Why is Webb Simpson right at home on the greens in the WGC-Workday Championship?

Simpson is a Major Champion and currently the world’s ninth best golfer, but if there were Bermuda grass greens rankings he’d almost certainly be even higher.

With a CV that boasts seven PGA Tour victories, including US Open triumph in 2012, 35-year-old Webb Simpson is fully deserving of his world top ten status.

In addition to his proven ability to win, he's also very, very consistent, logging no fewer than 21 top 20 finishes in his last 28 starts, stretching back to the WGC-St Jude Invitational in July 2019.

But in opening the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession Club with a superb first round of 6-under-par 66, which earned him a share of the 18-hole lead alongside Matthew Fitzpatrick, he had Sky Sports commentator Nick Dougherty scratching his head.

"I sometimes wonder why he's as successful as he is," Dougherty said of the 35-year-old.

"His swing is not pretty … it's not necessarily a swing you'd want to copy, but he's got a CV you'd definitely want and he's just got a really great all-round package."

Dougherty's co-commentator Paul McGinley was a little less dismissive, adding: "He's a really good competitor, well-regarded and not to be under-estimated."

There's no doubt that Simpson is competitive and does boast solid all-round skills, but is there something else that reveals his success - not only in the last couple of years, but also this week?

Simpson's Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle is, of course, one of the great mysteries of the world.

And whilst planes and boats disappearing in the Atlantic near the island of Bermuda has (presumably) nothing to do with Simpson, Bermuda grass on the greens maybe does explain where and why he plays his best golf.

Simpson got off to a great start on Thursday in Florida.
Simpson got off to a great start on Thursday in Florida.

He only holed one lengthy birdie putt on Thursday in Florida (a 31-feet, 4-inch effort at the 16th), but he was deadly when in the tricky four- to eight-feet range, draining four birdie efforts and three par saves within those lengths.

Those putts are nasty enough on Bent grass greens, but especially difficult for golfers uncomfortable on the grain Bermuda grass - not that Simpson has ever suffered from that problem.

The numbers

In the last 28 starts mentioned above Simpson has played an even split of 14 events on Bermuda grass and 14 on Bent and Poa Annua.

He's been good on the latter, but the stats show that he's been sensational on the former.

In those 14 starts on Bent and Poa, Simpson has made eight top 20s, but in none of them did he record a top five.

In striking contrast, in 14 starts on Bermuda, he's landed 12 top 20s, eight of them were top fives and two reaped victories (in last year's Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale and The Heritage at Harbour Town).

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What about on the greens themselves?

He's a good putter anywhere, gaining 1.617 strokes on the field from his putting on Bent and Poa, averaging a rank of 28th in the field.

But on Bermuda?

He gained 3.581 shots and his average rank is 16th.

Maybe the bad news for the field is that, when he signed his card, Simpson had gained only 2.072 strokes (ranking sixth) on the field.

If he reverts to type this week, there's almost certainly more to come from him on the greens.

Paddy Power price Simpson 7/1 to win the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession.

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