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May 1, 2011

Webb Simpson


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Webb Simpson into our interview room. Webb, tough, tough day for you today, and I know it's not the way you wanted the day to end. But maybe just take us through some of your emotions at this point and we'll chat a little bit about the day. I know you had chances. It seemed like you guys were just going back and forth all afternoon.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it was fun being out there with Bubba. He's a great friend and a great champion. I'm happy for him. He hit some great shots and great putts coming in.
We had a blast out there. We were laughing and I felt good about my game pretty much the whole day. First blemish -- well, first main blemish came on the back nine on 12, I made bogey there. But a little unfortunate what happened on 15. I better limit my comments on that rule, because I think it's such a bad rule.
But I hit some good shots coming in and gave myself a chance. Unfortunately, just came up a little bit short. I'm sure I'll evaluate the next week and try to go win in Charlotte.
JOE CHEMYCZ: The way that you two started it looked like you both were about to shoot 60 today.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, the way the course is you'll have a few easy holes in a row, and then a few tough ones. Bubba and I got off to a great start on 1 and 2, and he birdied 3 and 4, and I birdied 5. It looked like we were going to take it pretty deep and separate ourselves from the rest of the field.
That's what I was kind of wanting to do. I think we did that. It got tough in the afternoon, so it didn't seem like anybody made a run on the back nine.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Let's go through and talk about what happened on 15 and the series of event that's caused that.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it's not the first time it's cost me. My ball was five inches from the hole. And the problem with the rule is you get greens like this that they get pretty bare, almost like this table top, wind's blowing, balls can wiggle and move so easily.
My ball's five inches from the hole. I go up to tap it in. It's not like I rushed up there, I took my time. Put the putter down and took it back, and the ball moved about a quarter or half an inch.
The unfortunate thing and the reason I don't think it's a good rule is the golf is supposedly the last gentleman's game. There is so much on the player to call the penalty on themselves. When wind or other natural things affect the golf ball, the player shouldn't be penalized.
Who knows if that happened or what would happen. It was just unfortunate. But Bubba deserves a win, and I'm pretty happy for him.

Q. On the I know final playoff hole, did you catch your second shot clean? It looked like you hit an abbreviated follow through?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I was trying to cut it up against the wind a little bit, and I got a little quick from the top. We said that bunker is better than long. So in a way we were trying to hit it in the bunker and have an easy up and down. Because the greens were getting so firm, that I thought if I landed it on the green that club was going to go over.
I wish it wasn't up against the lip that close because the bunker shot was a little trickier. But in a way we were kind of trying to hit it in the bunker.

Q. To go back to 15 for a second. It didn't look like you sold the putter directly behind the ball. It's like it was several inches back; is that correct? About how close to the ball did you actually get?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think I put it down four or five inches behind the ball. But I think the rule states if you're in a stance where you're going to hit the putt, that's considered your stance, no matter what it looks like. And my putter was already grounded. I don't think it matters how far behind the ball it was.

Q. The other thing was you said this is not the first time that's happened to you. Where else did it happen?
WEBB SIMPSON: 2009 Bob Hope final round. I was in contention, and it got gusty up there against the mountain blowing 25, 30. On the 11th hole I had about an 8- or 10-incher and the exact same thing happened. It just stinks, you know.

Q. How close did you come to making that birdie putt in regulation on 18?
WEBB SIMPSON: It was short the whole time. I mean, it was downwind, downhill. We hit some putts today that are extremely quick. Bubba and I were talking about it on the way back out to the playoff hole. It was a lot slower than both of us thought. So never really had a chance because I didn't really hit it.

Q. At what point in the round did it really become match play with you or did you think that from the first tee on?
WEBB SIMPSON: No, I mean, once when I was 1 and 2 up on the back nine, I was trying to guard against holding on. I wanted to keep making birdies.
Once we were even with each other with two to go, I looked to the leaderboard and it was just us. I knew it was basically match play from there.

Q. You all tried to separate each other on hole No. 2. Can you talk about both eagling No. 2?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I hit a pretty good drive. I thought I hit it about as good as I can, and I go there and Bubba's 40 yards in front of me.
I hit a 3-wood as hard as I can, and he probably hit a 5-iron or something. He hit a great shot. He was probably 8 feet, I was 6 feet. We both made it. I've never played with Bubba, but I got to see some drives today that were just amazing.

Q. The way it finished today with the penalty stroke and everything, does close count today for you?
WEBB SIMPSON: No. The only way I was going to be happy leaving here is if I won. I keep getting closer and closer, and it's going to sting a little. But there is next week and the rest of the year to try to win.

Q. What did you learn most about yourself today do you feel?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think we were -- I think my caddie and I were really pleased with the way I was hitting the golf ball especially coming down the stretch. I was hitting pretty much the last few holes exactly where we were trying to hit it.
It shows that what we're working on is the right stuff. We're getting closer and closer. I just think if we keep up what we're doing, we're just going to have more chances.

Q. Has your family been in all week or did they fly in last night?
WEBB SIMPSON: They flew in today.

Q. Other players in your situation have gained a lot of fans or a lot of people who support them for showing the integrity that you have shown in these situations. Is that any kind of consolation that you'll probably get as many fans doing what you did today as you would winning a tournament?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I'd like to gain fans in a different way. But I've talked to a couple rules officials about the rule, and I'm on the PAC Board this year, so next meeting I'll be heavily addressing this rule.
Yeah, I mean, you've got to call it on yourself if the ball rolls. It's just the right thing to do.

Q. The set-up for 18 today, they brought the tees up, so it made it enticing. But is the hole tougher to play today or easier to play?
WEBB SIMPSON: It was probably a little easier. It brought the little pot bunker into play maybe, but it just made it a little shorter. They figured Bubba couldn't get home in two, so they put us up a little bit.

Q. Do you think you can change that rule? Could you change it and maybe call it the Webb Simpson rule or something?
WEBB SIMPSON: I'm going to certainly try. We're the PGA TOUR, so I think the idea behind rules is to protect the players and protect the field. So according to the rule, in my opinion it doesn't protect us, it hurts us.
If there's wind blowing, you're going to have this happen a number of times the rest of the year, and cost guys tournaments, cost them good finishes.
It doesn't lineup with the rest of the rules of golf which say it's a gentleman's game; we should call penalties on ourselves. So I'm going to try. We'll see what happens.

Q. How did you learn as a kid that the rules are really fundamental to the game?
WEBB SIMPSON: I had a great dad, and he just taught me growing up that you can never fudge on the rules a centimeter. If the ball rolls or you touch the ball, whatever might happen, he said you've always got to call the penalty on yourself.
I think a lot of guys -- hopefully most guys agree with me and would do the same thing.

Q. Did you imagine Bubba was going to be able to reach from the bunker on 18 on the second playoff hole?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I figured he had probably 220, and 220's about a pitching wedge for him (laughing).

Q. How would you rewrite the rule if given an opportunity?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, I think it's simple. I think there should be no rule at all. If you address the ball and your putter touches the ball, it should be a penalty.
There is no way in the world that a player can put his putter behind the ball and cause a ball to move without touching the ball. Just like if you're in the fairway and you touch the ball, you call it on yourself. But if the ball moves, the ball moved because of the wind or the grass. Then you say, hey, my ball moved. Everybody says, okay, end of story. I think it's pretty simple.
I see no good in having the rule, especially on the PGA TOUR when you've got cameras everywhere and guys who are going to play by the rules anyways.

Q. Did Bubba say anything to you after the penalty? Did you guys say anything at all to each other after the penalty shot?
WEBB SIMPSON: Not really. He said a couple of nice things to me on the 18th hole when he won. But afterwards he got a little quiet.

Q. Bubba said he told you at the end to just keep on pushing. Your win's going to come. Do you feel like you're really that close to getting one?
WEBB SIMPSON: I do. I think we've given ourselves this year three different chances to win. That's what it's all about I guess out here. You try to improve, and the goal is to win. I'm certainly a lot closer now than I ever have been to winning. Yeah, I'm just going to keep on trying. Don't give me that nickname.

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