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October 13, 2011

Webb Simpson


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Webb Simpson into the interview room here at the McGladrey Classic after a 7-under par 63, just one bogey on the card. Great start. If we can just get some comments on your round.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it was a good day. Like I said yesterday, I got two weeks off, so I think more than anything, I'm just rested and my body is in better shape rather than Atlanta where I was pretty tired.
That being said, I had a fresh mind and played well, kept the ball in front of me, and I think more than anything, I just kind of took advantage of the holes where I hit it close and birdied the par-5s. I didn't quite realize I made eight birdies until the end, but overall it was a pretty easy, breezy day.
JOHN BUSH: T12 here last year with four rounds in the 60s. Talk about your comfort level on this course.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I like it. Only living four and a half hours away, a lot of people were surprised I had never played it until last year. My first impression was -- I was pretty excited about playing it. It's right in front of you. It's fair, but it's also tricky. I love the layout, a lot of the holes fit my eye, and I like when the wind blows. You've just got to think your way a little bit more around the golf course.

Q. I know you had a real heavy schedule leading up to the TOUR Championship, but did you ever consider not playing any of the fall events, or even at the point where you were most weary, did you still think you'd come out for one or two?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, my first year on TOUR, I said after some tournament that -- maybe it was Chicago, that I was done for the year, and I kind of say that every year. But you know, my body is so used to traveling, we're so used to playing golf, and when you do this for a living, you're home for two or three weeks, you kind of want to get up and go play. You get the competitive itch again. I didn't really have anything set in stone, but I knew it was going to be a possibility. Maybe I'll stay home, maybe I won't.

Q. What are the odds you would have stayed home if you were $2 million ahead or behind on the Money List, if it wasn't an issue?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, it's tricky because this is my first opportunity to play overseas, and especially with the Presidents Cup. I sat down with my wife and my agent and Paul and we had 15 different scenarios of what I could do. It's hard to tell. We were maybe planning on having three or four weeks off here now. But if I was going to play one, it was going to be this one.

Q. If you leave the TOUR Championship thinking, all right, I'm taking some time off, and then all of a sudden this possibility of history, winning the money title, presents itself, is it not difficult to get yourself in the mode you're in now, win tournament, focus, get back to where you were at Boston, Chicago, et cetera? Does that make sense?
WEBB SIMPSON: Absolutely. It is tough. Paul kind of looked at me on the range this morning, and he was like, are you all right? I was just kind of out of it. But I've seen -- I've asked a lot of guys what do they do with their schedule. A lot of guys like to play all the way through December. A lot of guys like to put their clubs up for two months. I did have a little question in my mind would I be able to turn the brain back on and get in competitive mode again.
But I think knowing -- as soon as what happened at TOUR Championship happened, I kind of in the back of my head said I'm going to play one or two.

Q. I know you said you talked about this at East Lake, about putting the FedExCup and the $10 million out of your mind and trying to play. Same situation here. Do you think you do a better job of it here, or is it just the fact that you were fresh?
WEBB SIMPSON: You know, when guys say they block it out, I mean, I don't -- there's no way I can go play this golf tournament without thinking about the money title. I'm thinking about it every day. But I'm not over shot thinking this is the money title. It's more I'm just trying my best to get focused on winning the golf tournament as opposed to the Money List.
I mean, if a guy has a goal to win a golf tournament in the following year, he's not going to show up at each tournament saying I've got to win this one. Part of the golf process, we've kind of got to let it come to us, let it happen. As soon as I try to make three birdies in a row, it never happens. That in mind, I just try to do as good as I can, and we'll just add it up at the end.

Q. Looked like a couple times on the back nine you had a tough time deciding on a club. Was that the wind picking up a little bit?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it was getting a little gusty. I backed off it a few times on the fourth hole. We were just kind of going back and forth. But I think that's what this -- one of the things this golf course is most known for is how the wind can just whip up off the water. That's kind of one of its best defenses.

Q. Tournament winner now and Presidents Cup team, things like that. Obviously for someone who's won some tournaments, obviously the next step is winning majors. What one or two things about your game needs to get better to give yourself a consistent chance to contend in those events?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think number one is experience, and number two, I think being able to hit more quality shots down the stretch when I want to. You know, although I won Deutsche Bank, I hit two poor shots into 18, both in regulation and in the playoff. I asked my caddie at the beginning of the year, what do you think I need to work on to win golf tournaments and majors, and kind of since I've won a golf tournament it's kind of move onto the next thing, and Paul kind of agrees that we've got to be more on command, hit the big shots when we want to.

Q. When did you make the decision? Can you give me the time frame, about playing here? What did you and Thomas sit down?
WEBB SIMPSON: Friday at 4:50. No. It was basically -- if I want to win the money title, then we're going to play, and if not, then it was just going to be kind of a last-minute decision, see how I feel. I knew if things worked out to where we could -- we had to switch a couple tournaments in the off-season to make it work, but I just did not want to play nine golf tournaments the rest of the year. So once we kind of did that and smoothed things over, then it was a no-brainer.

Q. What does your schedule look like after this, and how did it change if you had not played here?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, we're playing -- I'm playing in Singapore, the week before The Presidents Cup, and then playing The Presidents Cup. Then I've got a week off and I'm playing Chevron and then Shark Shootout. But there's a couple tournaments in Asia, Malaysia, China and China that we were trying to shuffle around and see if it would work.
You know, like I said, this is new. I don't want to be away from my family for a month, so I'm kind of weighing how long can I be away from them, plus the opportunity to play in great tournaments that I've never played. There's a lot of thought going into it, but more than anything, I think I'm one of the few players out here more than any other that I really need rest. I don't function well when I'm tired.
A lot of guys can do it. I mean, Luke Donald plays four or five in a row and doesn't ever finish out of the top 10.

Q. Were you considering HSBC event, the world event in Shanghai, if you didn't play at all after the --
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, we went back and forth, and I've always wanted to go to China, but it was just -- it was kind of that -- right on the threshold of too long away from the family, and they can't come out -- well, they could, but after a nightmare flight on the way home from the British we're not going to do that again. We got delayed in Gatwick for four hours and a ten-hour flight home, and he couldn't go to sleep, and we were getting mean looks from everybody, and I told my wife I'm never doing that again.

Q. (No microphone.)
WEBB SIMPSON: It was all in theory. I don't think I committed to anything before I was set in stone. You know, the week of Chicago, we had one schedule, and then a week later we had a totally different schedule.

Q. Davis was a little concerned yesterday because there's been a little bit more rain, at least leading up to the tournament, than last year, and he said today might be a little soft. Is it playing that much harder than last year? Did they fiddle around with some pins and things like that to still make it a pretty good test?
WEBB SIMPSON: They did. I told Paul, Paul wasn't here last year, there was six Sunday pins today, and they were really tricky pins on a few holes that will make you think not only on your approach shots but also your putts. I had a couple putts that went up and down right at the hole. I probably did a good job. I don't think it's going to get too much windier out there, but they did use a few of their toughest pins.

Q. Why Singapore over the Aussie Open?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, original plan was to maybe go to China and Singapore both. I know most guys are going to Australia, but to be honest, I don't really know. Paul asked me, why are we going to Singapore when most people are going to Australia? I know Phil is playing Singapore and David Toms is, but I don't really know.

Q. You might have actually committed there. That would be my guess. I'm just making that up.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine.
JOHN BUSH: Let's go through the card real quick. Birdie on No. 10?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, 10, I hit a pitching wedge in there about six feet, made a nice putt.
Birdied 14, hit a drive in the left rough, had a good lie, hit it to about four feet with a 9-iron.
15, I hit it on in two and I had 15 feet for eagle but I had to make a six-footer for birdie coming back.
16, I hit a 12-, 15-footer for birdie.
Stupid bogey on 18, I was in the middle of the fairway and hit 7-iron short right.
Then birdied 2 from about ten feet.
4, I hit it to about three feet.
6, I made a 15-footer from behind the hole on the par-3.
And then 7, the par-5, I laid up to about 60 yards and made a six-footer and parred the last couple.

Q. What did you hit on 6?

Q. What did you hit on 4?
WEBB SIMPSON: 7, between 7 and 8. Paul wanted me to hit 8, I wanted to hit 7.

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