An Interview with: WEBB SIMPSON

MARK STEVENS:  Okay.  Webb Simpson, great final round, bogey-free round to win the Wyndham Championship, your first on Tour.

Moves you to 3rd in the FedExCup standings going into The Playoffs.  Kind of talk a little bit about your emotions right now getting your first win and we’ll take a few questions.

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah.  I’m super-excited.  You know, I was obviously in the last group yesterday, felt a good amount of pressure and I think it showed starting out but I just stayed patient.

I was really happy the way I finished yesterday and leading into today I felt a little more pressure and I was nervous as can be, but, you know, my wife and I talked last night and this morning.  I kept a verse in my head that the Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

That really calmed me down.  And I never thought that winning on the PGA TOUR would be this hard, all the pressure and everything that goes on to win a golf tournament, but I’m extremely pleased and I really love the way I finished today.

I thought my caddy and I did a really good job of coming in, choosing clubs but I just thank everyone out there who supported me and cheered for me.  It was just a fun week and I really couldn’t think of a better place to win than here in Greensboro.

MARK STEVENS:  Obviously going into The Playoffs now.  You move up to 3rd.  What’s your thoughts on your position going into The Playoffs?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Well, being in the Top-5 in the FedExCup Playoffs is awesome.  You hear all year if you’re in the Top-5 you control your own destiny and I think — it’s so fun and there’s so much of a buzz in the FedExCup Playoffs to see who is going to move up, who is going to be there in Atlanta to have a chance to win.

So I’m super-excited and obviously in a far better position to win the FedExCup than any other year I’ve had on Tour so I am excited and hopefully next week — I’ve never won so I don’t know what it’s like playing the week after a win.  I heard it’s tough but hopefully I can put this behind me and focus on the golf course next week.

MARK STEVENS:  Questions.

Q.  You talked about — were you more nervous than you thought you would be or did it feel different at all than you thought trying to get through this?

WEBB SIMPSON:  You know, I wasn’t more nervous than I thought I would be.  I knew I was going to be pretty nervous but it was just — there’s so much that can happen and there’s so much that goes on especially in the back-9, and, you know, when I made the putt on 15 I asked my caddy for the first time all day, you know, “Where do we stand?”  He said, “We’re two ahead right now.”

I knew I needed to play solid golf on the last three holes.  To birdie 16 was so huge because 17 is one of the easier holes out here.  I played pretty solid hole.

I knew I had a 3 or — yeah, 3-shot lead on 18 and I was — as soon as I hit the ball in play I knew it was probably over.  It was tough but, you know, it made things a lot easier birdieing 15 and 16.

Q.  Webb, family and friends, the walking around there you had to be seeing lots of people you knew, your family, everything out there.

You let out a big smile at 16.  Was it tough trying to focus seeing a lot of faces that you knew out there and people, family from that were walking around with you?

WEBB SIMPSON:  You know, I think one thing that helps when you’re playing in one of the last groups, there’s already so many people so everybody kind of blends in.  It probably almost be harder if it was a hundred people watching and I knew everyone of them.

But having the big crowd out there, you know, I think it helped relieve some of the pressure.  I played with John Day last year, same kind of story.  We had so many people because of him.

You know, I took away so many positives from playing in front of the home crowd.  They were great all week and they really cheered me on.

Q.  Webb, what is your first memory of this tournament?  Did you come here as a kid when you were 8, 9 years old?  When was the first time you got here?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Actually never did.  The first time I came here I was 16 and my dad is from Smithfield, North Carolina and Neal Lancaster, as you know, is from Smithfield.  I got to come caddy for him in a Wednesday Pro Am, probably the most fun 18 holes I’ve ever been a part of.  He was cracking me up the whole time.  That was over at Forest Oaks.

3rd year at Sedgefield now.  I never played here growing up but I feel like I know it pretty well now.


Q.  Could you talk a little bit about the Presidents Cup and whether that was a goal of yours at the beginning of the year?  It looks like you’ve moved into the Top-10.

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah.  You know, I’m — I don’t really set result-oriented goals but it’s something I’ve been thinking about all year, you know, top best players in the United States.

So you want to make those teams and, you know, I figured if I focus on what I know how to do in my process the things will take care of itself.

To move into the Top-10 is fun and exciting.  I’ve never been to Australia and I would love to make that team.  I played with Steve Stricker in the British Open for two rounds.  I picked his brain a lot about team formats and so hopefully I can continue to play solid and make it.

Q.  Webb, since America missed your incredible stretch yesterday at the end of the round, could you kind of take us through the last five holes if you don’t mind?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I played two really good shots on 13 to about 7 feet, made birdie.  14, I hit a good drive and had a pitching wedge and hit it about 45 feet behind the hole.  That was kind of the first bomb I made all week.

Then 15, I played two good shots.  Hit a 5-iron to about five feet, made eagle.  That was real exciting.  16, made a pretty good swing with the 8-iron to about 15 feet and made that for birdie.  And then 17, I hit driver and a lob wedge to about 15 feet again and made that.

And then 18 was kind of fun.  I hit an 8-iron to 15 feet pin high and left it on the front lip.  It would have been nice to make 18 but I didn’t want to get greedy.

Q.  Did I did hear you say, nothing out of the ordinary last night?  You picked, you know, your own dinner driving home?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah.  My wife, I called her after the round.  She had already eaten in the clubhouse so I picked up the old trust fee Chipotle, I had that about four times this week, and ate it in the room with my wife.  You weren’t going to see me out anywhere.

Q.  Webb, you won with the belly putter and that’s been kind of the rave.  Have you heard some controversy about that at all or what’s your take on that?  Obviously it works for you.

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah.  It’s been 7 years now I’ve used the same putter and, you know, it seems like a lot more guys are using it, Keegan Bradley being the first guy to win a Major with the belly putter is encouraging to us belly putter users.

I think you’re seeing younger guys use it, more guys use it and I don’t know what it is for the other guys.  For me I just like it better.  I putt differently with it and I’ve never really found anything I like better.

Q.  Didn’t you switch in college?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I did.  I switched the fall of my freshman year.

Q.  Webb, you’re another first time winner on the PGA TOUR.  What does that say about the Tour right now?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I mean I think the Tour, I think we’ve seen it all year, I think the Tour, you’re seeing a generational change, kind of.  The winners are a lot younger, a lot more 20s or guys in their 20s are winning this year.

Seems like every other week the young guy is winning it.  It’s really cool because I think for awhile there you had the big hitters winning almost every week.  They’re still playing well but couple guys win that are in their 20s, it encourages other guys hey, if he can do it, I think I can do it.

It’s fun to be a part of.  You know, to see Keegan win last week, who is a good friend, I think he’s 25, I think it kind of shows that there’s a lot of young guys that can play.

Q.  How did you wind up with Paul on the bag and what has he done to help you this year?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Kind of a long story but the short version is I was staying at Nick Watney’s house for the Las Vegas tournament and talked with him a little bit about how my caddy, might end up going to seminary or pursuing another career.

We finished with Disney and as of that point my caddy, my old caddy, William, was going to caddy this year.  We go on a trip to the Turkey and get back and he had a voice mail with a job offer and he ended up going down to Savannah, took the job and I was left with no caddy and Nick Watney texted me that same day that William got the voice mail saying say Paul Tesori is looking for a bag, you might want to call him.

I called him five minutes after William told me.  He took another job.  We did about a ten minute interview.  Actually he did more of the interviewing than I did.  But it was — you know, we just agreed on the phone and that was it.

Q.  What do you guys do to celebrate, go to bed early with the little tyke?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah, we’ll probably put him in the car.  Hopefully he’ll sleep on the way home.  Probably stop at Chipotle (laughter), get some food on the way home and try to get some sleep.  I can’t sleep normally on Sunday nights or whatever reason.  I’m sure I won’t be able to sleep much tonight.

MARK STEVENS:  Couple more?  Very good.  Okay.  One more right here.

Q.  Webb, I know that Paul said you guys played a lot of events this year.  Kind of tired, especially with your good FedExCup ranking.  You didn’t need to come here.  You picked up your first win.

Is Greensboro a place you’re going to look at as a lock-down tournament going forward?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah.  You know, I love coming here.  I love, you know, Mark Brazil, Bobby Long, all the guys that are part of this tournament and it’s so easy to get here.

Obviously I’m — I live an hour and a half away.  I’ll always come back.  You know, even if I didn’t win I’ll probably always come back.  I love coming here with all friends and family around.  It’s just kind of a must on the schedule.

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

WEBB SIMPSON:  Thank you.


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