By Sam Weinman
One of the intriguing subplots of Webb Simpson’s decisive win in the Players Championship was that it came after several wayward years tinkering with his putting stroke.
What’s interesting about Simpson, though, is that his move away from anchored stroke predated the official anchoring ban at the start of 2016, mostly because his caddy, Paul Tesori, suggested the two get out in front of the problem.
How did that work out? That depends on who you ask.
“We went in a year early, which was my call, and that cost us at least $5 million because the next year I think he finished third in ball-striking and only made about $1.5 million,” Tesori said on this week’s Golf Digest Podcast. “We went in and looked at his average putting throughout his career and if he had an average putting year he would have been second on the Ryder Cup list, he would have won a couple of tournaments and he would have made about $6 million.
“I was like, ‘Webb, you’re welcome buddy. Anything else you need, just let me know.’”
Of course, there was a happy epilogue. Simpson went more than four years without a win, but he cashed in in a big way last weekend at TPC Sawgrass, winning $1.98 million and adding the PGA Tour’s biggest title to the U.S. Open he won in 2012. And Simpson did it all with Tesori by his side. The two comprise one of the closest player-caddie relationships on tour, in no small part because Tesori brings unique insight into the game as a good enough player to have played 21 events on tour himself and now having been on the bag for 20 PGA Tour wins.
The affable Tesori, who grew up in Ponte Vedra, Fla., joined us on this week’s podcast to discuss the struggles of the past few years, the reward of winning in his hometown and occasionally having to shack up with the boss.