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May 13, 2015

Webb Simpson


DOUG MILNE:  Webb, we know you've obviously got a lot going on so we will keep it brief.  Thanks for joining us for a few minutes, Webb Simpson, here at the Wells Fargo Championship making your 7th start in the Wells Fargo Championship, the 4th place I believe in 2012.
Off to a good start this year with 3 Top-10 finishes, I believe, and just one missed cut.  Some thoughts on being back to a place that you know is special to you.
WEBB SIMPSON:  It's great to be back.  Now we're two weeks later this year and I think the golf course has appreciated a couple more weeks.  The golf course is beautiful and greens are super fast.  I mean I was out there this morning.  Lot of the putts I'm having to relearn because I haven't played them this fast in awhile.
Happy to be here and even if this place wasn't my home I would still have this as one of my top courses of the year that we play.  So, I'm excited about the field.  I know Adam and Rory and Phil are here and a bunch of other good players.  Excited for everyone who decided to come and I think it's going to be a great week.
DOUG MILNE:  With that we'll take a few questions.

Q.  You mentioned everyone who decided to come.
Is this a byproduct of the way the schedule just kind of just cramping events in the last couple of weeks?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah:  Certainly makes the schedule different with the BMW and the European Tour next week.  I know we only have a few of the European Tour players but I think that the tournament speaks for itself year-in, year-out.  One of the best fields of the year.
Just with the way the golf course is, the way they run this tournament, the way the members treat it, it's just a favorite event.  I think what they do so well they pay attention to the details and they take care of the caddies which the caddies like.  All in all, they cover all the bases.

Q.  I think you've played three weeks in a row.
WEBB SIMPSON:  I'm taking the next three weeks off after that.  It's nice to get in a rhythm.  It always help to know you have time off to push through on the third week.
I like playing a lot of rounds in a row and Match Play I played three matches and last week I played four rounds so it's always good to play as many rounds as you can going into an event that you love and so, yeah, I feel although I've played a lot I still feel pretty fresh knowing I got a few weeks off coming up.

Q.  A lot of young kids look up to athletes today and you look at the young guys that have won, McIlroy, Spieth and this last week with Rickie Fowler, and yourself who broke through with a big tournament, could you tell kids -- what would you tell them today who want to find their dreams and goals what they need to do and what's most important into going after that?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Well, I think all the young guys that are playing well on the PGA TOUR all seemed like they really enjoy golf.  I think that's the key is to work hard and balance that with still loving the game and appreciate the game.
I think even I saw in Junior Golf when guys take it too serious and make it too performance-driven, those are the guys that seem to quit all of a sudden.  They just have had enough and they're sick of it.
But definitely keeping the game fresh and fun for guys is so important especially now the junior circuits are -- you can play a tournament every week if you wanted, whereas when I was growing up it was every month you would play.
So I think that's a big key even for us still on the Tour, to still enjoy the game.

Q.  Who is the person in the life who is the biggest stimulation, passion for the game and being a professional?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Definitely my dad.  He taught me the game.  He had the perfect balance of pushing me to work hard because he knew what it would take to get to the highest level but, at the same time, kind of reminding me almost weekly that he was going to be proud of me no matter what I did.
That kind of non-pressure I felt from my dad is kind of what freed me to enjoy the game, whereas I saw a lot of my friends getting too much pressure from whether their parents or coach and it became about performance as opposed to enjoyment.  It's a tough balance that parents have.  My dad did a great job.

Q.  Have you followed what Kisner is doing lately, have you seen him play?  What about the way he's playing?
WEBB SIMPSON:  He's playing awesome.  What people don't understand, you guys understand it, a lot of golf fans wouldn't understand, that he was so close two weeks in a row for these wins to really change his career.
Now, I think he's going to win, for sure, one of these days but you know he birdies 18 in the playoff with Furyk and that probably wins 90 percent of the time, Furyk birdies 17 and then last week he played those three holes in 1-under par and that probably wins a third of the time.
So, he's playing great golf and it's fun to see a guy like him who you know hadn't been in contention a ton really hit great, quality shots under that pressure of those two big tournaments and make great putts.
And he's a friend.  I played a lot of college golf with him.  I'm happy for him.  I think he'll break through someday.

Q.  How much additional pressure when you don't have the exemption, when you haven't won to get the first win?
WEBB SIMPSON:  For me I never felt a burden on the exemption, trying to get that two year exemption because it seems like when guys are hungriest or things are on the line you almost play better then when you relax and kind of take it easy.
Certainly I think the -- the more pressure is there for the first win.  I felt that for two years trying to get the first win.  When I finally got it I could relax a little bit in the sense of you know, I'm not going to hear this from you guys every week, "When are you going to win?"
That part of it I think he wants to get over with.

Q.  Webb, I'm a little late.  Can you talk about Bill, playing with Bill at all, what is that going to be like?  You haven't played that much with him in the tournament, have you?
WEBB SIMPSON:  No.  Seems like either this tournament or Greensboro we get paired together.  I was with him yesterday, we were practicing.  I told him I said that I thought we were going to be playing together.  I kind of had a feeling.  We get the text about an hour later.
I love playing with Bill.  Played with him in the Presidents Cup as my partner and missing each other at Wake was unfortunate but we're good buddies.  We're having a birthday party for my little girl today and he's coming over with his family.  It will be fun and kind of a laid-back pairing.

Q.  I've asked Bill before, you guys, I don't want to say have a competition, but kind of nice to see where each other is at.
WEBB SIMPSON:  I'm competitive with a few guys on Tour personally that I wouldn't reveal their names but Bill has never been one of them.
It's funny, some guys, "Really, you're competitive with him?"  It doesn't make sense.  Bill, I'm always rooting for him.  I think that comes from kind of the Wake Forest alumni family.  Everybody kind of keeps in touch and I don't think that's common for most universities but at Wake it is and happy for him when he plays well.

Q.  Webb, you had a pretty competitive group that all came out around the same time.  When you look at the group below you, young 20-somethings, what sticks out about them collectively?  Are they in anyway different?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah, I think they're different.  I think they're -- just a little more firery competitors.  I think they seem to love kind of the moment and being in contention on Sunday moreso than guys my age did.
You know, I had my eyes wide open for two years.  I was just trying to take it all in.  Here these guys trying to win Majors and doing it.
It's fun to see.  I think it's just -- you know, they were changed by -- we've all been changed by the Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelsons that came out of college and then you had another group and then another group and now -- it seems to get younger and younger.
But, yeah, I think they're more competitive than we were and certainly they don't need anymore confidence.  They're full of confidence.

Q.  Mike Davis' comments on you need to play a lot at Chambers Bay to have a chance, does that affect how much time you'll have up there or more time than usual?
WEBB SIMPSON:  I heard what he said.  So I just said you know, we'll play for 2nd.  I can't get out there.  It's not exactly easy to get there from the East Coast.
I understand why he said it from what I've heard about Chambers Bay but it's just -- I love playing the FedEx St. Jude before.  That would be my only window to go.  I would rather play in that tournament than go see it.
It's just a week that I'm really going to be serious about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and almost make those days more important than the tournament and just see what happens.  Good 2nd place.

Q.  Webb, you put too much pressure playing here you love so close or does that kind of --
WEBB SIMPSON:  I think I did the first couple of years.  I missed the cut my first two years and then I played well in 2011, maybe, 2012.
WEBB SIMPSON:  I kind of learned to just enjoy it, not put too much pressure on myself.  Try to go about the week as normal.  There's a lot of distractions but my wife, she handles all the tickets, all the food, all the traffic through our house.  I don't do much.  She makes it easy for me.
I think I've kind of adjusted to what it's like and the Greensboro tournament is real similar feel.  Try to enjoy it more and go have some fun and see what happens.

Q.  Follow-up with Sean's question, Kevin Kisner, in a playoff at The Players the first time on the course.  Jordan did okay at the Masters his first time there.
Maybe what we're seeing on the course before not as important as maybe Mike Davis thinks?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Yes, I agree with you.  I think -- the more I'm out here the more I realize that if you play good you're going to play good.  Doesn't matter where you are.
Jordan finishes 2nd in his first Masters and wins his second try, where you have a guy like Phil who has won there what, three times, who plays it, I don't know, five to ten times a year outside of the Masters.
I think there's two schools of thought.  I think yes, what Phil does or what other guys do, I do it, we go and learn it, that does help but, at the same time, at the end of the day good golf always wins.
I think if a guy like myself or anybody else who doesn't go to Chambers Bay ahead of time, if they're the best player that week they're going to win.  Doesn't matter if you've seen it twice or ten times.
I think the best player, you know -- there could be trouble, there would be weird bounces.  From what I understand Chambers Bay it's such -- the ball rolls so much and there's so many hills and things that I don't think you could learn it in ten practice rounds.  I think it's that type of course.  Yeah, I think the best player is going to win no matter what.
DOUG MILNE:  Webb, we appreciate your time as always.  Good luck this week.

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