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September 5, 2011

Webb Simpson


MARK STEVENS: We'd like to welcome Webb Simpson, 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship winner. You move to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings with the win. Do you want to kind of talk about what's going through your head right now?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it's been a whirlwind of a few weeks. This is my fourth tournament in a row. You know, I missed the cut at the PGA and then won Greensboro, my first win ever, and haven't really had time to reflect on that because the Playoffs started. So I don't really know what to think right now, but I'm certainly thankful for the chance to win, and having been able to finish the round with a birdie and then birdie the first two holes in a playoff was truly awesome.
You know, to be at No. 1 in the FedExCup with two weeks to go, I couldn't expect anything more. You know, the goal for us is to be in the top 5 going into Atlanta, and it looks like I'm in a good position to do that, so I'm thrilled.

Q. You backed off the birdie putt on 18 during the playoff. Obviously you hit a nice putt. What were you thinking when you backed off, though?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, it was just a tricky read. I had to hit it so soft that it kind of could have done anything. I was kind of putting down a fall line, so I just wanted to make sure we had the read right. We've been reading them well all week, and I backed off a few of them to make sure the read was right, but we ended up picking the right line and it went right in the middle.

Q. How much did your victory two weeks ago help you today?
WEBB SIMPSON: You know, it helped me for sure. But I told somebody last week that -- or maybe even early this week that I feel like next time I was in contention it'll be a lot easier than Greensboro, and it wasn't that way at all. It was just as hard. The shots and the putts were just as hard. I think it helped just calm me down a little, but it was like I had never won a golf tournament before.

Q. I want to say you locked up your card last year like your second-to-last tournament, and here you are nine months later with two wins, you're on The Presidents Cup team, you're playing with the big boys. How are we supposed to get our heads around that in that short of a time?
WEBB SIMPSON: I don't really know what to tell you. I'm not taking any illegal drugs or anything. (Laughter.)
But you know, we just made a change last year with the workout regimen. I hired Back Nine Fitness Services, and they've been great. My caddie, Paul Tesori, he's helped me a ton with my golf swing, my golf game, how to hit certain shots.
You know, everybody around me has been great, my wife, my coach, my family, just helping me stay positive. We've got a process that we're doing. I don't care what other guys are doing. We want to do what we know how to do, whether it works or not. I got caught up a little bit the last few years on what everybody else was doing. We want to focus on what we're doing and try to just perfect that as much as we can.

Q. When you're looking at Chez standing there with a wedge to 18, what do you figure odds are you're going to be in a playoff?
WEBB SIMPSON: 1 in 100? You know, it was -- he played so well today. My hat's off to him. But one thing I will say on 18, it is a tricky pin. You know, if you pull it a little, it easily goes over the green. I know he was trying to hit probably a little sand wedge or a little pitching wedge or something and just pulled it a hair. But he played great, he really did. To make birdies like he did on the back nine was pretty special.

Q. How do you get to use a belly putter if you don't have a belly?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, I'm in a win-win situation because the more weight I gain, the better the belly putter should feel. So I try to stick it in there and it sometimes slides out. But I make sure to keep eating pizza once a week.

Q. They speculated on TV that you may not have known that Chez had birdied 16 to get to 16-under when you were hitting your second shot. Did you know? And then talk about the putt on 18 in regulation.
WEBB SIMPSON: I didn't know that he birdied 16 until I was on the green on 18. I was reading my putt, and I glanced at the leaderboard, and I saw he was at 16. It just gave me more reason to try to make it.
And then to make that putt -- I thought that putt in regulation might come up like an inch short, but it kept rolling out. When it went in, it was pretty exciting. But I knew it was still a long shot, but I felt pretty lucky to get in a playoff.

Q. You guys were seen chatting after the first playoff hole. What do you guys say under those circumstances?
WEBB SIMPSON: You know, Chez is a friend. He's a great guy, one of the best guys on TOUR. So he was really complimentary of me. We were just wishing each other luck and may the best man win.

Q. Were those the words?
WEBB SIMPSON: I can't really remember to be honest.

Q. I'm trying to remember, you answered this already, but what high-priced eatery did you go to after you had won the Wyndham?

Q. That's how you celebrated?

Q. And the hammer move with the balls going in on the putts, is that something you've been practicing, or is that just a spontaneous eruption that's popping out of nowhere?
WEBB SIMPSON: No, I mean, I don't really know what I'm going to do. I thought before I putted, how am I going to react if this goes in, and then I told myself, you're an idiot, you're getting way too far ahead of yourself. But yeah, it just happened. Tiger has got kind of the other way, so we've got to figure out something different than what he's doing.

Q. Where are you going to eat after this one? Are you going to find another Wendy's?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, Wendy's or McDonald's probably. Got to keep it going, you know.

Q. After the PGA, sort of where were you mentally, and were you thinking that you might be close to sort of turning things around?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, it's funny because I missed the cut at the PGA by four or five shots, but the 15th hole in the first round I figured out something with my putting. I felt like that was huge. I noticed that I was taking less time to aim the putter on the course than on the putting green, and so the rest of the tournament I putted great.
I didn't really care that I missed the cut there at all because I knew that we had figured out something big. The last few weeks of putting have been great.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the technique of using the belly putter and how long you've been using it and why you went to it?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah. Freshman year at Wake Forest I was down in Pinehurst. This was 2004, and I'm with my family down there. And belly putters, not many guys were using them. I had had an inconsistent first semester at Wake putting, so I tried to see if there was anything out there. I tried the belly putter honestly as a joke. I thought in my head I'll never use this thing. I took it out on the putting green and I made everything, and I went out on the course with my dad and putted really well. You know, the only hesitation was I knew when I got back to campus my teammates would probably make fun of me.
But I went back, and they saw me putting with it, and I actually got Kyle Reifers, who's two years older, he was kind of making fun of me, but he saw me putt with it and then he switched and then he won his first college tournament a couple weeks later. So that was kind of how it started.
The way I do it, I just anchor it kind of to the top left corner of my belly button. I putt cross-handed because I think it releases the putter head a little easier. Other than that, I haven't changed a whole lot.

Q. I'm just wondering, speaking of wrapping your head around something, $1.44 million today and $10 million on the horizon. Does that affect you when you see that number the same way it would affect me?
WEBB SIMPSON: You know, we're so fortunate on the TOUR to play for the kind of money that we do. But you know, the joy I get from what I do is not in the money, it's just -- it's getting in Playoffs, just making big putts when I need to. So I don't really think about it that much. It's certainly an added bonus. But you know, I think I speak for the TOUR that we do it for the thrill of trying to win and trying to become better players.

Q. For those who might not follow golf hard core, they see that you won twice now in three weeks, they see that you're maybe at the top of the FedExCup list and might wonder who you are. Do you consider yourself one of the best players on TOUR? Is this a spot that you feel comfortable in?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, you know, the goal that I set out to accomplish is to be one of the best players in the world, if not the best. But you know, I don't set result-oriented goals for myself. I just try to get up every day and do the most I can to improve my game. So I do feel comfortable near the top, and you know, I want to expect that I can play with the guys who are the best players in the world. Fortunately right now things are going well for me, but I know this is a fickle game and I know there's ups and downs and I'm sure I'll have a time where it's not going near as well, and it won't be as easy. But just all I really try to do is keep improving.

Q. If you want to call it karma, kismet, divine intervention, but you've kind of gotten your share since the moving ball thing with Bubba. It's kind of all happened for you. Are you a believer in that type of thing, that maybe you had one or two coming?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, you know, what happened with Bubba was a no-brainer for me. I don't even want to say it was the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do. I think every other player on TOUR would have done the same thing.
And so the way I look at it is maybe next time I'm in that situation things might work out. But you know, it was unfortunate at the time and it hurt at the time, but I knew I was close. It was the second time that year I had really had a chance to win, and all we tried to do from there to now was put ourselves back in that situation and see if we can do better and not let that ball move.

Q. Will you take some time off - you talked about playing four straight weeks - to relax and maybe celebrate a little bit?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, we're going to -- my wife and I and little boy are going to go home tonight, and we're going to just probably do nothing for a few days, and then I'm actually going to Pinehurst with some buddies this coming weekend. We do it once a year, and we're going to play some golf. Certainly we'll relax the next few days because we're playing a lot next weekend.

Q. How might you celebrate with your buddies at Pinehurst?
WEBB SIMPSON: You know, I just love hanging out with them. We probably won't do a whole lot. This might sound dorky, but we'll just play a lot of golf and watch sports. There's not too much excitement with me.

Q. On 13 your drive went to the left and it was down in a valley a little bit and you had to get onto the green from there. Do you know what happened to your drive there?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I just -- sometimes in my transition I hang back a little bit with my weight, and it causes my wrist to kind of flip the club and close the club face. That's pretty much all that happened. I think that was the only one of the day I hit left.

Q. Do you know it actually hit a camera and bounced backwards into that valley? Did you know that?
WEBB SIMPSON: I didn't know that.

Q. Yes.
WEBB SIMPSON: Did I break the camera?

Q. No, you didn't. But it could have bounced anywhere. Was that a good spot to be in considering that?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I didn't think we'd have a shot down there. I knew there was a ton of trees and a big hill, so when I got up there I was pretty excited.

Q. You don't come across as a guy who really needs any time off in the sense that you seem very relaxed and so forth. Is that your general demeanor?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I'm a pretty laid-back guy. I never get too excited. But don't get me wrong, I do need a week off. Last couple days I looked at my wife in the hotel room and told her I was pretty burned out and ready to get home. She couldn't wait to get home. It was funny, she told me, I asked her, "How were you on the back nine?" And she said, she was like, "You know, starting the day I wasn't really thinking about winning at all, I was just ready to get home. And then once you made all those birdies and the eagle I was right there for you and I was right in it." But she's great, and we can't wait to get home.
MARK STEVENS: Webb, thank you very much, and good luck the rest of the Playoffs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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