An interview with: WEBB SIMPSON

MARK STEVENS:  Webb, great stretch.  Closing out to get to 6-under for the day.  You want to talk about the ending and kind of the day in general and then we’ll take some questions.

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah, it was tough start again, kind of been common for me this week or even lately but, like I said all week, you got to really stay patient around this golf course because, you know, bogies are pretty quick to happen out here with the rough and with the undulating greens if you short-side yourself.

Again, I told myself to be patient and let the birdies come and took them awhile to get there but finally made a few coming in.  Kind of the turning point for me was 11, made a really good swing off the tee, was the first swing I really felt confident and free on and confidence built from there and made a few putts and confidence built from there.  It was a really good way to end.

MARK STEVENS:  Questions.

Q.  How have you been able to handle the distractions?  Sometimes it’s not easy when you’re so close to home and where you went to college and all that.  Have you been able to manage that pretty well?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah.  You know, coming here, honestly, my first year in Charlotte, my first year was tough.  I felt a ton of pressure, you know, because you want to do well in front of your home crowd and they want you to do well.

So it’s a lot of emotions.  But you know, last year here I finished Top-10 and kind of broke through you could say for local tournaments and it’s tough when you’re playing bad because you know everybody wants you to play well but when you’re playing good, when I was able to go on the stretch, you felt like everyone is behind you.  It really helps you build on those birdies and makes it a lot of fun.

Q.  Webb, you’ve had a couple chances this year.  What do you take from those opportunities into tomorrow and how much — I don’t know pressure is the right word — have you put on yourself to win?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Well, you know, I saw similarities in Las Vegas last year and Tampa this year.  I got a little quick coming in, kind of with my whole demeanor, golf swing and putting stroke.

And New Orleans, to be honest, was a totally different story.  I felt great coming in.  I was able to hit good shots.  You know, I learned a lot from Tampa and Las Vegas.

New Orleans was just — it was more confidence builder than anything.  Bubba and I both played great.  He’s a world class player and he beat me but, you know, I told them out there I don’t put any pressure on myself because there’s already so much pressure there.

You know, the way I look at it, if God wants me to win, then I will.  If not, you know, I’ll have plenty more opportunities.  But I’m just going to rely on my faith and if it’s my time, great, we’re going to go out there and win my ten shots.  If we come up short, then it’s just the way it’s going to happen.

So, looks like I’m playing with Tommy again.  We had a great time.  We’re friends.  I look forward to it.

Q.  When you had to kind of grind there on the front-9 and the rain came, did that delay help you at all?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I think it did.  I had really nothing going and we were able to get on the range and work on a couple things for 20 minutes.

I think it helped coming in.  I was able to start hitting the ball where I was looking and, you know, looking back, it definitely was a good break.

Q.  Webb, I noticed you and Paul talk a lot out there.  Is that something you’ve always done?  I guess you guys go at it for 18 holes talking.

WEBB SIMPSON:  He won’t shut up.

Q.  It’s him?

WEBB SIMPSON:  He calls himself introverted.  Every time I come to the putting green or driving range he’s talking to somebody.  He can’t sit still by himself.  He’s great.  He’s a good friend.  He knows what to say at all the rights times.  The more we talk, the more loose I am.

Q.  Webb, where do you rate that stretch of golf down the back-9 in terms — you went birdie, birdie eagle, birdie, birdie and probably should have had birdie at 18.

Where does that rank in your all-time hot streak?

WEBB SIMPSON:  It’s right up there with probably one of my top, you know, birdie, eagle streaks that I’ve had.  You know, it came at a better time than any other streak I’ve had just because we’re not getting anything going all day and everybody else is taking it low and, you know, finish the round that way was great.

I much rather finish the round that way than start that way.  If at all possible, we’ll start that way tomorrow.

Q.  The shot, the 5-iron I guess that set up the eagle was about as good as you could hit.  How long was it?  Tell us a little bit about that.

WEBB SIMPSON:  It was 204 to carry the bunker and 210 to the hole.  I thought it was a no-brainer 4-iron.  He thought it was a 5-iron.  When he said that, the wind hit us in the face.

He goes, “I think you’re right, it’s a 4 now” and then I back off, take a practice swing and the wind turns the other way down.  Then I say, “I like 5.”  It ended up being a perfect 5-iron.  I was trying to hit it 20 feet left of the hole, to be honest.  It came off perfect.  Landed a yard on.  It was a good shot and the time that it came was perfect.

Q.  Tommy talked about the swing there at 15 where you make eagle and he makes a pair.  How big was that swing?

WEBB SIMPSON:  It was big.  He was kind of hanging in there all day, I was hanging in there and he hit such a good drive there.  Unfortunately, made par.

Anytime you’re sitting in the same spot and you come off the green two strokes ahead of the other guy, it’s a big swing.  So, you know, he hung in there, made some nice putts.  I’m sure he’ll bring it tomorrow.

Q.  You have to sleep tonight.  How do you think it will be?  It will be pretty restless, I imagine.

WEBB SIMPSON:  The few times I’ve been in this position I’ve slept great.  It’s been a long day.  I’m pretty tired.  So, hopefully, I’ll go to bed and sleep great and our baby gets up at 7 so that’s kind my alarm clock when he gets up.  Hopefully I’ll sleep great.

MARK STEVENS:  One more.

Q.  Webb, I know that with the lack of true superstar in golf these days, there’s always a lot of pressure for young guys to get the first win.

Do you find it odd that people are constantly asking you when you’re going to get that with the success you’ve had this year?

WEBB SIMPSON:  No.  I think I’ve come close, you know, I put myself in this position a few times and been around the leaderboard a few times this year.

I think I’m just — I’m learning how to be a better player, more consistent player.  You know, I think the biggest difference for me this year is that my bad days are around par which last year it was a totally different story.  My good rounds aren’t any different this year than last year.

So, there’s — I don’t put any pressure on myself to be a superstar, anybody else.  I think that kind of stuff just happens depending on how good you become and how early you become good.

And so I don’t look at it that way.  I look at it as more of this is what I do, how can I get better, how can I improve, what’s going to make me be out on Tour and be one of the best players in the world for 15 years?

I kind of keep it day by day and, you know, the only thing I’m worried about right now is the first tee shot tomorrow.  That’s kind of the way I look at it.

MARK STEVENS:  Okay.  Thanks a lot, Webb.  Good luck tomorrow.



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