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January 15, 2009

Webb Simpson


JOHN BUSH: Just give us some comments on what was obviously a great start to your season and your career.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, you know, I started out, I hit it pretty close on 10 but I wasn't able to convert. I knew the wind was going to be a factor. I tried to not let it affect me too much. All day I was just trying to get in the red and post something under par, because I knew that would be pretty good after the afternoon scores came in. So I just feel fortunate to get the last three birdies in.
JOHN BUSH: Talk to us about that first tee shot this morning.
WEBB SIMPSON: I was a little nervous. I've played a total of seven PGA TOUR tournaments and that helped a lot. I said a quick prayer before I teed off, and once I teed off, everything was okay.

Q. What was your first event?
WEBB SIMPSON: '06 Bay Hill, and '08 Bay Hill was the next one.

Q. Did you ever qualify for the U.S. Open?

Q. How is this different than Bay Hill?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it's a lot different, because I played a lot of tournaments since June since I turned pro, PGA and Nationwide events. I knew, there's a sense of comfort I felt out there, more than my first couple of PGA TOUR events as a pro. It's also nice knowing I'm playing the whole year, as opposed to one week at a time. Just a little more comfortable than having to just shoot lights out one week and not knowing when I'm going to play the next.

Q. What got you going on last three holes?
WEBB SIMPSON: I made a good save on 6 for par, an 8-footer.
7, I hit it pretty close about six feet on the par 3.
8 was pretty short, it was three feet.
9 was two putts. The last three holes were holes that you have to take advantage of.

Q. Leading after the first day, as a rookie --
WEBB SIMPSON: I didn't put it past myself. It wasn't a goal of mine to be leading, but I'll certainly take it.

Q. Geoff Ogilvy was saying last week, having played at Kapalua that it helps to at least get some golf under your belt before you come to Waialae. What's it like starting out, since your last competition was --
WEBB SIMPSON: Final stage, a month ago. And we have had a pretty bad winter so I have not had a lot of good-quality practice weather.
I just try to work on the things I needed to most back home, and my teacher, swing coach came over with me, so he helped me get settled here. He got in Saturday.

Q. Did you play Palm Springs or any place?
WEBB SIMPSON: No, I flew straight from home. I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I just joined a club, Old Chatham in Durham.
It was a great day out there. With as much wind as there was, I'm happy to get in at 4-under.

Q. What expectations did you have coming out here?
WEBB SIMPSON: Pretty high. I set my goals really high. I don't want to limit myself. I'm just trying to get better and learn each day, and take one day as it comes.

Q. Did you have one of your best friends on the bag?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, he's going to caddie about eight or nine tournaments this week, so it's good to have him out there with me. We have a lot of fun out there.

Q. If you could comment about the comfort level, you said you were a little nervous on the first tee but you seemed to get them out fairly quick?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I said a little prayer before I teed off and just wanted to swing well today. I've been working on my swing. The big thing for me today was trusting it because of the wind. I knew the wind was going to be here all day. I knew if I could trust it and give myself good enough swings, I'd give myself chances and hopefully stay around par, and luckily I was able to get a few coming in.

Q. How was your night of sleep last night?
WEBB SIMPSON: I was tired. Went up to the North Shore and practiced afterwards. I was pretty tired but woke up and I was ready to go.

Q. Do you surf?
WEBB SIMPSON: No. I'd probably die on those waves.

Q. How big were they?
WEBB SIMPSON: They were about 20, 25 that we saw. We went like mid day. They were starting to get big right when we were leaving. It was pretty cool. I'm used to four or five foot waves.

Q. Just looking up and seeing your name at the top of the leaderboard, what was that like?
WEBB SIMPSON: It's a good feeling. It gives me confidence the rest of the week and knowing that a good, solid day today is putting me where I want to be. But it's three more rounds and just have to keep at it.

Q. Has anybody given you advice leading up to this?
WEBB SIMPSON: I've got a great support of friends praying for me. My swing coach is here, who has coached me since I was little, Ted Keegal (ph). So we have been working together a lot the last week or two. I felt like I have a good group of people around me.

Q. Did you exceed your expectations?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I'm thrilled to death with 4-under. I told my caddie that anything under par would be great today, just put us in good shape for the rest of the weekend.

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