Simpson’s Open victory resonates across Tar Heel state Webb Simpson may have claimed his U.S. Open victory in California — three time zones away — but his first major championship was ultra popular across the state of North Carolina.
In particular, longtime Wyndham Championship tournament director Mark Brazil was rooting for the Raleigh native since he is the event’s defending champion, and the two have been friends for a decade, dating back to Simpson’s days as a junior golfer.
Meanwhile, Anderson Marlowe didn’t coach Simpson at Broughton High School, but his players on the golf team look up to the former prep star, and Marlowe rents an office from Simpson’s father Sam.
It was quite a successful spring for Broughton, which won the 4-A state championship in May, then watched an alumnus capture the U.S. Open Championship in June.
“A conference championship, a regional championship, a state championship and now a national championship — that’s a pretty good little run there,” Marlowe said. “To have a U.S. Open champion would be a big deal for any high school, but especially for an inner city school like Broughton. The tradition was there before Webb came but he certainly solidified it.
“How many other schools can claim an athlete like this? When I think of people like that in the state of North Carolina sports there are just a handful, guys like David Thompson and Michael Jordan. Webb’s victory is up there in that stratosphere. I was glued to the TV for two days. I recorded it and played it back and watched it over and over again.”
Brazil said ticket sales for the Wyndham Championship, scheduled for Aug. 13-19 at Sedgefield County Club in Greensboro, spiked immediately after Simpson’s major victory.
“We never had that kind of activity two months out from our tournament, and not only in ticket sales but in sponsorship activity,” Brazil said.
Brazil twice extended Simpson exemptions to the PGA Tour event while he was playing college golf at Wake Forest, but both times Simpson had conflicts and couldn’t play.
“This sure puts some more energy into our tournament,” Brazil said. “Recently we’ve seen some stronger fields here, but we don’t typically get players ranked No. 5 in the world. And for me personally I have a very strong sense of pride, kind of like Webb is a younger brother to me. It’s a big deal and he’s just first class.
– by David Droschak