home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 13, 2019

Webb Simpson

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: Like to welcome our defending champion into the interview room here at the TPC Sawgrass. Webb, welcome back. You were here about a month ago for media day, so you were probably the first of the 144 guys in the field to see that trophy, but what's it like being back, officially as defending champion?

WEBB SIMPSON: It's great being back. I was here a month ago, like you said. It feels different being here. It's official now. The tournament's starting tomorrow. The golf course is phenomenal, and I've been here, I think this is my maybe ninth or tenth PLAYERS and I kind of had to re-learn the golf course the last few days. Based on our past events here in May, just making sure I'm clear on what we're doing off the tees, the greens in a sense are a little softer right now, so, yeah, it's been a good few days but I'm trying to treat it like a new golf course since it is a lot different.

THE MODERATOR: You said I remember from your winning press conference, you said it felt like your first win. Just explain to us what that, why, why that phrase stuck out to you.

WEBB SIMPSON: Well, 2013 at the Shriners was my previous win, and when you win a few tournaments in a short period of time like I did, I won four tournaments in three, two and a half years, you get used to winning. And then when you go four and a half years without winning, it just, it seemed like 10 years. So I thought a lot about winning golf tournaments and then you go through a period of wondering when it's going to come, if you're going to win again, and then to break through, so to say, after four and a half years at THE PLAYERS was just amazing.

And winning a major is a great, great thing, but it was more meaningful, I think, because of that drought of four and a half years and the struggle at times and then this is our championship. So to win it, it just felt amazing.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up for some questions.

Q. Kind of random, but in my research over the last 15 winners since we've had Shot Link, every guy who won by one, not you, but came in with a positive strokes gained approach to the green in that season that we were playing. I wonder does that lend itself to this being a second-shot golf course as people say sometimes, or is it something else?
WEBB SIMPSON: No, I think it is. I think you're right. I think one thing we know for sure length doesn't matter and that's, it's evident in who has won here. You've had shorter hitters like myself and Kuchar, Tim Clark. Then you've had bombers, Tiger, Henrik, those guys win, as well. So length doesn't really matter, and you get to certain points on holes where you just can't hit it up that far.

Like you said, approach shots, they mean everything. These greens are undulating, there's trouble, there's so much to it, I mean there's a couple holes out there if you drive it in the rough, we're thinking about laying up and not going for the green. And so you look at a guy like Sergio who is a shot maker, great iron player, has been forever, he's won here and contended a number of -- I think he has two or three other seconds. So I definitely think -- I'm confident with my iron play and that's pretty much everything here.

Q. This is one of the best fields in golf it if not the best field in golf, so to get this win after that drought, what kind of confidence did that give you going into last season and now into this season?
WEBB SIMPSON: It was a huge confidence boost for that reason. At the point of four and a half years without a win I would have taken any win. But to come here, I've always loved this golf tournament, I never played well. 2017 I finished 16th and that was my best finish. It felt like a win because I had never really figured out how to play it here. But I do always love it because you do have to think so much and it's not step up on the tee and hit it as far as you can down there. So I think like we ever talked about before, having Paul here, lives here, from here, knowing this golf course, made it extra special, but, yeah, to your point, it is the best field and that gives you confidence knowing that, hey, the best guys were here and for four days I was able to come out on top. Yeah, that definitely, didn't change the way I thought of myself as a player, but just really reassured myself knowing I feel like I belong in these situations and it made me want to get in those situations more, have more chances.

Q. You said you had to rethink the golf course. What's been the biggest adjustment?
WEBB SIMPSON: Good question. I think a little bit off the tee, but we kind of knew what we were doing there, so a hole like 2, last year I hit 5-wood three of the days off the tee and had 3- and 4-irons in. Well today I hit 3-wood, 3-wood and it might have to be driver to reach the green in two. But the tee box club selection I think will be pretty easy to figure out. It's around the greens, so the miss spots are changing a little bit. The ryegrass is easier to chip out of around the greens than the Bermuda. So for example No. 2, right of the green used to be pretty dead to every pin. Well now it's just a different type of kind of flop shot chip shot that comes out out of this grass than the Bermuda, and the Bermuda's so much harder to guess on how it's going to come out.

And so we kind of redid our miss spots a little bit, and the run-off areas off the green, it used to be really hard to chip or putt because of how grainy it was. Well, now the overseed comes in enough so the ball runs pretty smoothly and so putting from off the green is a lot easier now.

So I think you'll see better short game shots. And like left of 11 used to run down 15, 20 yards; well, now it just kinds of hangs out, it's a little softer. And left of 11 is now playable, whereas before it was pretty difficult.

But there's certain aspects that are harder. The course is longer, obviously temperature pretty good Thursday, Friday but could be colder this weekend with the north wind, and I hit a few clubs yesterday that I didn't even think about hitting last year. 12, I laid up with three 6-irons and a 7-iron. Yesterday I laid up with driver. So I think there's good and bad to kind of remembering the shots we hit last year, but it is quite different and, yeah, we'll adjust and hopefully make good decisions.

Q. Get your thoughts on the new Florida Swing setup, if you like it, if it changed the way you mapped out your schedule at all.
WEBB SIMPSON: I do like it. I like knowing that the TOUR's in Florida for a month straight. It's really hard because I've been out here 11 -- this is my 11th year and so you build memories at these, at each stop, it seems like. And you get to know courses and so it's getting harder to take weeks off. Like last week I took off and that was a tough week to take off. But for me, my schedule, it sets up better this way. It's a better rhythm to my year. I play a lighter West Coast. We had a baby, but I think I would have played a lighter West Coast anyways, and then kind of starting at Mexico I'm starting to play a good amount all the way through the playoffs. But it's nice knowing that after the playoffs we get a couple weeks off and go into quite a few events in the fall.

Q. Why do you think no one's defended this championship?
WEBB SIMPSON: That's a great question. I think one of the reasons is, like I mentioned to you earlier, it doesn't really fit one style of play. I think it's easy to see why Brooks Koepka won back-to-back U.S. Opens. It's a long, tough golf course. I'm not saying Brooks doesn't hit it straight, but fairways are generally wider the last couple years and a bomber should have won. They can hit it as hard as they want, as far as they want. And so you're dealing with a lot of different stuff here and certain winds in the morning; it shifts in the afternoon. I just think there's more factors, there's more intricacies to this golf course, so some year you might come in playing okay, get poor bounces or couple bad club selections here or there, wind comes up on 17, so, yeah, that's a great question, but I think it's largely due to the fact that you just have so many different types of winners and it's hard to know who is going to play well this week.

Q. Are you confident you can be the drought breaker?
WEBB SIMPSON: I'm confident in what I've done up and to this point and that's basically all I can control. I've had a good week of practice and prep, and my goal is to play a great round one, hope I see you a lot this week, be back in this seat, but, yeah, I mean, it's hard to kind of go to the end game when there's a lot ahead of us.

Q. You were one of the elite players coming out of college, played top amateur events and Walker Cups and so forth. And just less than 10 events on the Nationwide TOUR back then and you made that smooth transition and you've been very, very successful, consistently, so the question is, what are the, I don't want to say secrets, but what makes you just one of the top players for a long, long time, and also, if you were to give advice and be a mentor to your alma mater, let's say, Wake Forest collegiate players, what would it be to say what it's like to get to that next level?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, I think Paul Tesori, my caddie, taught me a lot about that, that Vijay Singh was I think at nine wins right when he was 40 or right before he turned 40. And on the range one day they were messing around with his backswing and they figured out some move and I guess Vijay had a certain shot under pressure he hit and once they fixed this one move in his swing he was able to hit the shots he wanted and he ended up winning another 25 times in his 40s. So what Vijay did is he figured out why, why do I hit this shot under pressure. That's what Paul taught me when we first got together at the beginning of 2011, I didn't really know why stuff happened in my swing or putting or chipping or anything, and so when I started to learn my tendencies and I remember I had a one-shot lead at Shriners in 2010 on 17, I got a little nervous, I hit it left in the water, missed the playoff by one. That was when I really had to dig deep and try to figure out, okay, why did I hit it left when I was nervous. What happened? What was the breakdown?

And I remember -- fast forward to New Orleans against Bubba in 2011, 17 has water left, we were tied for the lead and I hit a 4-iron ins to this hole and I was nervous again, same feelings, and I hit a good shot to about 30 feet. And it taught me a good lesson of just understanding my tendencies. Like I even thought about it last year here on the weekend that my tendency is to walk a little faster, talk a little faster, and so I just tried to slow down just a little bit and that was really helpful for me. So I think just being a student of the game and knowing my tendencies, good or bad.

THE MODERATOR: Who is more nervous heading into this week, Paul or you? The hometown.

WEBB SIMPSON: Paul's just ready to get to tomorrow. He's been busy the last few days. He's got a busy afternoon with his foundation, the clinic they're doing, which he enjoys, but he's had a lot going on, so he gets excited for the competition. I think we're both ready to go.

THE MODERATOR: Anything change in terms of your strategy heading into the week in terms of how you're going to approach the tournament?

WEBB SIMPSON: I don't think so. Biggest thing so far is just to get the right amount of groceries for the family that are coming in tomorrow. Five kids now, so we're going through a lot of food quickly. But I'm really looking forward to my pairing, playing with Tiger and Patrick Reed and just getting out there and competing. There's a lot of, I think, emphasis on what is the golf course going to do, and I think what you'll see is if the winds are up the scores won't be that good, but if the winds are down you'll see some birdies. So we'll just plan accordingly.

THE MODERATOR: Awesome. Appreciate it, Webb, good luck this week.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297