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August 23, 2011

Webb Simpson


JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Webb Simpson into the interview room here at The Barclays. Webb, once again, congratulations on your win last week at the Wyndham Championship. Just get your thoughts on what that week meant to you.
WEBB SIMPSON: It meant the world to me. You know, I played pretty well all year. I had a few chances to win, didn't quite get it done. So I felt the pressure of winning rise a little bit. And, so you know, to win in Greensboro, the area I'm from, was pretty awesome. I had all of my friends and family there to celebrate with me. So, it was great. It was a good feeling walking off 18 knowing the tournament was done.
JOHN BUSH: And you move up to No. 3 in the FedExCup standings and you're here for the third time at The Barclays. Just comment on your preparations for this week.
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, obviously I had never won before. So I had a long talk with my caddie on Sunday night just about the difficulties of playing a week after you win. So I'm excited for the Playoffs. You know, one of the benefits of playing on TOUR is show up on Monday or Tuesday of another week, and last week all of the sudden doesn't matter.
I'm really trying to focus on this week and this golf course, and riding the confident from last week but at the same time starting anew here.

Q. I can imagine you probably were not out closing down the bars in Charlotte. What did you do to celebrate?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, we had my six-month-old. So when we left the golf course, it was already past his bed time. My wife and I whispered on the way home to make sure he stayed asleep. We stopped at Wendy's and got home and we stayed up, my wife and my caddie and I, we watched the coverage, celebrated a little bit and woke up the next day and got ready to come here. Dinner of champions.

Q. Have you played the course before?
WEBB SIMPSON: Never have.

Q. So you have not seen it?
WEBB SIMPSON: No. I'm going to go out there, maybe not today, but Pro-Am tomorrow.

Q. How does your preparation differ on a golf course that you have not seen? Do you do anything extra or stay longer or whatever?
WEBB SIMPSON: It's a little tougher. I have a great caddie who does very good, hard course preparation work. So I'm allowing him a little more this week than another week.
But if I'm going to get one practice round tomorrow, come Thursday, I'll just try to be a little more aware of certain things. After I putt out, I might look at certain places on the green.
So it is a little tougher but there's a few kind of -- there's a checklist that I'll go through to make sure that I haven't missed spots where I think the pins will be and kind of go through that. I learned on Sunday something that I didn't know, you know, tomorrow. So it will be a little harder work.

Q. Can you wrap your head around $10 million, because all of a sudden, that's a feasible proposition for you after the events of the last 48 hours.
WEBB SIMPSON: I really can't. You know, we play for so much already, and to add that on at the end of the year is a ton. FedEx does such a good job of promoting the Playoffs and it creates such a buzz. You know, I can't imagine the pressure of coming to THE TOUR Championship down the stretch knowing you're playing for that.
But you know, I think it's really nice and a bonus for us players. But when you're in the heat of it, we're trying to win the golf tournament. It's in the back of your mind and it's hard not to think about it, but hopefully you can kind of keep quiet in your mind and just try to compete and win.

Q. With the way the points are set up, there's an even increased emphasis on winning in the FedExCup, winning tournaments. How important was it to get that first win under your belt heading into the FedEx?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think it was great. I said in the press room Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, I said if I don't play well this week, it can't really hurt me for the FedExCup Playoffs; and if I play well, and even win, it can only help just in terms of giving me confidence for the Playoffs.
I asked my caddie, I said, is there way more pressure to try to win a bigger event or a major than what we felt today; he said maybe a little bit. Obviously here there's a little bit more pressure; so I know if I'm in contention what I went through last week will help me.

Q. The U.S. Amateur is 7,700 yards or something. What is too long of a course from your point of view? When does a course get too long?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think when you take the bottom half of the guys who -- in terms of driving distance, the lower half, and they are hitting hybrids into a lot of the par 4s, the courses will get too hard for them. You can't get to certain pins.
But I think one thing that as a player, and I think most of the players would agree with me, you know, the TOUR does a great job of setting the course up differently each day. You take a course that's 500 yards as a par 4, if they can move it up to 460 a couple of days, it adds a lot of variety. It doesn't necessarily make it easier; it makes it shorter, but they have done a good job all year of changing it up. 7,700 is pretty long.

Q. Saw a little bit of your transcript from Sunday night at the Wyndham, and it looked like the belly putter thing came up, which it tends to do. Do you understand the fascination with it, and that some people are just diametrically opposed to the whole idea, and have any of your peers just since the win asked any questions about it? I know there are some guys in the TaylorMade truck this morning who had not tried it were talking about it, obviously three long putters in a row wrapping up wins and an asterisk and curiosity kind of all going on at the same time.
WEBB SIMPSON: I'm somewhat unfamiliar with the reason some guys switched. I switched so long ago, it was my first semester at Wake. Actually it was kind of a joke why I tried it. I went to the pro shop and I was with my dad and I was kind of making fun of the belly putter, and I thought, I just have to make a couple putts with this.
I went on the green, made a few long ones and thought, this is pretty good. So I took it out on the course for nine holes and made everything. I knew I was going to get made fun of by my teammates, but took it back to Wake. I used it, one of my teammates, two years older than me, he was making fun of me for using it which I knew he would but he saw me put with it and he went out and got the same exact putter and won his first college event two weeks later.
But I mean, what guys are talking about banning the putters, I think it's pretty crazy, because if it was so easy, why isn't everybody using it? I think the belly putter/long putter is still in the minority.
If they were to ban it, I think it's pretty crazy. I think it's so much easier that everybody should be using a belly putter or long putter. I hope they don't but if they do we'll go from there.

Q. In theory the longer putts become a little more difficult and helps you in the shorter ones. So if you are like Adam Scott who has struggled with the long ones -- of course he's brooming it; it's not a panacea for every single guy.
WEBB SIMPSON: The hardest thing for me was the speed of long putts. But I still use the short putter to practice with when I'm home. It just seems to help my feel a lot more.
So you know it's cool to see how it has helped guys but I think -- I don't even know if it's necessarily the putter, because, you know, when I try a new club and I like it, your mind starts tricking yourself saying, it's better, it's helping me. I think a lot of that has to do with it, too.

Q. I know you haven't been out to the course yet but the final hole here is going to play up all four days, 295 yards. Having a drivable par 4 being the final hole each day and on Sunday, do you guys like that? Is it a challenge? Something different? Just what are your thoughts?
WEBB SIMPSON: I love it. I first heard that a couple of weeks ago. I think it's great. Not only for us, but for the fans out there watching for TV, because it seems like we have a choice to either hit an iron or a wedge and go for it. So when you're two back coming to the last hole, you're certainly not out of it.
I think too many times on TOUR, we play final holes that are 480 yards and I can see how it would get boring for fans, so I think it will be great.

Q. What kind of putter -- were you a good putter before you messed around with the long putter?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I think putting, even, you know, as I was a kid growing up was probably the best part of my game. And I just -- like I said, it was kind of a joke, slightly out of boredom that I tried it. I'm using the second putter since then, so two of the same putters.

Q. Do you still have the same putter that you had when you switched or have you got a couple since then?
WEBB SIMPSON: I don't think I do.

Q. So you're at your home track in Raleigh?
WEBB SIMPSON: We were in Pinehurst, a Country Club in North Carolina where my parents belong.

Q. Maybe this is too early to ask this question but has your recognition factor changed? Do you still walk into one of our fine malls in New Jersey and not get recognized or is that something that will happen down the road?
WEBB SIMPSON: I don't think it's changed. I was walking behind Jim Furyk yesterday into the supermarket and I heard some crazy fan yelling his name, and Jim Furyk had not seen me yet. And I'm wearing shorts and a camouflage hat, and after they talked you could tell Furyk didn't want to talk to the guy; he was in a hurry. And I came up behind Jim and said, "Hey, Jim," put my hand out, he thought I was another crazed fan and we had a laugh about it.
If that's the case, then that's fine. We'll see what happens.

Q. I know one of the first times you kind of broke on the scene here, you led after the first round at Liberty National two years ago. Coming back here after your first win, is there some sort of full-circle aspect a little bit and do you remark of how far you've come in a short time?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I look back. I was thinking about 2009 Barclays yesterday, and I remember being the 36-hole leader and how nervous I was Saturday on the first tee. So it is cool to think about kind of what I was like then and how I dealt with the pressure and how different that was from Greensboro.

Q. You were in the second to last group off on Sunday as I recall, too.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I think we were second-to-last Sunday.

Q. I haven't looked, I apologize, but where are you in The Presidents Cup list right now? What are your thoughts as far as playing on the team? I take it you probably did Walker Cup and that stuff already.
WEBB SIMPSON: Eighth. Yeah, I did Walker Cup in 2007 and had an awesome experience. You know, I would love to make that team. We have an opportunity as Americans to play on one of two teams, big team events. It will be so cool to be able to represent your country and to play with the best players in the game from your country would be awesome.
It wasn't really a goal when I started the year because I was nowhere even close. But playing well got me into the mix, and I want to get on that team.

Q. What kind of sense of national tried is there among the young American players, especially after international players have dominated the majors for so long?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I think the Americans have been lacking a little in the majors, but I told some guys last week, you're seeing kind of a generational change. A lot of young guys are playing well. I think young guys are giving other young guys confidence.
You know, seeing Dustin Johnson win who I played amateur golf with and Chris Kirk and the names go on and on; it gives me and other guys confidence in the fact that, I've played with them up to this point. They are great players. They are winning, so I think I can win. It is pretty cool to see. It's almost turned into old versus young guys.

Q. When did you hook up with Paul?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, first of January, I called him -- I called him end of December I think, and he went with me to Hawai'i.

Q. Can you just talk about this whole season, having a baby, having a win, a caddie that's been through the wars with some pretty heavily-decorated guys. It's kind of been not just professionally but personally a complete change for you.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I mean.

Q. A lot of different variables there.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, there's been a lot of changes the last couple of years. I went from single to engaged to married to moving cities to having a baby, and a new caddie. So we have had a lot of change. I think having a baby and being married has helped me with my priorities, when I'm able to practice, try and be a little more efficient, because I love my family and I want to spend time with them.
Paul Tesori has certainly helped me with my golf game and how to study golf courses and how to play well.
All of the changes that have happened have been for the good. I love my relationship with Paul.
JOHN BUSH: Webb, we appreciate your time and good luck as you go for two in a row this week.

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