It's often regarded as one of the most hard shots in golf: the 30-yard+ bunker shot.
The American has had to reinvent himself in the wake of the 2016 ban on anchor putting, forsaking the style he'd honed all his life and plummeting down the rankings as a result.
Simpson struggled mightily when forced to learn an entirely different way to putt. What can his body do, what can his new golf game do?
Although Simpson and others were given more than two years to get used to the change before it was written into law on January 1, 2016, the adjustment proved hard. After making the cut with nothing to spare on Friday, Woods teed off trailing halfway leader Webb Simpson by 14 strokes on another ideal morning. But at the same time, that's a long time.
Webb Simpson may not have provided the type of edge-of-your-seat finish to THE PLAYERS Championship that will be replayed for years to come. Not when you consider how acute the putting problems had become, and the depths to which it impacted his game. Could he follow up his lowest scoring round for five years with another stellar show, only this time on Sunday afternoon? That, after his 6-under 66 on Thursday, gave Simpson a five-stroke lead heading into Round 3.
Woods will likely take time off now to rest and prepare for the U.S. Open, possibly playing in the Memorial May 31-June 3. But Paul [caddie Paul Tesori] and I got in an argument on the golf course, and it was just frustration pent up in both of us. "If it hadn't been for my faith, it would have been a lot harder", he said after he finished a dominant week at The Players with a four-stroke win. "I don't think you are". "And I'm glad I did".
Tiger Woods made the turn after an impressive front nine.
The late stumble couldn't dim his joy in the victory, his fifth on the US PGA Tour and his first since 2013.
Adam Scott can relate.
"It's been a tough few months for my mum, my brothers and sisters", Simpson said as his voice began to crack. "Talking to great putters helped".
An impressive birdie putt from Matt Kuchar on the fourth hole.
"Eventually I was going to put all the pieces together and today, for the most part, I did that", Woods said. The gains were given away on eighth, but Simpson was still way ahead. He was more consistent. There was a distant flicker of hope that Woods could possibly come back, although you may have needed Rickie Fowler's binoculars to see it.
Simpson, a 2008 graduate of Wake Forest, told reporters last week at The Players that he doesn't know where he'd be without that tip from Clark.
Woods started this year ranked 656th in the world. He would have been pushing the top 50 with a second-place finish. Had tons of conversations with those guys. "The way I was just coming back and just trying to get a feel for it and then hopefully have a schedule".
He missed an 8-foot par putt that caused him to flip his club, ended up with a disappointing bogey and limped home with a double at the famed 17th. And he's got a system that now works.
"I'm very proud to have gotten there, but it means more to me how long I can hold it", Thomas said in a text message. Simpson lost his father in November, and it was the first time his mother was without him in North Carolina.
There was never any doubt.