Paul Tesori explains missing tee box celebration after Webb Simpson’s Phoenix Open ace

Webb Simpson, Paul Tesori
In the third round of the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open on Saturday, Webb Simpson recorded the third ace of his PGA Tour career. But caddie Paul Tesori would have to wait until after the round to see it on replay. Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

If you saw the CBS broadcast Saturday, then you likely saw Webb Simpson ace the par-3 12th hole at TPC Scottsdale with a 7 iron from 196 yards.

Funny thing is, Simpson’s trusty caddie of the past nine years — Paul Tesori — saw only the first half of the shot and missed the most important part: when it disappeared.

Once Simpson hit the ball, even he grabbed his tee as the ball hit its apex and headed toward his bag, no thought to pose on it.

“I quit watching it because I can’t see the green,” Simpson said after the round.

Tesori left the tee box at that moment because, well, nature called.

“I had seen it take off and draw and then I sort of lost it, and then I saw him pick the tee up so I kind of knew it was a good one,” Tesori said, “so I started walking over to the restroom. And as I’m walking down the slope, I start seeing all the fans on the right start standing up, like ‘oh, it’s getting good.’ I’m all the way down the slope on the cart path and it goes in, and of course, everybody erupts.”

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Tesori stood on the path and looked up at the tee box, 20 yards up the hill, “and I’m thinking ‘there’s no way that I’m running back up there on the tee box and making a big deal about this,’” he said.

The veteran looper said his natural shyness towards the spotlight definitely kicked in.

He saw the high fives from the players and caddies in his group after the crowd eruption. There was no doubt this one was an ace.

“I was just looking up at Webb and I knew he’d find me (in the celebration) and he found me, and I’m like, ‘I’m not running up there, I’m not making him run down to me,’ so we just did a little air-five, and then away I go into the bathroom,” Tesori said.

Tesori admitted he could have shown more enthusiasm, but he also had another thing on his mind.

We’ve all been there — minus the hole-in-one moment of course.

“Webb goes, ‘Paulie, you waved me off more than you high-fived me,’” Tesori remembered. “I know, it was a lame high-five.”

And just to show how much of a melee aces can create even inside the ropes, playing partner Xander Schauffele’s caddie Austin Kaiser didn’t even realize Tesori had left the tee and didn’t share high fives with the group in the wild moment.

It didn’t take long for Tesori and Simpson to figure out how much they would have owed the sea of fans attending that jam-packed Saturday (what’s new) at TPC Scottsdale.

“We did some quick addition,” Tesori began, “if Webb had to buy all the fans a drink, and there were 200,000 of them, 200,000 times $10 for a 20-ounce Miller Lite, that would have been $2 million! So, it would have been a very expensive hole-in-one.”

Thankfully, they didn’t hold themselves to that standard.

As for Tesori himself, what did he ask of Simpson once they left the TPC Scottsdale property Saturday?

“I’ll let him buy dinner tonight, and that will be it,” Tesori laughed. Though he’s expecting Simpson to take out plenty of his friends back home for drinks down the road.


How would any of us feel if our player made an ace and we missed the celebration on the tee box? Tesori chooses to look at it with a touch of humor.

“I think it was maybe the first ever player/caddie hole-in-one celebration with no contact on the high five afterwards, for sure, I think we can both write our names in the book for that,” Tesori laughed. “I think I like it more now to know that.”

Once Tesori made it back to the tee box, they finally had a real high five and he told Webb, ‘atta boy,’ then he immediately asked if Webb saw the ball disappear into the cup.

Webb did not, though Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott could see it roll in from the left side of the tee.

Tesori said he got a lot of text messages from friends after the round.

“I know lot of people (who just saw the highlight) were thinking Webb gave one extra high five to no one, but all my friends were telling me after, ‘I’m sure you were somewhere along the left.’ They knew who the air five was going to.”

The ace was the first for Tesori and Simpson since they teamed up in 2011 and the third overall on Tour for Simpson to go along with aces at the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational and 2010 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Though Tesori wishes he would have shown more excitement in the moment, he also knows on a loud day at TPC Scottsdale, with trouble lurking on almost every hole, the time to celebrate was limited.

“There’s so much going on with the noise and the fans, you celebrate for a second and then immediately you’re like, ‘OK, where do we hit this drive on 13? How are we going to get close to this pin? What are we going to do next?’”

Tesori made the point that on 12, Webb’s good friend Bubba made a par 3 to his ace. On 13, Webb gave those two shots right back by making a par 5 to Bubba’s eagle 3.

“You know in golf, it’s amazing that it went in, proud of it obviously but for us it’s just another hole, another step towards winning some golf tournaments and hopefully starting with that (Sunday).”

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