Simpson Returns Home


Webb Simpson is back home in North Carolina. The Raleigh native will be one of the top draws in this week's Wells Fargo Championship. The $6.7 million PGA Tour event starts Thursday at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.

Not only does Simpson enjoy coming home, but he's had success in the Tar Heel State, where he logged his first Tour title - the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro in 2011.

The 27-year-old, who after the Wyndham won the 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship followed by the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, would like nothing more than to tack on a fourth triumph to his impressive list of wins.

On Tuesday, the former Wake Forest All-American met with reporters and discussed the state of his game, what it's like to play near his residence in Charlotte, and what it would mean to win the Wells Fargo, which is held at his home club. He also touched on the proposed ban of the anchored putter, a club he's used to great success. Here's what he had to say to the media.

MODERATOR: We'll start off, Webb, it's a home game for you. Obviously, we know you're a busy guy this week. If you want to talk about your thoughts coming into this week and then we'll have a few questions.

WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, so excited to be here. Obviously, love Quail Hollow. It's my home club. I live nearby, so just a little too far to walk to the course every day, but it feels great to be here. It's the first year I've taken New Orleans off. Just scheduling conflicts didn't allow me to go, so I was home last week, got to play a little bit, and just looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, playing my home golf course and hopefully having a good week.

Q. Being your home course and everything, how tough is it for you to see the greens and them having as much trouble as they've had recently?

WEBB SIMPSON: It's tough to see, but Johnny Harris and the whole team here at Quail, they've worked so hard on getting the golf course in good condition. I think tee to green it's the best I've ever seen it. All up and down the East Coast we've had a tough March. Usually March brings kind of some warm days, but it was significantly colder this year than most years. They just were up against a tough deal with this weather. But I think they're going to be fine. I think this rain's going to help a little bit. I think as a whole, the players were a little - they were kind of wondering. They were reading the reports and didn't know what to think, but I think as a whole, the players are getting some pretty good responses to what they might have thought in their heads. So I think we'll be fine.

Q. What are the challenges of 8 and 10?

WEBB SIMPSON: I think their biggest challenge is going to try to get it to be the same firmness and speed of the other greens. I'm playing in the Pro Am tomorrow, so I haven't hit a shot into them yet. They had them closed last week, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the ball will do. But I know they'll do a good job of setting it up and making it fair for everyone. The good news is everybody's playing the same golf course, so there will be no excuses this week.

Q. Nine is pretty battered, 12 and 13 are pretty battered, 16. Some of the players are out there trying to figure out where they would put pins. How does that change your approach, if it does at all, going into those holes?

WEBB SIMPSON: Well, I'll do my work tomorrow in the Pro Am and I'll kind of do what the other players are doing. I'll get an idea where I think the pins will be. But the advantage I have is being my home course, I've seen every pin. So I don't think they won't do anything crazy with the pins. They're not going to put them on any hills. But I kind of have an idea being out here last week of where they're going to put them already. Again, I think the tendency this week for a lot of guys will be to think too much about where to hit it, where not to hit it, what areas of the greens to avoid. But I think we've just got to go play golf and try to get the ball in the hole.

Q. You've gotten accustomed to being the U.S. Open champion. Can you just kind of talk about how life has been since then?

WEBB SIMPSON: Life hasn't changed in a big regard. It did a lot at first, being recognized more. People, I would sign their hats and flags, and they didn't know who I was, and now they do. So that's really the only thing that's changed. When it comes to golf, I think it's just made me more confident. I haven't won since then, but I feel that I'm getting better. That is my goal always, I tell you guys all the time. It's nice to be - my favorite thing so far is being announced as the U.S. Open Champion. I've played with guys before, I remember playing with Lucas Glover after he won at Bethpage and hearing that I thought it sounded pretty good. So that's been kind of fun to hear and probably my favorite part about it.

Q. Did you have any kind of particular strategy as far as how you would handle that from a business standpoint and looking for more deals, not more deals? What was your approach from a business standpoint?

WEBB SIMPSON: My manager and I had already come up with a game plan of what we saw for me, what fit our brand, what we were trying to accomplish. I wanted to stay within that but also take advantage of any opportunities that might arise. I love spending time with my family, so the more corporate days I do, the more I'm away from them, so I've had to balance it out. So that's been something I'm kind of learning and still learning and trying to have a good grip on.

Q. Where would you say your game is now compared to the same time last year?

WEBB SIMPSON: Pretty similar. I think I'm doing things better now than I did last year. But this is a funny game, so a lot of times your results won't show what you're actually doing. I came into this tournament last year, and I didn't play great at The Masters, didn't play great at Hilton Head and I had a great week. Graham and I both missed the cut by 1 at Augusta and we got into a playoff. So that's why I try not to look too much into the results because you get a guy who wins one week and misses the cut the next, and it's such a funny game. But overall, I feel really good about my game. I've made a lot of equipment changes lately and this year, so I'm starting to feel comfortable with that. Hopefully I can continue to play well.

Q. You were talking about your balance of U.S. Open champion and father. Those of us know you know how deeply rooted you are in your family. How tough is it to walk that line and still give proper dedication to your game as well as those folks that want a piece of you?

WEBB SIMPSON: It's very tough. I've been lucky enough to know a lot of guys older than me and I've tried to talk to them and see what they've done, just get a feel for kind of what's normal for guys out on Tour. That's kind of my gauge into what I want to do. If you win a major, if you play well, if you're top 20 in the world, you have opportunities to do whatever you really want to do around the world. So it's just a matter of how much am I willing to be away from home? That's kind of how I look at it.

Lot of guys told me if you're going to travel and do things whether it's tournaments or corporate deals, do it when they're young. They don't really know that you're gone for a week compared to a day, so I'm still learning. But I know one thing, I'll never regret in ten years from now not taking a deal when it meant I got to be home with my kids. So that's what I try to remember.

Q. Yesterday an NBA player announced that he was gay. If there was a similar announcement by a PGA Tour player, how do you think the other players on Tour would receive that?

WEBB SIMPSON: I hope they would respond in a respectful way. I haven't followed the entire story. I've just heard bits and pieces on Twitter. But I don't know much about him, and I don't know much about the situation or what's been said. I would hope the PGA Tour we've got a lot of personalities out on Tour, so I know if it happened, I would hope that everyone would not do anything to make the person feel bad or to put them down. That's the way I think of our Tour. Our Tour is a place where guys - we know each other and see each other every week. It's different than the NBA. You've got your one small team, but the Tour is kind of like a big family. I don't know, I've never really thought about it.

Q. We're about three weeks out from the putter issue coming down. Where do you stand on bifurcation, and where do you think this thing's going to go?

WEBB SIMPSON: I don't know. I've heard both sides. USGA seems to push back a little bit. They're pushing their time line back, so I don't know what that means. But we have a meeting this afternoon, so I'm sure I'll learn a lot more this afternoon.

Q. Are you still at home practicing with your short putter?

WEBB SIMPSON: A little bit. I'll always have it in the bag when I'm practicing. I'm not ready to make a change anytime soon just because we don't know anything yet, but it's always around.

Q. Do you take a cart to the course each day or do you use a courtesy car?

WEBB SIMPSON: I'm using a courtesy car. Usually my caddy has it, but I told him I was driving it this year, so he's got my car.

Q. So you don't take a cart from home?

WEBB SIMPSON: No, I don't have one.

Q. What do you tell the new guys on Tour about Charlotte, coming and visiting Charlotte?

WEBB SIMPSON: Well, I think as a whole, guys on Tour love coming here. Usually this week is great spring weather and a great golf course. There are multiple areas to stay that are great areas, So I think it's a favorite tournament for a lot of reasons. They get it right. They look at every detail in the locker room and the valet, everything they cover here. So it's easy for me to sell this tournament to guys who are thinking about coming or not.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.


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