Phoenix, AZ – The greatest show on grass ended Sunday evening in dramatic fashion as 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson channeled his inner Kobe to drain a birdie at the 18th (twice!) to seal the win at the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Super Bowl Sunday is a busy day for sports fans but the focus at the Waste Management was on those that died tragically in a helicopter crash just one week prior, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant. To honor the basketball star, the PGA Tour replaced the final round 16th pin flag with a flag that had “24” on one side and “8” on the other, in reference to the two jerseys that Kobe wore during his time with the Lakers. The PGA Tour took it one step further by making the pin location 8 paces from the left and 24 from the front of the green. Some players including runner-up Tony Finau wore Kobe’s jersey as they played the 16th hole.
The show must go-on however. 5-time PGA Tour winner Webb Simpson had a stellar 2019 and it seems that 2020 isn’t going to be any different. Despite finishing even par on day one, he followed it up with a pair of low rounds (63 and 64) which was enough to boost him up the leaderboard into 2nd place and one shot off the 54-hole leader Tony Finau.
Sunday brought some unexpected high winds that were not present in the previous 3 days. The front nine proved to be playing more difficult but the leaderboard otherwise remained fairly unchanged. Tony birdied the 12th and 13th holes and found himself with a 2-shot lead on the field standing on the 17th tee box. Simpson wasn’t out of the tournament yet. The drivable par-4 17th was just that for Simpson – drivable and a 2-putt for birdie. Webb found the fairway at 18 yet was off the green for his third when he drained a 20 footer for a huge birdie to tie. Finau still had a short birdie attempt but missed it to force a playoff.
The first (and only) playoff hole went to the 18th tee where Webb again found the fairway. Tony found himself in the left church pew bunkers but still managed to stick his approach to about 15 feet. Webb putted from a similar spot as he had only moments before for his 72nd hole of the week. Webb drained it – again. Finau could not convert, giving Webb his 6th PGA Tour victory.
Next week, the PGA Tour heads back to the West Coast for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am where Phil Mickleson is the defending champion.
Webb Simpson WITB:
Driver: Titleist TS3 10.5° (Mitsubishi Tensei Blue AV 65)
3 wood: Titleist TS2 15° (Mitsubishi Tensei Blue CK 70TX); Titleist 913 18° (UST Mamiya Proforce VTS 8TX)
Hybrid: Titleist 913 20° (Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 105X); Titleist 915 23.5° (True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100)
Irons: Titleist 620 MB 5-PW (True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100)
Putter: Odyssey Tank Cruiser V-Line
Ball: Titleist Pro V1