By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK, July 1 – Webb Simpson is on the hunt for his third win of the PGA Tour season at this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit with golf’s top five players missing the tournament.
Webb claimed victory by one stroke over Abraham Ancer at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina, this month but pulled out of the Travelers Championship after his daughter, who later tested negative, was showing symptoms of COVID-19.
“In Hilton Head we only focused on a couple of swing thoughts… we really, really honed in on it and that made me feel a lot clearer over the golf ball,” said Simpson, who beat Tony Finau in a playoff at the Phoenix Open in February.
“My bad shots were better, my good shots were better, and that’s kind of what we’re going to try to do this week,” said the 34-year-old American. “Just kind of keep it as simple as we can.”
The fourth PGA Tour event since the season returned from its coronavirus shutdown, the tournament will be played without fans, after a sixth player, American Chad Campbell, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
“The lengths that the Tour is going to make sure everyplace we go is safe and secure and our testing and all that, I feel very good about being out here,” said Simpson.
“But I do think the elephant in the room and the tough thing that they’re dealing with every week is these positives.”
Other favourites include England’s Tyrrell Hatton, who won the Arnold Palmer invitational in March and finished tied for third at the RBC Heritage, world number seven Patrick Reed and the long-hitting Bryson DeChambeau.
He hopes his latest experiment – putting on 25 pounds to add power to his drives – will continue to pay off, after six straight top-10 finishes.
DeChambeau’s daily diet includes a breakfast of four eggs, five pieces of bacon, toast and two protein shakes, followed by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a steak-and-potatoes dinner.
“Over the long run, I’m looking at this as a long-term investment, this driving stuff,” said DeChambeau, who finished the Travelers Championship tied for sixth. “I want this to work really, really well for majors, especially majors.” (Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond)