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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.

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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.

Webb Simpson Putting

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.

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“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.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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