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October 20, 2013

Webb Simpson


THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Webb Simpson, 2013 Shiners Hospitals For Children Open winner.  You're now a four‑time winner on the TOUR.  If you want to kind of take us through the final round, and you ended up with a six‑shot lead.  If you want to talk about the final round and then we'll open up with some questions.
WEBB SIMPSON:  Well, I felt better about it than that.  You know, my one thought and goal for today was I wanted to come out and play aggressive and keep making birdies, but play smart and somehow try to gauge how the golf course was playing to determine whether guys were shooting low or not.  I never looked at a board till‑‑ well, I never looked at a board all day.  I asked my caddie‑‑ the first time I asked him was 17, if I needed to know anything, and he said no, we're in control.  Just keep hitting shots.
But just really thankful.  I know I couldn't have done this without my God, Jesus Christ.  I felt peace from Him all day.  I did a lot of praying out there just to stay calm and stay in control of my emotions, and I owe all the credit to Him.  Thankful that my wife came 2000 miles away from Charlotte to see me come up 18.  That was really special and it feels really nice to finally get a W in this calendar year.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
WEBB SIMPSON:  It was a little frustrating.  My main goal every year is to get better.  I thought I was getting better.  Just I wasn't in contention enough.  I only had a couple of real chances to win.  You know, I finished fourth at East Lake, but it was a final round.  You know, I came from way back.  So it was frustrating.
I never really doubted anything.  I didn't think we were missing anything.  I just thought it was just a matter of time before it happened and I owe a lot of credit to my caddie, Paul, for continuing to give us a good game plan.  And I've seen my swing coach, Ted Kiegel, a lot the past few months, and we got a nice kind of instructional team going right now.  And I felt if we just stuck with that sooner or later I thought I'd get a victory, and I'm just thrilled to have gotten it done.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
WEBB SIMPSON:  A little bit.  I mean it just helps getting in that position a lot more knowing what to expect.  I was happy to play with my buddy, Chesson, and you know, I'm not a big talker on the golf course, but when I do play with someone who jokes a lot like Bubba or Chesson did today, it loosens me up a little bit.
But yeah, I definitely drew on those experiences in the sense of knowing when to go at flags, knowing when to play safe.  And it always helps when you're playing with a lead, you're in control, and when you're in control, you kind of control your golf shots and your ball a little better, I feel like, rather than around the lead trying to make birdies, trying to force the issue.

Q.  (Inaudible) given the way the course was with the greens?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Not really.  I mean 16 I would have played the same no matter what.  I aimed 40 feet left of the hole.  And 17 was kind of the same idea.  I mean I didn't want to aim it in the bunker, so I aimed it just inside the fringe, and I was glad I hit a good shot there because I had a one‑shot lead in 2010 and I hit it in the water.
So I was thinking about it a little bit, and I just wanted to make another good swing.  And 18, the only thought I had was don't go left, and that's why I hit it 60 yards right.  But I knew that the golf tournament was over if I could just get it over that ravine.

Q.  (Inaudible).
WEBB SIMPSON:  I didn't know that.  I figured‑‑ I knew Jason was‑‑ I saw him birdie 11 and 12, I think.  But I didn't know anything.  I mean I really didn't know anything.  It was a guess.  And I didn't say anything to Paul until 16‑‑ after we hit our second shot‑‑ or after I hit my tee shot, I asked him, do I need to know anything, and he knew what that meant.  That meant if we're one ahead or somehow tied for the lead, I need to know to keep making birdies, but he told me, no, we're going to keep hitting, executing shots, so I kind of figured that I was three or four up at that point.  And then after I hit it on the green on 17, I asked him and he said it's up to us.  We're in control.

Q.  Was that a surprise that your wife came in?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah, we talked last night.  She's done this quite a few times.  If I'm in contention, she'll fly out.  And that was a big sacrifice for her coming from Charlotte.  But we talked about it last night after I got done, and she was already looking at flights.  And it was a long trip for her; there was no direct flight, so she connected in Atlanta, but I was just so happy to see her on 18.  She got here, she said, on 14, but she told me not to look for her.  She wanted me to stay focused, and I saw her on 18, and it was so nice to have her here.

Q.  (Inaudible).  Made a bogey, came right back and birdied the next hole.
WEBB SIMPSON:  It was big, especially today, I think 13 was huge for me because I hit a great drive and that's a tough tee shot to get in the fairway.
And over that green is pretty dead, and we were just trying, whatever we did, not to hit it over.  And I put myself in a tough spot on that bunker, so making that 10‑footer was big for me.  I feel like if I had missed that one, I would have really, you know, bogeyed the hole before, didn't birdie that hole, it would have been tough.  So that was a huge putt, maybe the biggest putt of the day for me.

Q.  Your assessment of your ball striking.
WEBB SIMPSON:  I think, you know, for the whole week it was my best ball‑striking tournament yet.  You know, I had a couple of moments where we swung it poorly for a few holes, but we were able to bounce back.  And that was big for me, especially yesterday I didn't swing well through the first 11 holes, and he gave me a couple of swing thoughts coming in and I hit some good shots on the last seven holes, which was a big confidence builder for me today.  And today just came out hitting it good from the start and it just felt really good all day.

Q.  Have you guys been working on your ball striking?
WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah, we've been trying to just turn more on the back swing, and I have a tendency to start my down swing with my lower body as my arms and club are still going back.  So we just really worked on big turn and having everything set before we start the down swing, and that's really the only two things we've worked on the past couple months.

Q.  Could you sense the energy on the course today, are the grounds different, especially from the last time you were here, the fact that you were in the lead, and also just it seemed like there was just a better vibe today than the other three days.
WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah, I think so.  I mean what Shriners has done, stepping up and becoming part of FedExCup year, increasing the purse, I think all that's good for‑‑ it's obviously good for us, but I think it's good for the fans and what they're trying to accomplish as a group.
You know, for us to play for a full purse and full FedExCup points, I mean it gets our interest more as well.  I mean before, the kind of story line was who's going to move up and try to keep their card.  Well, now it really matters a lot more.
And so I think, you know, players feel it, feel the difference, and we're really glad and thankful that the increase in the purse and the FedExCup points were here.

Q.  Did you think much about this being your first win since the U. S. Open?  Was that kind of wearing on you at all?
WEBB SIMPSON:  A little bit.  I thought about it being a year and a half since I won, but never too negative, never thinking I can't win again or anything like that, because I knew I was getting better.  I knew I just had to stay patient, and all four wins I've had have just kind of come to me, and knowing that, I think, helped and took a little pressure off.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks for your time, Webb.

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