The 2012 U.S. Open Championship is now in the rearview and much of the attention over the weekend went to Tiger Woods and his attempts to regain his former dominance, the unlikely run of 17-year old phenom Beau Hossler, and of course the major difficulty all the competitors were having at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Sliding in rather unnoticed was Webb Simpson, who won the tournament with a 1-over par on the weekend to capture his first career major -- in only his fifth appearance in one.
Simpson joined WFNZ in Charlotte, N.C. with The Drive, to talk a little bit about his experience at the Open and what it means for him going forward in his career. Thanks to SportsRadioInterviews for transcribing the interesting interview.
When did the thought creep first creep into your mind that you could win the U.S. Open?:
"I didn't look at the board until I was done putting on 18. I just didn't think it could help me in any way. I never had a thought that I can't win, but I didn't expect to win this early. I've only played in four majors prior, so more than anything I was just looking to gain experience through the week. I found myself there on the back nine in contention, so I figured I better take advantage of it because it doesn't come often."
Did it help that you were coming from back in the pack on Saturday and Sunday so there wasn't a lot of added pressure?:
"I think so. Playing in a final group would have certainly been a lot more pressure I think, just given the circumstances and the pressure surrounding that in itself. I figured being the fourth-to-last group was a great place for me to be because I'm close to the leaders, but I'm far enough ahead where I can make some birdies and make some noise and put a little pressure on them coming in."
Nine first-time major winners in a row. Do you expect to contend for more of them going forward?:
"I hope you see me in more majors because I sure love playing in them. But, like I said, the more experience I get, I think the better I'll play. I was able to fortunately feel the pressure and know what to expect in the U.S. Open. So next time I'm in contention, I think it'll pay off kind of knowing what to expect and what the feelings are like."
How much harder was that course compared to the courses you play week-in and week-out?:
"It's so much harder. Everything about it is harder. The greens are firm and fast, the rough's up, the fairways are firm. And Olympic's such a great venue because there's one fairway bunker on the whole golf course, I'm pretty sure, and no water hazards to speak of really, that come into play. You take a golf course with no water hazards and one bunker and it's that hard, you know you've got a fair, tough test in front of you. It was a course where you can make birdies, but also if you didn't think about where you were trying to place your approach shot, you could make bogeys and doubles so quickly."
Check out more from the interview at SportsRadioInterviews.
For more in depth analysis of the 2012 U.S. Open, make sure that you check out the USGA's coverage as well as SB Nation's dedicated golf hub.