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January 11, 2012
CHRIS REIMER:Â Webb, I think you kind of took all of the great finishes you had at the end of last year and really just carried it right into this year with a great start last week.Â Talk about the consistency you've had towards the end of 2011 and now it looks like it's picking right back up in 2012.
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Yeah, I think part of me wanted a long off‑season because I was pretty tired but I think it was nice to get started again and kind of pick up the momentum again last week.
But it was a good start for me and obviously walking around the first time felt pretty blind there.Â But Paul's been there ten times I think, so he was helping me a lot.Â It felt good; a continuation of last year and I think some of the things I was working on on the off‑season I saw pay off last week.Â I was happy.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Now you're here at a place you are somewhat familiar with.Â Has to be better to know the holes coming into this week, as opposed to last week.
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Yeah, this is my fourth year here.Â Didn't play well my first year but played great the last two years.Â I feel comfortable here and I know all the lines and the course is beautiful, it's in great shape and I think we have a good week of weather.
Q.Â Paying with K.J. and Ishikawathis week --
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Talk to my wife.Â She's going to have a tough time following us.Â I've never played with K.J. and looking forward to that.Â I played with Ryo a couple of times in The Presidents Cup, the first two matches.Â I'm sure they will have a lot of fans out there.
Q.Â Did you miss a ton of putts on Sunday‑‑ or Monday.Â Chances?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Yeah, you know, I think the middle part of the round, I did:Â 9, 10,11, 13, 14, all ten‑ to 15‑footers.Â And that was kind of‑‑ to make a run on Strick, those are the kind of putts you need to go in.
So once I went through 14, I'm four back or five back.Â I didn't think it was over, but I thought it was probably over.Â Kind of missed my chance.
But the thing I was encouraged about that Paul agreed with, was all our start lines were really good.Â It was just speed related.Â 9 was too soft.Â 10 was too hard and kind of went back and forth.
Q.Â The point, the greens just being difficult for anybody, and starting the year, giving yourself chances.
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Absolutely.Â The new putting stat, strokes gained, is so great, because it really gives‑‑ it's a non‑biased stat.Â We finished the tournament ninth in strokes gained, which we thought we putted average to just below average, and to finish ninth in a great field is encouraging for me.
We saw Martin Laird, it's a perfect example why the stat is great.Â He finished first in putts per green and second in total putts, and like second half, 20th in strokes gained.Â It just showed for him, he's hitting it close all week; but he made a few on Sunday, or Monday.
Q.Â What was your first PGA TOUR event ever?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â I played Bay Hill as an amateur in 2006 and again in 2008 and my first was a pro was 2008, Memphis.
Q.Â What was the difference of being there‑‑
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Exemption, yeah.
Q.Â And being here for a first time as a card‑carrying member.
WEBB SIMPSON:Â I felt a lot more comfortable.Â I was still really nervous here my first tournament but I was a lot more comfortable kind of having the thought of I qualified and I belong; I earned my card, rather than the sponsor exemptions to young guys can be tricky.Â Maybe you've got to know the right people.Â And so you have that weight of, I took a spot away from a guy who has been out here 15 years.
So it was a little less‑‑ a little less uncomfortable here, to say the least.
Q.Â Do you remember your‑‑
WEBB SIMPSON:Â I was so nervous but I had worked with my coach a lot the previous couple of weeks and we had a great couple of days of practice.Â I was pretty confident and I remember I shot 4‑under the first round and I remember playing well here and then second week, Bob Hope.
So I think more than anything at that point we just come off a great couple of weeks back home and it was nice having him here.
Q.Â When you came here, did youfocus any better?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â You know, on the golf course, I don't think I did.Â I was probably too afraid to ask at that point.Â But you know, I had my buddy, William, who used to caddie for me, and I think it was just that type of attitude where we don't really know any better.Â I think not really knowing kind of paid off, because I was nervous.Â I had no expectation.Â I didn't really know what to expect.
But it seems like I feel like as golfers, the more pressure you get in those situations, the more you'll focus and a lot of times you play better that way.
Q.Â What golf experience does William have?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Not much.Â We grew up playing together when we were 13 through 17, but in terms of tournaments, none.Â And when he started caddying, he had never caddied before, except for me in a couple of amateur tournaments.
Q.Â Did he go to Wake?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â No.Â He went to Queens in Charlotte and then Armstrong in Savannah to play basketball.Â So he played college ‑‑
Q.Â Point guard?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Yeah, point guard.Â He's like this tall (indicating).
He had the competitiveness and drive to want to get better, which I really liked.Â He picks it up; he picks up certain things quick.Â As soon as Paul started working for me, I realized experienced caddies, they know so much, they have been around so long.
Q.Â I'm just trying to think, I guess what I want to ask, if William had not taken the ministry job, would you have had last yearyou had last year?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â You know, I don't think I could have.Â And I think William would sit up here and tell you the same thing.Â Paul was so helpful with my golf swing, but also with course management and also just there's so many intangibles that he has that I feel like so many caddies don't.
There's so many great caddies out here, and I don't mean that in a negative way, but he's played the game and he played out here for a year and he understands what I'm feeling when I'm on the second to last hole in contention.Â So having that, and knowing he knows what I'm feeling, I told my dad, if I hit an 8‑iron 163 yards, and I'm feeling a little pumped up and I have 173, most people including William would say it's a 7‑iron, all day.Â Well, Paul understands that when you're pumped, it's just for some reason, you know you can hit an 8‑iron that far, and he'll give me the confidence I need to be able to pull it off; that it's hard for I think a lot of caddies to be able to accept the fact that you've just got to trust the player and trust their instincts.
Q.Â Did you change anything in the off‑season?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Everything new Titleist comes out with, I do test.Â But I'm old school in my thoughts of switching equipment; as long as I'm feeling good with what I'm using and its ability to perform well, then I won't switch.Â I've used the same irons now for ten years, the same ones‑‑ or I've got newer sets but the same exact model and driver I've used for three years.
So I always want to tackle the problem with myself first.Â You know, if I'm swinging bad, I want to fix my swing and then maybe test some equipment.
Q.Â After the year you've had and the way you carry yourself and the whole nine yards, did you get any tempting offers?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â We didn't really take‑‑
WEBB SIMPSON:Â We didn't really take the process that far, because I think Titleist understood their loyalty to me, since I was an amateur player, and they knew that I thought they were the best equipment in the world.
So I think there was just an understanding that I was not going to go shopping really.Â I wanted to play them.Â I think they are the best.Â You know, I think we were pleased on both side of where we landed.
Q.Â Did you get any shopping directly at you?Â Nice language there, huh.
WEBB SIMPSON:Â I think I'm pretty sheltered from my agent.Â I think he doesn't tell me a lot that happens.Â I told him, I said, look, I believe in this equipment.Â I don't want to change.Â I've seen players do it over and over again, and they struggle the next year; it takes them a few years to figure it out again.
But I would rather go in, $2million on the course and make nothing off than win half a million on the course and make 4 off.Â The way we are wired, we want to play good golf and it doesn't matter the other way.
Q.Â How was it that you didn't see the problem with the crack in the driver?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â We started hitting it pretty short at the Chevron tournament.Â And I didn't really think much of it.Â It was cold out there so I blamed it on the cold weather and Shark Shootout was down in Florida, it was hot, but I still wasn't hitting it that far.
Played with Keegan Bradley the second round and he was hitting his 3‑wood with my driver, just past, and I didn't think it was cracked but Paul had a suspicion it was and he checked it Sunday morning and it was cracked.Â Luckily I had a back up.
Q.Â Where was it cracked?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Right in the middle, middle to the top.Â It was just a little hairline fracture but if you run your fingernail down, you could kind of feel it.
Q.Â Nothing you could see?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â You could see it but you had to look pretty closely.Â It was about a third of an inch.
Q.Â How much of you comes into this year as zero and how much of you comes into this year building off of last year?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Say that first part again.
Q.Â Realizing where you were on the Money List.
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Everything starts over.
Q.Â How much do you carry over from last year?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â What I'll carry over is just the experience I gained playing in contention a few times, confidence that I gained through that.
But I was talking to Nick Faldo last week and I said, I have one goal this year and it's the exact same as last year starting the year, that I want to improve.Â I look at my stats, a lot of stats got a lot better last year but there's still areas that need to be improved:Â Chipping, putting, and then driving accuracy I want to get a little better.
Even if it gets better by two percent, I just want to move in the right direction and we are just going to‑‑ Paul and I are going to continue to work on our fundamentals.Â I'm totally at peace, if I make $1million this year, but I feel like I'm getting better.Â I think that's just the whole key.
Q.Â Are you a big stats guy?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Not throughout the year.Â I'm a big stats guy when the year is done and maybe I'll track it halfway through the year.Â But I was like 130th in driving accuracy up until the end of 2010.Â And I look back at all of my good weeks, I had driven the ball well, and so I knew that I had to get better driving the ball.Â That's where looking at stats really helped me, because I started working on getting the ball in play, maybe hitting 3‑wood off the tee, and I think that's where looking at your stats can help.
Q.Â Are there certain stats that you look at and put more weight on it?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Not necessarily.Â I mean, for example, like the greens in reg, I think I was 15th this year.Â If I moved to 20th this year, I won't be upset.Â I mean, 20th is still a great ball‑striking year.
But I don't like to have two great areas and two really bad areas.Â I would rather have all my stats be pretty good.Â Because if I have two really bad areas, it just shows I'm not really getting better there.
Q.Â Going back to the equipment, looking back at the year last year, would it be tempting to change your irons at all or change anything?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â I would only change if I thought that they were going to help me.Â There are certain shots I feel like I can only hit with my irons.Â I think there's a couple of areas I would give up with the new technology; I feel like long irons, you can hit it a little higher easier and I can't do that.Â But I'm willing to give that up if I know that I can hit the ball down wherever I want to under the wind.
So if I feel like overall that it will help me, I'll switch.Â I switched to a 3‑wood and 5‑wood, the new Titleist models, Boston week, and a couple people thought I shouldn't switch, being the second Playoff event, but I thought they were better.Â It's a comfort level I think more than anything.
I tested Titleist belly putters, two of them, all during the off‑season and I really liked them.Â But I wasn't quite at the comfort level to switch.Â I'll definitely try stuff.
Q.Â Did you ever think there would be a point when you were a teenager when you would say something like, I would be totally at peace with myself if I made $1million?
WEBB SIMPSON:Â Probably not.Â (Laughing).Â Probably not.
CHRIS REIMER:Â I would, too.
Q.Â That was a closing question.
CHRIS REIMER:Â That was a good one.Â Thanks for coming in.Â Good luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports