It’s fair to say Webb Simpson enjoyed the Sunday of the 2018 Players Championship far more than he did this year.
The 33-year-old former US Open champion romped to a four-shot win at TPC Sawgrass last May but could do no better than a tie for 16th this time around.
His cause wasn’t helped by a rules infraction as he lined up a long birdie putt on the 14th during the final round.
The official explanation of the incident is that the grip end of Simpson’s long-handled putter snagged in his shirt and moved his ball ever so slightly.
Here’s the issue: Simpson’s ball was barely off the green and replacing it cost him a one-stroke penalty. Had it been on the green, he could have replaced with no penalty following changes to the rules of golf that came into effect on January 1.
That extra shot cost Simpson approximately $60,000. Needless to say, he wasn’t best pleased and, speaking to reporters afterwards, called for the rules to be changed to account for intent.
“I'm going to be loud and clear,” he said. “We have to get intent into the rules. We have to. Because it's killing our game when it comes to these kind of things.
“What they try to say is either it's hard to write the rule with intent or you open it up for grey area. Well, I think it's actually the opposite because I'm playing with Lucas [Bjerregaard], we're up there, why would I try to move the ball? Like, there's no advantage. Hey, and there's cameras everywhere, too.
“I don't know if that got on there, but my putter hit my clothes, it moved it a quarter-inch, I'm going to move it back. I'm just I'm hoping that somehow or another intent can get broadened, I guess.