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August 19, 2015

Webb Simpson


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Webb Simpson. Webb won here in 2011. Currently you're 49th in the FedExCup.
Talk about your goals coming in this week and your thoughts about playing close to home and we'll have some questions.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yes. I love coming here. I said to some people last night, living in Charlotte, Quail Hollow is kind of a home tournament as well but this is a lot closer to home to Raleigh for me. It feels like my home event.
Obviously winning here in 2011 kind of set-up, you know, the start of a few more wins and I love coming back. I love this golf course. We don't play enough courses on Tour, I don't think, that are as good as this in terms of playability.
I feel like it's -- no matter how far you hit it off the tee or what your skills are, everybody is really equal starting the week. I love this golf course and, you know, 49th coming into this week is higher than I've been the last few years but obviously it's been a transition year for me with the putter, working through a few things with my golf swing.
Kind of been kind of a rebuilding year in a lot of ways and so -- but the good news is there's still a few tournaments left to play and this is a great place for me to feel comfortable and put into place what I've been working on.
Excited for the week and hopefully I can get some birdies going.

Q. Webb, this tournament has a history of producing first time winners, you certainly being one of them.
Why is that?
WEBB SIMPSON: I don't know. I hope it doesn't happen this week. But, you know, I think a lot of players in this tournament are kind of in a position where they have to play well and I think for some guys that's a good thing, they got to finish Top-20 to keep their card or even Top-10. I think, you know, we saw Arjun Atwal Monday qualified and won the tournament.
So certain guys like that. Kind of a no lose situation.
But, again, like I said earlier about the golf course, I don't think it's one where you have to play many years to learn it, where a lot of courses you do, you have to get some persons -- like Augusta is a good example whereas this golf course is more straight in front of you and, again, it's a level playing field for everyone which I wish we played more like these.

Q. You talked a little bit about how you're from -- you feel comfortable in this area and all that kind of stuff.
Can you relate to what people are feeling here about having Tiger play and what it means to the tournament?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah. I think it's really cool to see how, you know, how big of a player in name he is that he hasn't been playing well and he's -- whatever he is in the world ranking, yet he still draws the crowd and I think that's just a testament to his career and what he's been able to do.
And he's kind of like the Arnold Palmer of our generation in terms of he's a figure. No matter how he plays people want to follow him. From what I understand that's how Arnold was. Even Arnold as was getting older and not playing as well he had his Army and had people following him.
And I'm really happy for the City of Greensboro and Bobby Long and Mark Brazil and Steve Holmes and all the people that fought hard to bring it back to what used to be, one of the best stops on the PGA TOUR.
I know they were struggling for a few years. This is a testament to them as well that Tiger Woods wants to come play and I'm glad he's here and I've already talked to Mark Brazil about ticket sales. They've had to rebuild some things for media and to start printing more tickets. That's a good thing.

Q. Webb, you talked about the changes you've gone through this year and how do you not get frustrated and what's the biggest thing that you're trying to work on this week?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, certainly been frustrating at times. I consider myself a top player and, you know, when you go weeks at a time or months at a time not winning or not performing to what you think is your potential, it is frustrating.
But, you know, I think that's just life. I think at times no matter what you're doing, life can get frustrating and you just have to rely on those people in your life, my dad, my wife, my mentors who -- you know, the theme of people who accomplish great things, a theme in their life is persistence and keep going.
I think being frustrated is a good thing because it shows that you care. But I have to keep my eyes focused on my goal which is getting better and at times I feel like in golf you feel like you're not but you keep going and all of a sudden a month later well, I am better.
So that's kind of been this year. There's been some high moments and low moments. But, again, got a few more tournaments left. Only takes one tournament to turn the year around.

Q. It's great to be here, though?
WEBB SIMPSON: It's great to be here. A comfort here, knowing the golf course, knowing kind of what it takes to win here score-wise relative to the weather and we got a lot of rain. Might get some more. Going to be softer, scores a little lower.
When you've won at a place or played well you're eager to get back just because there's less to think about for me as opposed to maybe Akron where I hadn't played as well.

Q. The group of defending, people have won here coming back, what's so hard about defending here that I mean you guys have put up great scores, nobody has seem to done back to back or repeat in a long time.
WEBB SIMPSON: It goes back to the point of the golf course. Bay Hill, Tiger won so many times. Akron produces long hitters winning there. Depending on the golf course you kind of create your own pool of winners that are usually going to win there, whereas this course, like I said, it favors nobody.
So I think that's what makes it hard to repeat, that if you have a field of whatever, what did we have, 156 players, that most everybody in the field has a legitimate chance to win whereas, you know, maybe you go to San Diego, I can't remember the last time somebody who didn't bomb it winning there.
That's a place where you take out 50 percent of the field from the start of the week.

Q. You talked about the putter change. Can you take me through that process? Do you like go to the practice green with like a bag full of putters and try to find one that's comfortable?
Can you take us through that process?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah. I've only used one putter since I switched in November. It's been the same putter the whole time. So, I'm not a player who likes to change. I used the same irons since I was 15 years old up until The Players Championship this year.
I love getting a piece of equipment that I know and start to understand so when something is not working I know it's me and not the equipment.
So, you know, at first I tried a few putters but I got one that, you know, I really liked and felt good with and I stuck with it.
You know you get to a point you want to try something for awhile. If it's not working you got to say maybe we change it up just for the look of it. Guys do that all the time out here. They're not putting well, not holeing putts, don't necessarily think it's the putter but want to look at something different.
So, you know, I've been kind of open-minded to different types of putters but for the most part just stuck with one.

Q. Obviously it's kind of a tournament within a tournament this week with the FedExCup Playoffs looming.
How much do you think that weighs on players's minds this week, in particular, I mean if they don't make the 125 obviously it's the end of the season for them.
WEBB SIMPSON: I think it's a really big deal. The FedExCup Playoffs, we've got four tournaments, eight and a half million dollars each with a huge bonus pool in Atlanta and making it to Atlanta does so much for you for the next season. So there's so much to play for. It's definitely on guys's minds, I think.
But, at the same time, you know, there's something to be said for keeping your card. I think that's great security for a golfer knowing that hey, for the next 16 months or 12 months, I guess, I know where I'm playing, I know I'm on the PGA TOUR.
That's a comfort I think for most guys and, like I said, I think some guys the pressure could affect them negatively but a lot of guys I think it helps it, kind of propels them forward and some guys enjoy having their backs against the wall and coming out and trying to make birdies, especially on a golf course that you have to make birdies. If this course was 5 or 4-under winning score, then it might be a little different.

Q. What kind of mindset will you have in particular, obviously 49th in the standings right now, you don't have to worry about making The Playoffs. Certainly trying to move up and kind of get into the Tour Championship already.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah. Atlanta is my favorite tournament of the year. Actually like Atlanta more than Maui because I think if you're in Atlanta no matter how your season went, no matter how frustrating or at times upsetting, you know you've done something really well because now I mean it used to be Top 30 on the PGA TOUR but it's really the world tour.
Now the best players in the world, you know, round the would world are playing our Tour and flocking to our Tour. You can honestly say if you make to it Atlanta I had one of the best years in golf this year to be here. That's a great feeling to be there.
For me I'm thinking about it a lot. I can't control the future and this week is just another step that I can take to get into Atlanta.

Q. Webb, my question kind of similar to what Bob just asked you up here. Basically I want to know what the impact you see that this being the final regular season tournament before The Playoffs has on the Wyndham as a whole and it growing and it becoming what it is this week with Tiger being in town because he wants to get into The Playoffs, the impact that this has as the final regular season tournament, what do you think it's had on the Wyndham?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think it's been a positive. You get some big named guys who haven't played well who are either trying to still win or get in The Playoffs. You look at Branden Grace who played great lately. He's a great player. I think he's ranked 20th in the world.
I asked him last week why he's coming. I think the only way he could get into The Playoffs maybe is if he won this week, is that right?
So, I mean for him he wants another opportunity to play in a PGA TOUR event. He's heard great things about this tournament and golf course and I think a lot of guys like him look at it as hey, it's the last tournament before I get a break, might as well come play, you know, Wyndham does such a great job and I think the trickle down effect of word of mouth of what a great tournament this is and golf course, guys are starting to pay attention and want to come here.
Again, my reasons for loving this course, I think lot of players share that, that we get a little bored, honestly of playing 7500-yard courses where I just bomb it away. Here you got to think about where you're going, you've got to curve the ball and I miss that on the PGA TOUR.

Q. Webb, you talked about a place for first time winners, Kyle Reifers, you might be a little bias. Do you think maybe he's got enough experience maybe he can break through at a course like this?
WEBB SIMPSON: For sure. He played great at Reno, set a record there Sunday and I was pulling for him. He looked great down the stretch and in the playoff and this is -- he's a great example of a player to watch out for this week because he's playing with a lot of confidence. He's familiar with this course and area being at Wake for four years.
You know, like I said, I don't think this is a course you need a ton of experience on. So, yeah, he's a guy who is, in my mind, one of the guys to beat this week. He's playing great.

Q. You're half-brother Sam, lives in Greensboro. Will you be visiting with him and his family this week?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah. I'll see Sam a little bit this week. I'm not staying with him. My family is too big and his is, too. But yeah, we'll see him. I got my family coming in this weekend so it's always a fun event to get everybody back together.

Q. Webb, does it feel like it's been a long time since you've won?
WEBB SIMPSON: It does. I mean it's coming up on two years this October but, you know, I don't necessarily look at it as a negative like I hadn't won in such a long time as long as I'm building towards winning again.
You know, honestly, I haven't given myself enough chances this year. Humana I had a great chance, Charlotte I had a great chance. You know, Doral I finished 7th but never really had a chance to win there.
I got to be a little easier on myself and think that I hadn't put myself there a lot like I did 2011 before I won here.
But, at the same time as a player and competitor, you get a little antsy, get really -- you start thinking, "When is it coming again?"
But if I'm true to myself, my process, my goals, I got to be really good today and, you know, I try to live by -- Peyton Manning told me one time, "You got to get really good at the little things and the big things will come." That's kind of what my focus is right now, getting really good on the little things.

Q. What has been the highlight of your season?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think playing really well in the Charlotte. I love that golf course. I live out there and being in the last group with the World No. 1 was a definite highlight. Unfortunately, I didn't play as well Sunday but I would have had to shoot 7-under to get in the playoff.
It was a tough task and he's a tough guy to catch if you're trailing. But, yeah, it was a great experience and fun to play well on my home track.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks for your time, Webb. Good luck this week.

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