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August 28, 2009

Webb Simpson


LAURA HILL: Webb, thanks for joining us, a nice 68 to back up your 66 and your first PGA TOUR lead heading into the weekend. Talk about your position.
WEBB SIMPSON: It was a crazy-long day, getting out on the 10th tee, first thing I looked at was whether the tees were up or not because we were into the wind. It was just one of those days where you have to stay patient, and I knew par was going to be a good score and my caddie and I talked beforehand before taking advantage of the par 5s and the shorter par 4s, just because we knew we were going to make bogeys.
So it was just one of those long, tough days but I feel good with where I'm at and stayed patient until the end. I'm glad to be done and get out of the rain.

Q. This is your first PGA TOUR lead; correct?

Q. Is this how you imagined it would feel?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it's such a great tournament and I couldn't have picked a better time to be playing well here in the Playoffs. But you know, I'm sure a lot of emotions will be going through my head tomorrow. But you know, I'm a big believer in prayer and so I'll go to bed saying a few prayers tonight and come out tomorrow just like I did today.

Q. Are you normally a Mudder? You're from North Carolina, so you don't play in that much bad weather do you?
WEBB SIMPSON: No, we don't. My stats would show that I haven't been a very good bad-weather player, but Canada was pretty rough this year and I played well there. Maybe I'm just getting better and I don't know it.

Q. How would you describe the rookie season so far to this point?
WEBB SIMPSON: It's certainly been up-and-down. I played well on the West Coast Swing, starting the year, and just kind of up and down through March. It's just been kind of a whirlwind, as well, first year playing 30-some events, it's going to end up being right around 30. It just been a lot of learning.
I've asked veterans a lot of questions and I'm trying to see schedule-wise what fits me best. I knew starting out that I was going to have to stay patient through the year to the end of the year. But it's been great. I'm looking forward to next year, having experience and having been to these tournaments before, but it's been a fun year overall.

Q. Were there certain players that you turned to for advice, and do you feel like things were starting to click for you at this point in time?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, you know, we tried to -- my caddie, William, this is his first year, as well. So the caddie plays such a huge role, and so we played a couple of practice rounds with Ben Crane and Zach Johnson and their caddies have really helped William out a lot.
At this point, I missed the cut back in Greensboro last week in front of the home crowd, so that was tough, but I knew that my game was close. It just wasn't clicking yet. I told myself to stay patient and sooner or later, it would come around. The last couple of days, I've seen some really good results.

Q. You got off to such a great start on the West Coast, what happened, because things kind of went south a little quick for you there and you had a stretch where you missed a lot of cuts. Was there anything physically that happened, or was it just golf?
WEBB SIMPSON: Part of it was just golf. This game comes and goes, it seems like, to most players.
But like I was saying earlier, it's been a learning year, how much my body can take, how much I can practice. I got to a point where I didn't play well at the Honda, I think it was, the first tournament in Florida, so for the next month, I'm hitting balls everyday for a couple of hours and burning myself out. It got to a point where I didn't really want to go out and play golf. I kind of had to take a step back and analyse what I was really doing.
My fiancée and I were talking about how when I was in amateur golf, I would leave the course, usually right after the round and so we started doing that, taking a step back from practicing and trying to get most of my practicing done when I was at home and on my weeks off.
It's really -- I've seen benefits from that, so I'm looking forward to keeping in check with that schedule.

Q. What worked well for you today, and how did you play the par 5s, because collectively, they were over par today.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, the first par 5 was 13. I hit a good drive, I laid up and I birdied 13. Then the next one, 6, I pretty much had the same yardage I had into 13 and made a 10-footer for birdie there.
Then 8 was the funniest shot of the day. I had 91 yards or something in there and I was saying, be good and I thought it was perfect, and it flies a yard short of the bunker and ended up being 12 yards past the hole. I feel great with the way I'm playing. Any time I can get between 80 and 95 yards, I feel pretty good. So I'm just going to try to stick to that game plan, even if I have a good chance of going for the green.

Q. In general, what worked well?
WEBB SIMPSON: Just being able to be in the fairway off the tee to lay up to the number I wanted. Because a couple of the par 5s, if you don't hit it in the fairway, you've got to chop it out and you'll have a 7- or 8-iron in as opposed to being able to lay up to inside a hundred yards.

Q. As a rookie out here, how do you make the transition from being awed by these guys to being one of their peers, and who do you look up to?
WEBB SIMPSON: That's been a change, as well, because first couple of events, I walk into the locker room and I see these guys I watched my whole life. You know, I've just been telling myself this whole year that they are just people, too. They are just good at golf and they have been doing it for a long time. You know, everybody has been really nice to me. I played a practice round with a bunch of guys, and you know, it's just been one of those things where the more in awe I am of them, the more nervous I'll be around them and that type of thing. We're all out here playing the same game, so --

Q. Who do you look up to?
WEBB SIMPSON: Ben Crane and Zach Johnson have been a couple of awesome guys to me this year, and Lee Janzen, as well, just looking after me and playing practice rounds with me and giving me phone calls every now and then and asking me how I'm doing.

Q. It looks like your putting stats are pretty good for the year. How important has been being a good putter been to you this year? It's been said that someone in this new generation maybe doesn't putt as well, but clearly you're an exception to that.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I've had the same putter now for five years, and I've really worked hard on my putting the last couple of years, towards the end of college, and last summer, my first summer as a pro.
To play well out here, you've either got to hit it perfect, or putt really well. I've had a couple of weeks this year where I played well but didn't hit it good, just putted good. You start to see the more putts you make under ten feet, you kind of creep up the leaderboard more so than you would if you just hit it really good. That's been huge for me this year.

Q. What was going through your mind when you got here and saw so many high scores in the morning and the conditions so tough?
WEBB SIMPSON: I actually liked it just because I knew that even par would be a really good score. Those days, if you're playing well are really fun because you don't have to go out and make five, six, seven birdies. You can just hang around. I knew if I shot even, I would be within one or two of the lead.
I told myself just to stay patient and make as many pars as we can. The first hole today, No. 10, I hit it in the right rough and I could have probably hit a 3-wood under the tree and run it up to the green but my caddie and I just talked about staying patient. Those holes where you drive it in the rough, or the longer holes, we wanted to give ourselves a good look at a par, at worse. We did that a couple of times and I was able to get up-and-down from the fairway there from 60 yards and from 18 from 60 yards for par.

Q. It's supposed to rain; would you rather it clear up?
WEBB SIMPSON: Either way. We had a beautiful day the first round and obviously today was nasty. Whatever comes, I'm sure we'll figure out a way to go about the golf course.
LAURA HILL: I know someone will ask after you leave: Your fiancée's name and when she's getting married?
WEBB SIMPSON: Dowd Keith, and we are getting married January 22 in Charlotte.

Q. Your caddie's name?
WEBB SIMPSON: William Kane.

End of FastScripts

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