WGC-Bridgestone Invitational interview: Webb Simpson

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August 01, 2013

KELLY BARNES:  Please welcome Webb Simpson to the interview room.  Webb, you finished 6 under for the day, currently sitting first on top of the leaderboard.  Talk to us about your round and how you felt on the first day.

WEBB SIMPSON: 
Yeah, it was a great start.  It was my first time here. 2011, I was 51st in the world and didn't get in, and last year our daughter Willow was born.  So it was a nice entry round for me into this golf tournament.The course is beautiful.  The greens are rolling great.  And today was one of those days where I just saw the lines well, and my speed was really good.  On these greens you've got to have great speed because there's so much slope in the greens, and the better the speed, the bigger the hole.  They were just going in the middle.  It was fun to be out there and shoot a low number on a tough golf course because it's still playing tough out there with wind, and it was playing long and we weren't getting a lot of roll in the fairways.  All in all a great day.I wish I didn't bogey the last hole, but it's the one area I've got to get better at is when I'm in between clubs, hitting more club and swinging easy is where I've been struggling.  You know, there's always something to work on.

Q.  Can you just talk about how much you knew of the course before you got here this week?

WEBB SIMPSON: 
Well, I knew it all through    my caddie has been here so many years.  I think he's been here every year he's been a caddie except the last two.  I just kind of had to listen to him.  It's hard for us players to listen to our caddies, but he basically showed me where to go yesterday and told me where to hit it, where the lines were, what clubs to hit.  I didn't feel like it was my first time because he had so much experience here.  You know, had I been with a guy who had never been here, as well, I might have been a little more puzzled.

Q.  When you don't know a course, there's things you don't know about it, but there's also bad things you don't know about it, too.  Is that almost an advantage sometimes?

WEBB SIMPSON:
  I think it is.  You know, the more you play a course, the more you see spots you don't want to miss it in.  So there was a nice element of that.There was actually a couple tee shots today where I hit it in the only place I couldn't hit it, so it kind of makes up for stuff, I think.  16, the par 5, I didn't realize how penalizing the bunker was off the tee, and I basically had to pitch it out and hit a 5 wood up there.  I can see it both ways.

Q.  After just missing out in 2011 and then not being able to be here last year, did you find yourself anxious to get out here today?

WEBB SIMPSON:
  A little bit.  I mean, with the incredible field it draws every year, you know, this is a tournament you want to be in more than any others with the majors and the FedExCup events.  You want to play where the best players in the world are playing.  It was nice to finally get in and know that I was going to finally play a tournament at Firestone.

Q.  When you were talking about having to listen to your caddie, is it letting your ego go, or I just wondered how--  

WEBB SIMPSON: 
Pretty much.

Q.  How hard is that, I guess?

WEBB SIMPSON:
  Well, all kidding aside, think when you have a guy that you trust that you've been with enough, it's easy to trust him.  It's easy to listen to him.  For all I know, I'm aiming at bad targets, he's correcting me in the practice rounds.  We joked about it a little bit yesterday.  I haven't listened to him this much since we got together in 2011.  But it is nice to kind of have the pressure off me when I'm thinking about stuff.

Q.  You haven't won yet this season but you've had a few close calls.  How would you assess your year so far?

WEBB SIMPSON: 
You know, encouraging and frustrating because I haven't won and I'm 17th in FedExCup, and I feel like I've let a couple tournaments go that maybe I should have closed out or at least I should have contended more.The Open Championship I was 11th going into the weekend and played terrible on the weekend.  So there's been a few tournaments that looked like they were going well and I just didn't close well or a couple other tournaments I didn't start out well and then I finished well.  So I'm not really putting four rounds together as well as I have in the past.You guys have heard me say it so many times:  If I'm getting better, I'm happy.  And I do feel like I'm getting better, I just don't have the results this year to show it.  Fortunately we've got five events left for the season, or I do.

Q.  What did you really know about this course, and were you familiar with it from TV over the years watching it?  What was it like to finally see the iconic ball on the tee, the water tower and all that?

WEBB SIMPSON:
  It was cool.  I watch a lot of golf, but for some reason I haven't watched much here, so I knew what the last three holes were.  But a course like this with so much history, and Ohio always has golf courses that are in perfect shape, I was excited to get here.  This is one of our best courses on TOUR, tee to green, and the course has a lot of character to it, although there's only two par 5s.  Every hole you've got to think, and there's certain holes where you can miss it in the rough on certain sides of the fairway.  And other holes you're just off the fairway and you don't have a shot.Reminds me a little bit of Memorial just the way the doglegs are and the undulating greens and how fast they are.

Q.  I'm not sure if you're playing Wyndham or not, but either way can you talk about how this next stretch sets up for you personally, obviously a lot of golf over the next six or seven weeks?

WEBB SIMPSON: 
Yeah, I am playing Wyndham, so I've got five tournaments in a row.  This time of the year it's getting to the end of the year, and it's easy to get impatient or discouraged if you have a bad round.  But I think the most important golf rounds for the year are ahead of us.  Our whole season is riding on these last eight or nine events.My one goal going into all these events is that I continue to work hard and stay patient.  Whatever happens, happens.  If I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and remaining patient, then I think I'll play well in these last few events.

Q.  I'm not trying to catch you on anything here, but you said five events in a row.  We've got this, the PGA, then Wyndham.  Does that mean you're taking a break somewhere in the FedExCup?

WEBB SIMPSON:
  No, I'm going to play all the way through and then take that week off after Deutsche Bank.  Five in a row and then a week off, and then hopefully the next two.

Q.  As you said you're feeling like you're getting better.  You talked about this big stretch of tournaments, and I'm just wondering, is it in your mind at all to lock up Presidents Cup play?  Is that in your mind at all?

WEBB SIMPSON: 
Absolutely.  I don't think I'm really even close to locking it up yet.  I think there's four, maybe five guys that have locked it up.  But there's so much money in these next few events that good finishes will go such a long ways. Bill Haas and I were in the practice round yesterday and we were talking about it.  No matter who you are, maybe minus Matt, Brandt, Tiger and Phil, you've got to keep playing well.  That's the attitude you've got to have because if you relax and think you're in, guys 14, 15, they win this week, they're jumping $3 million.  They're going to jump ahead of everybody.Yeah, I'm so excited about the possibility of making the team again.  I think our team is playing great.  I think their team is playing great.  Hopefully I'll make enough to get on the team.

KELLY BARNES:  Thank you, Webb.

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