Webb Simpson and his wife went to the movies Saturday night. They saw "Snow White And The Huntsman."
Sunday afternoon, Simpson went out and navigated the spookily foggy forest at the Olympic Club and avoided being turned into a toad by the evil queen. Or the golfing equivalent.
Simpson won the U.S. Open because he refused to be intimidated by a course that reduced dozens of great players to weak-kneed peasants. Also, Simpson refused to think about what was happening beyond each shot in front of him.
"To be honest," Simpson said of how his day unfolded, "I never really wrapped my mind around winning."
Simpson could do this because, in another weird plot twist, he did not know he had finishedfirst until 45 minutes after he'd finished playing. At the exact moment of his triumph, Simpson was sitting at a table in the club's basement locker room, waiting to see if his final score of 1 over par could be tied by one of the last two men on the course, Jim Furyk or Graeme McDowell.
"Basically, I just wanted to go somewhere quiet with my wife where we could talk," Simpson said. "We watched what was happening on television, but we also tried to watch videos of our son that we have on our phone, to stay calm. I did not want a playoff. I did not want to play tomorrow."
An 18-hole playoff Monday would have happened if Furyk or McDowell had produced on the 18th green. When they didn't, Simpson and his wife hugged and kissed down
In other words, Simpson was literally a below-the-surface winner. That's a tradition at Olympic. The four previous Open champions at the course -- Jack Fleck, Billy Casper, Scott Simpson and Lee Janzen -- were all fine players but not in the glamorous top tier of their sport.
The profile also fits Webb Simpson. He is a fresh-scrubbed 26-year-old package of talent who is a new face to casual sports fans but is very respected in golf circles. He won two PGA Tour events last year and earned more than $6 million. He came to Olympic ranked 14th in the world.
That said, no one picked Simpson to emerge as the 2012 Open champion -- which was just swell with him. He started out modestly Thursday and Friday with rounds of 72 and 73, then finished strong with 2-under 68s on both Saturday and Sunday. He was the only player in the field to shoot under par both days. But his slower start kept him positioned just off the pace and put him in the fourth-to-last pairing of the day.
Simpson thrived in the non-spotlight. Even after he ran off a searing string of three birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth holes, he was caught up in a bunch of players just behind Furyk, who held a one- or two-stroke lead most of the day.
"I have no experience in major championships being in contention, at all," Simpson said. "So for me to play fourth from the last group was probably a huge help as opposed to the last group. I can imagine playing the final group of a major is really tough."
Playing in any group at Olympic was hard, all four days. But it appeared Furyk, by making steady pars, was going to emerge on top. But he bogeyed three of the last six holes -- most horribly, by botching his drive at the par-5 16th -- and opened the door for Simpson, who was busy saving par at the 18th hole and posting the number that no one could match.
Asked if he was disappointed, Furyk said: "Very. Very. I don't know how to put that one into words."
Simpson was using his own method of coping.
"I probably prayed more the last three holes than I've ever done in my life," Simpson said. "It helped me stay calm."
Even so, he still seemed a little dazed at the trophy ceremony on the 18th green. The scene became even more surreal when a goofily dressed spectator jumped out of the crowd and in front of Simpson to make faces at a TV camera before security officials subdued the idiot.
"I didn't know if it was part of the deal," Simpson joked of the incident. "I never won a major. I never know what to expect."
But he rallied quickly. As the interloper was being led away, Simpson said into the microphone: "Enjoy the jail cell, pal."
Or as an alternative, Simpson could always drag the guy back down to the Olympic basement for some more home video watching.
Contact Mark Purdy at email@example.com or 408-920-5092.