SAN FRANCISCO – Webb Simpson, golf’s newest star, could miss the British Open next month.
The new U.S. Open champion's wife is expecting their second child in six weeks, and though the Open starts four weeks from Thursday at Royal Lytham, Simpson might choose to stay at home.
"Officially I don't know yet," Simpson said after beating Michael Thompson and Graeme McDowell by a shot at the Olympic Club. "The next eight weeks are going to be up in the air. We're going to see what we can do."
His wife gave a more revealing answer, however.
"I don't think he is going to play the British Open just in case I go into labor," she told reporters. "It would make Webb too nervous to hop over the pond and then have to try to get back."
Family is always going to come first, but Simpson must be sorely tempted to try to emulate the U.S. Open-British Open double of Bobby Jones (1926 and 1930), Gene Sarazen (1932), Ben Hogan (1953), Lee Trevino (1971), Tom Watson (1982) and Tiger Woods (2000).
His first-ever round in the championship was a 66 at Sandwich last year. It put him only one off the lead, but he went on to finish 16th.
The U.S. Open was only the fifth major of his career, but he had no reason to believe that barred him from being a contender -- Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship last August in his first major start.
Simpson's first PGA Tour victory did not come until last season, but he quickly followed it with another, and looked like he would top the money list until Luke Donald won the final event. He also won three matches paired with Bubba Watson in his Presidents Cup debut.
Now Simpson and Watson are the last two major champions and part of an amazing sequence not just of first-time winners, but also different winners. That makes it 15 in a row going back to Padraig Harrington at the 2008 PGA Championship.
Less than a year ago, American golfers had not won any of the previous six majors. Now they have won the last three through Bradley, Watson and Simpson. Lytham will be their chance to complete the set, but whether the U.S. Open champion is there remains to be seen.