May 23 (Reuters) - Webb Simpson gets back in the saddle after a week off at the Fort Worth Invitational on Thursday on a course with similarities to the scene of his emphatic Players Championship victory.
Simpson is not a long hitter, but relies more on accuracy to plot his away around.
It is hardly a co-incidence that his Players victory at TPC Sawgrass in Florida a fortnight ago was achieved on a course where long-hitters are effectively straight-jacketed, because many holes offered little incentive to hit driver off the tee.
This week’s venue, 7209-yard, par-70 Colonial Country Club, is short by modern standards. ‘Hogan’s Alley’, as the course is known in deference to five-times champion Ben Hogan, is also right up Simpson’s alley.
He finished fifth last year and equal third the year before.
“I feel it’s a good course for me,” the North Carolinian told reporters on the eve of Thursday’s first round in Texas.
“I really enjoy playing here for the reason it seems like most holes you have the option of hitting driver or as short as a four-iron off the tee.”
He also likes the greens.
“Greens are small so you have to be really accurate with your approach shots,” he said.
“They are not super quick but they are not slow, the perfect speed to make a lot of putts.”
For Simpson to win the plaid jacket on Sunday he will likely have to overcome local hero Jordan Spieth, whose worst result in the past three years was a tie for second.
Spieth won two years ago, a result that helped restore his shattered confidence after his collapse a month previously at the Masters.
He had one arm in the green jacket at Augusta National until a quadruple-bogey at the 12th hole in the final round ended his quest.
Spieth is trying to stay on an even emotional keel these days.
“I’m taking a more patient approach to peaks and valleys throughout my career,” he said.
World number three Spieth heads a strong field that also includes the next three players in the rankings — Spaniard Jon Rahm, Englishman Justin Rose and American Rickie Fowler.
American Kevin Kisner is defending champion.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina Editing by Toby Davis