Friends, former coaches share in Simpson's success
Posted June 18, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — When Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open Sunday, the cheers could be heard erupting in Raleigh. The local product and Broughton High School grad joined the ranks of Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus with the one-stroke victory and the people who impacted his development in Raleigh could not be more proud.
"I am not his biological dad, but I do have that attachment to him,” said Simpson’s former golf coach Ted Kiegiel. “It would be like you watching your child doing that. And on father's day - he could not have given me a better present." PGA golfers with Triangle ties
Kiegiel coached Simpson from the time he was a young boy. He said he spoke to Simpson right after winning his first major championship and third overall tournament on the PGA Tour.
"He was just ecstatic,” Kiegiel said. “At that time, he was just letting it all sink in and really just appreciate all of what just happened."
Even Gov. Bev Perdue is celebrating Simpson's victory. In a statement she said, “Today we celebrate our very own, Webb Simpson, for winning the U.S. Open on Sunday. This is a tremendous accomplishment and a big step forward in an already-impressive golf career. Webb is a North Carolinian through-and-through… North Carolina is truly proud of his accomplishment and all of his success. Webb has a bright future ahead of him, and I look forward to supporting his journey in golf.” PGA Leaderboard
Simpson's college coach at Wake Forest, Jerry Haas, also offered praise for the major accomplishment.
“I’m very proud of him,” Haas said. “He handled himself beautifully. He had that look on the back side there that he was going to win."
Simpson grew up playing at the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh. Kiegiel said he recognized Simpson's natural talent from the time he started playing on this course at nine years old.
"He definitely practiced a lot and played a lot,” Kiegiel said. “It would be common for him to play 36 holes a day. Whether it was hot or cold, he would be out there working on his game."
Simpson sat beside his wife watching the final moments of the tournament as Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell tried to catch him on the leaderboard. The couple lives in Charlotte with their 15-month-old son and are expecting their second child right around the time of the British Open.
"It will be a tough one to miss if it comes down to it," Simpson said.
You can listen to the full interview with Wake Forest head golf coach Jerry Haas talking about U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson on Mark and Mike on 620 The Buzz at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.