August 26, 2021
Owings Mills, Maryland, USA
Caves Valley Golf Club
Q. Webb, 5-under 67, excellent start. If we can get some comments on your round.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I was actually all over the golf course it seemed like for the first 10 or 12 holes. Got some good breaks with good lies in the rough and just managed today really well. Nice to get an eagle on 5, obviously, and you know, I started hitting it better in the last kind of six or seven holes. I knew it was in there, it just wasn't coming out yet.
Good finish, birdieing two of my last three. I love this golf course. It firmed out a little bit, so good shape after round 1.
Q. Take us through that eagle on 5.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, so you've got it get it up over the trees pretty quick. We had adjusted I think 280, 285 front, so I just hit a really high driver. You don't know where it is. You can't see it. But ended up 15 feet kind of on the back fringe, and made it for a 2.
Q. Correct us if we're wrong, but you played at an amateur level here at Caves Valley many years ago. Do you remember that? Is there any course history, or is it all just different?
WEBB SIMPSON: I do. The NCAA championship my freshman year, played Palmer Cup under Mike McGraw, which was super fun. And then Buddy Marucci was my Walker Cup captain, and he brought, I guess, the whole team here for a few days just to kind of bond. And also I think I've done an outing or two here, so I've been here quite a bit.
Feel like I remember the golf course. It's certainly longer but more open maybe. They cut down it seems like a lot of trees. Yeah, I remember it pretty well.
Q. That Walker Cup, was that the '07 Walker Cup team, the really good one?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yes.
Q. Any stories that you remember from that week?
WEBB SIMPSON: We played a lot of cards those couple of nights, and I got made fun of because I didn't like to gamble for a lot of money, so we played "switch," the blackjack game, and they always would make fun of me because I only would play for 5 bucks. And Colt Knost still to this day remembers it really well.
You know, I think it's part of the reason we won against a really great GB&I team. We knew each other so well. We had played all summer together, and then we'd get here for a few days away from everybody, and you'd really get to know each other, who you might want to play with in the Walker Cup, and obviously get to know Buddy really well. So we had a great time.
Q. Wasn't Rickie a little younger than everyone? Was that kind of the first week that you really got to know him?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I had gotten to know Rickie at the U.S. Am at Hazeltine. I just remember this kid making six, seven birdies a round, and he's still in high school. That was my first impression of Rickie. Rickie was good buddies with Jonathan Moore, who went to Oklahoma State with Rickie, and Jonathan was my partner in Walker Cup, so I kind of got to know Rickie through Jonathan, as well.
Q. Is there more of a sense of urgency this year at this event, being 50-something in the FedExCup, knowing that not only do you want to qualify for next week but you almost need to to kind of make one last captain's pick impression?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah. I obviously haven't been in good enough form to be comfortable for next week, so it's going to take a special week. Atlanta is probably my favorite tournament of the year, so there's plenty of incentive for me to get there.
But you can never force things in this game, and I can't white-knuckle making birdies. My goal today was just to have a good solid start, and there's ebbs and flows in a 72-hole golf tournament, and so I did exactly what I needed to do for round 1.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports