After Tiger Woods fell apart in round three the top of the 2012 U.S. Open leaderboard was Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell's for the taking, but neither of them could quite fill the power vacuum—a great weekend by Webb Simpson was enough to leave him just over par for the tournament, and being just over par was enough to give the 26-year-old his first career major victory. It's a push into the spotlight for a golfer who already made himself known among golf fans by finishing near the top of the money list in a breakout 2011 season.
The win makes him one of the main competitors for golf's overall power and publicity vacuum; the $1.5 million prize leaves Simpson fifth in the World Golf Rankings, up from No. 14. With the major tournaments spread so widely—15 in a row have been won by different golfers—nobody's yet been able to consolidate their post-Tiger-Woods power. Maybe Simpson, who was impressively consistent in 2011, will be the one to do it.
For more news and analysis, check out the SB Nation Golf Hub, where they knew about Webb Simpson much earlier than I did, for one.