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Simpson added to Classic field

Reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson has committed to play in the Greenbrier Classic, officials announced Friday on the tournament's Twitter account.

The news came the same day Simpson said he likely will skip the British Open, which takes place two weeks after the Greenbrier Classic. Simpson's wife, Dowd, is due to give birth to the couple's second child in late July.

Simpson played in the 2011 Classic and was a final-day contender. He led briefly after scoring four birdies in five holes on the front nine, but bogeyed the 10th hole and slipped into a tie for ninth.

That was a heartbreaking finish at the time, for one stroke cost him a top-50 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. That concern has long disappeared, as Simpson has rocketed to fifth in the world, one spot behind Tiger Woods.

After leaving The Greenbrier, Simpson won the Wyndham Championship at Greensboro, N.C., his first career victory. A few weeks later, he won the Deutsche Bank Championship near Boston, the second round of the FedExCup playoffs. He eventually played in the Tour Championship.

He started the 2012 season with 11 made cuts in a row, placing in the top 10 four times. He missed the cut in The Players Championship and the Memorial Tournament, but won the U.S. Open with back-to-back 68s on the weekend.

He took his 1-over score into the clubhouse at The Olympic Club and watched as Jim Furyk faltered and Graeme McDowell couldn't make birdies down the stretch. Furyk is also expected to return to the Greenbrier Classic, which is scheduled for July 2-8.

The U.S. Open win gave Simpson a season earnings total of $2,735,197, and he rose to ninth in the FedExCup standings.

Simpson is playing this weekend in the Travelers Championship near Hartford, Conn., where was tied for 10th place at 5 under par after two rounds. Play was suspended by weather after he finished.

The Greenbrier may be Simpson's last competition before his wife gives birth, though no final decision has been made. He did not enter next week's tournament, the AT&T National at Bethesda, Md.

"We haven't made any official decisions [about the British Open] because we're going to go to the doctor next week and get an up-to-date projection on the baby,'' Simpson said Friday. "What I said about not going, it's just a probably. It's not looking likely that I'll be able to go that far.''

He said his wife is no longer cleared to travel with him. Simpson said he's not yet wearing a beeper but is making sure his wife gives him regular updates this weekend.

"I've been talking to her a lot and doing the video thing with my boy, trying to stay connected,'' he said. "But I'm certainly ready to get home.'' 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.

 


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