Webb Simpson has not won on the PGA Tour since his career-defining U.S. Open victory last June, but after another solid season, he was a no-brainer Presidents Cup captain's choice for Fred Couples. Simpson's form rarely fluctuates, unlike, say, a Bubba Watson. He's usually in the top 25 and almost never misses a cut (only 4 in 25 events this year.)
It did not look like Simpson would be at the mercy of Couples until Zach Johnson bombed in a putt right in front of him as the two played the final hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship together last month. The birdie putt was a one-stroke difference that slid Johnson into the 10th automatic qualifying spot and knocked out Simpson. But just a day later, Couples said he couldn't leave Simpson off the team just because of that last-second shuffle, and even Johnson lobbied for Simpson's inclusion.
Although he made some noise at the PGA, Webb did not play particularly well at the majors this year. He did, however, finish strong in the FedExCup with three top 25s and a fourth-place at the final TOUR Championship. This is his third straight American team competition appearance; he went 2-2-0 last year at the Ryder Cup and 3-2 in Melbourne two years ago. He's long been one of America's up-and-coming golfers, so he also has match play experience as an amateur at the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup.
This week, there will be no "Christian connection" pairing as Bubba's form and resume did not warrant inclusion this go-round. But Simpson should spend most of the two-man sessions paired up with fellow Wake Forest alum Bill Haas. He's said publicly that he'd like to play with Haas, and Couples will almost certainly oblige. The Demon Deacon pairing doesn't have the track record of some of America's other pairings, but their familiarity should result in a pretty easy blend that will challenge the Internationals.
World Ranking: 24
Qualified: Captain's pick No. 1 of 2
Presidents Cup Match Play Record: 3-2-0 (2011)