PGA

Simpson returns to Raleigh, gives back to 'hometown' charity

Posted November 14, 2012
Updated November 15, 2012

— Webb Simpson spends most of his time traveling the world as a professional golfer, but his roots are in Raleigh, and he made time to give back Wednesday to a nonprofit foundation that helps at-risk youth in southeast Raleigh.

Fittingly enough, Simpson took to the golf course at Raleigh Country Club Wednesday, joining fellow PGA professional (and NC State grad) Carl Pettersson and other local golfers to participate in the annual "Neighbor to Neighbor Golf Classic." This year the Classic is raising funds for a land purchase near the southeast Raleigh youth center. 

Simpson talked about the charity's beginnings with WRAL-TV sports anchor Jeff Gravley Tuesday, saying the grassroots effort, which started in a public housing unit in 1994, was always meant to help children learn and grow in a structured, faith-based environment.

Neighbor to Neighbor Extended Interview: Webb Simpson

"I grew up 10 minutes from here. My high school is five minutes from here, so I know the area," Simpson said. "Quite frankly, growing up I didn't know there were that many bad parts in Raleigh. It makes me excited that I get to play a small part in what they are doing and be involved in something that is in my hometown."

Despite living in Charlotte and being on the road as many as 30 weeks a year, Simpson said his sister Blake – who works full-time with Neighbor to Neighbor – keeps him connected with what is happening down the street from his childhood home. 

"It gives me such a great perspective any time I hear stories from Blake about what Neighbor to Neighbor is doing and how they are impacting people," he said.

Simpson said having children of his own has also added to his understanding of what is important for struggling families and stoked his desire to help parents provide. 

"You hear some of these stories about some of these parents who just don't have the fiscal means," he said. "They want to as bad as I want to provide for my son. They want to, but they can't."

Wrapping up a 'dream' year

Professionally, the Broughton High School alum is on the tail end of a year he won't soon forget. Simpson captured the U.S. Open title in June with a weekend push at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, tallied more than $3.4 million in earnings and finished the season ranked 17th in the world. 

"My motto is I continue to get better," he said. "It certainly was a more up-and-down year compared to 2011, but the birth of our second child and winning the U.S. Open, I couldn't have dreamed it any better, to be honest."

Simpson also represented the United States in the Ryder Cup, pairing with Bubba Watson to secure points on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning in some of the more memorable golf matches of the entire event.

With a smile, Simpson credited Watson for the memories, pointing specifically to his antics with the unusually loud crowds that packed Medinah Country Club in Illinois. 

"There is no better atmosphere in golf," he said. "It was more fun than I can ever imagine having. Unfortunately we lost, but it didn't take away how special the week was for me."

7 Comments

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  • Zaknow Nov 16, 9:08 a.m.

    Web is a fantastic golfer and great person. It was very special to watch him play at RCC.

  • Toddler10-21 Nov 16, 8:38 a.m.

    Great story, and great golfer. There was a story about John Wall, and David West coming home and giving back also. I think I was the only person that thank them. I guess. SMH!!

  • london12 Nov 15, 8:28 a.m.

    Simpson makes this Broughton alum very proud. I just wish I could play golf like him...what a life he is living!

  • Honesty first Nov 15, 8:19 a.m.

    Webb has been a great role model for so many kids in Raleigh and other places. The time he devotes to just showing people that he cares is wonderful. I have been asked many times as I travel if I know Webb and is he as good and kind as he appears. I am fortunate to answer that yes I kniw him and you will never know how great both he and Dowd are. God bless them!

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Nov 15, 7:24 a.m.

    I wish there were more professional athletes like Simpson. I caught his interview on the David Glenn show, and was very impressed. Simpson has everything a man could ask for, and the difference between him and some other athletes is that Simpson appreciates what he has, gives back to the community, and has remained so humble.

  • Hokies94 Nov 14, 6:47 p.m.

    One of the greatest hearts of any athlete that I've seen in a long time. I always wish him the best when he is playing the game. Great golfer and human being.

  • Aint ur day Nov 14, 6:21 p.m.

    Heck of a golfer, even better, a humbled man.

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