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September 15, 2011

Webb Simpson


JOHN BUSH: Webb Simpson joins us in the interview room here at the BMW Championship after a 6-under par 65, currently No. 1 in the FedExCup standings. Webb, confidence is a wonderful thing. Talk a little bit about the roll you're on now and you sustained today.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, you know, like I said on Tuesday, I think the week off was good for me just to rest. Luckily I was able to keep the momentum in the good stretch I had in Boston going into today.
We got off to a really good start and just kind of made a few really good saves there in the middle of the round and finished with a couple birdies coming in. It was a good day for the tough course and tough conditions we were facing.

Q. You spoke on Tuesday about this golf course rewards good shots and good play and it penalizes those who don't. Obviously you had the good shots today. Where were the key points today where you were really able to take advantage? I don't mean holes but in terms of how you played.
WEBB SIMPSON: I think we did a good job on the holes where we had to -- the birdie holes, you know, like 10 and 11. We birdied 15, we birdied -- unfortunately we hit it in the greenside bunker on 9 and didn't make birdie. But like I said, the pins are -- the greens are so undulating that you can get balls to feed towards the pin. But if you short-side yourself, this is one of the most penalizing courses we play in terms of short-siding yourself.
You've got to think your way around the golf course, you've got to think your way into the greens, and my caddie and I, I think, did a really good job of that today.

Q. Have you taken any time to really reflect on just what you've done this year, or is this tunnel vision, you're just looking ahead to the next day, the next round, the next event, that kind of thing?
WEBB SIMPSON: I mean, it's good to look back, I think, on what we've been able to do this year, given our year last year. But last week is history. I can only build from it, and we still have goals we want to accomplish this year. If I had been 100th on the Money List starting the Playoffs or 1, the process that we want to do and go through is still going to be the same, and we just -- I shot 6-under today, but I felt like there was a lot of areas that need to be worked on.
My caddie and I were laughing about it because it was just one of those days where I got away with a few shots. I hit a shank on 18. It's always a work in progress. I'm sure Justin Rose had a couple things he wanted to work on, too.

Q. You talk about that process. Was there a specific moment where you felt like you were one of the best players out here, or was it more gradual?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think more gradual. I think I'm slow to perform. If you look at my college career, I was one of the best players out of high school, and it took me two and a half years to win in college. And then out here it took me a while, too. So I think it was just -- not a slow learner but just a slow performer.

Q. Can you take us through 18?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah. I hit a good drive and I had a perfect number for an 8-iron. You know, today I had a little trouble getting my hips through the ball, so when that happens, the club kind of gets inside and the heel gets to the ball first, and it was just a cold shank to the right. But I laughed right after. I said, last time I shanked a ball I won the golf tournament, because I shanked one in Greensboro. But then dropped it and made a nice 12-footer for par.

Q. So if you win here are you going to try to shank one every week?

Q. Can you hit a shank on demand?
WEBB SIMPSON: I wouldn't try.

Q. He just basically asked the same question. I guess you hit one in the trees at Greensboro like third hole Paul was saying?

Q. How do you just factor that out? Obviously you're going to have to hit a 6-iron probably two, three more times in the round and not think about it like the rest of us civilians would?
WEBB SIMPSON: You always question the next iron shot you're going to hit. But I don't know. I mean, I probably shank one every other day on the range because one of my focuses in my swing is that I try to put as much force as I can on my downswing trying to get my weight through the ball, and a lot of times that club will get a little behind me and that face is open and the heel gets there first. I don't get too panicked, especially when I've got a guy, my caddie right there with me, to tell me kind of exactly what I did. It's a little embarrassing, but...

Q. You talked about the tough conditions. Could you expand on that a little bit? Was it primarily in the morning?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it was just cold. I don't think any of us have played in cold weather in a long time, and the wind was blowing pretty hard. The rough got a little healthier after the rain last night.
They did a really good job setting it up how they should have. It was tough. I was surprised, I was looking at the board on 9 and I was surprised to see so many good rounds.

Q. How much has Paul meant to you this year on the bag?
WEBB SIMPSON: He's meant the world. I mean, he has 11 or so years of experience, and 12 or 13 wins, I can't remember how many. He brings an intangible to the team. I don't know if I could have won this year without him. I don't think I could have, just for so many reasons. He's so knowledgeable on the golf swing, and he just really helped me improve as a player and believe in myself, and it's been great.

Q. How long were you without? In other words, when William went into the youth ministry, how soon before you got Paul? Had you spent much time with him before, and how did that process happen there?
WEBB SIMPSON: The short version is I stayed with Nick Watney during the Las Vegas tournament, and I had mentioned to him that William was unsure about caddying this year. Fast forward two weeks later, William gets a job offer, calls me, tells me he's going to go check it out, and my mind starts going, who am I going to hire. And so Nick Watney's caddie Chad and Paul obviously are really good friends, and so once I found out that William was taking the job, Nick texted me saying Paul is looking for a job. So I called him immediately five minutes after William told me he took the job.
I tell people that he interviewed me more than I interviewed him on the phone. He asked me more questions. But I knew his record, I knew how well respected he was, so I didn't really care what he had to say, I just wanted him on the bag.

Q. What kind of questions did he ask you?
WEBB SIMPSON: Just what I want to do with my career, do I want to be the best player in the world, what are my goals, those type of things.

Q. Did he ask you if you worked Christmas and Easter?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I told him I'd give him a few more days off than what he's used to. (Laughter.)
JOHN BUSH: Let's go through your card. Four birdies in your first six holes starting on No. 10.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, 10, I hit a drive in the right rough and I hit a 54-degree to about a foot.
11, I hit a 9-iron from 135 yards to six feet.
13, I hit a pitching wedge from 130 to about ten feet.
15, par-5, I chipped it from the front fringe to a couple of feet.
6, I hit a 5-iron about 16, 17 feet behind the hole, made a nice putt there.
8, I hit a sand wedge from 110 yards to probably seven feet.

Q. Is it a little bit of a blur for you? Here we are three weeks after you closed the deal on your first one when you were just really getting your teeth sunk into this. Now you're up there within striking range.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I mean, it's easy to get caught up in it, and it's easy to get thinking about $10 million and all that kind of stuff. But the reason we were able to win, I think, the main reason is that we've got to do what we're set out to do. We're going to work on the things we need to work on regardless of where we stand. So I think that's kind of been our driving force here lately. And the more I can think about, hey, how can we get better for tomorrow, the better I'm going to play.

Q. If you had to vote for Player of the Year right now, who would it be?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think it's been one of those years where you could argue a few players. I mean, it's hard to -- right now in my opinion to argue against Luke Donald. He's played so well all year. Keegan Bradley has won a major and another tournament. So I think I've got to earn my way there. I think I need to play really well this week and next week to still be in the mix.
JOHN BUSH: Webb, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

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