"We'll have a beer or two," Simpson says of the trip, "but it's not about drinking beer. The focus is on each other. We got this advice from a couple of other guys—that we need to come home from the trip rested and ready to serve our families well."
Adds Kane, "The trip is a very transparent, safe place to say, 'Hey, how's your marriage, what are you struggling with?' and to be involved in each other's lives and hold each other accountable. We'll have putting contests and watch the NBA playoffs. We may go out on the boat this year."
"We need to patent it," says Dave Owen, Simpson's mentor and a pastor in Raleigh. Owen, who officiated at the Webb-Dowd wedding, promises something new for this year: oatmeal-buttermilk pancakes. "They sustain you all day," he says, "and hopefully you make a few birdies."
Magic flapjacks will not leave Simpson impervious to distraction—he'll just be better prepared for it. Last year he called Dowd on the Monday of U.S. Open week to learn that James, their son, had just taken his first steps while Dad was thousands of miles away in San Francisco. Tesori noticed the boss was not himself.
"He was grumpy," Tesori says. "He was a little bit short with me, first time ever. I talked to my wife. I said, 'Baby, I don't know if I said something that rubbed him wrong or what.' But Webb and I talked about it the next day, and he explained what had happened and apologized and said he didn't want to be there. We agreed he should take half of Tuesday off and regroup."
He did that and then some. Dowd left James with her parents and got to Olympic on Wednesday. She and Webb had date nights and talked about life in all its wonderful, dizzying complexity. After being perhaps the only one through 36 holes who thought he could win, Simpson closed with a pair of 68s to prevail by a shot over McDowell and Michael Thompson.
"By the weekend," Tesori says, "in the most stressful situation of his life, Webb was as calm as I'd seen him. It was one of the coolest transformations I've ever seen."
Glory to God and pass the maple syrup; long live the guys' trip.