list - with a total of $5,621,043 - and, starting today, he could be just four more solid rounds away from becoming a very wealthy man.

"I don't think about the money, which is just as well because if I did I would probably never be able to concentrate," Simpson said.

ncameron@thenational.ae