July 5, 2018
THE MODERATOR: Welcome the man of the hour. Webb, congratulations on a spectacular 9-under 61 today. It ties your career low round in relation to par. Just a few comments on the round. Is this something that you felt coming today?
WEBB SIMPSON: You know, I've had a good last couple days here after a week off, so I was confident. But you never, you know shoot 9-under thinking before the round, today's going to be my day. So it was a good solid start, couple under early, and then hit that stretch, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14. You know, 13 was one of those miracle pars. So I should have made bogey or worse there, but somehow hit the cart, stayed in play, and made par.
But delighted with the round. You know, great start for round one.
Q. I heard your interview a minute ago, and you said the rain delay actually kind of helped you and gave you a little bit of a chance to take a break and keep yourself in check?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I hit a poor tee shot on 13 up in the right trees. I think my rhythm got a little fast. So it gave me a chance to hit 30 or so balls, working on it. Came out with better rhythm on the last few holes.
Q. My last question before we open it up, obviously, THE PLAYERS Championship winner win earlier this season. How much does a victory like that propel you to perhaps put up a number like you did today?
WEBB SIMPSON: It definitely helps. Just being used to leading and what that means for Friday and Saturday and ultimately Sunday. Just more rounds I have in the lead or having a chance to win, the more comfortable you're going to get, and the more experience you're going to gain. So it's definitely still in my thought process as I'm out there. It's definitely still a confidence builder for me that I won.
Q. I know this is a little off topic, but you won the Scott Robertson Memorial in Roanoke not far from here very early in your career. Can you reflect at all what maybe that victory did for you to sort of propel you forward?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I love that tournament. It attracted the best players in the country. I don't think I was a nationally known name at the time. But winning that tournament, you know, kind of made me think I can do this at a high level. Maybe not PGA TOUR, but college at least. So I still remember I got in a playoff and was able to close it out.
I can't remember who I played in the playoff, but really cool tournament to win. I think maybe my first national tournament I won.
Q. Could you just talk a little bit about the run that you went on as you were making the turn and everything? Just the momentum that you had?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, so 8, I made about an eight-footer for par, which is a really great save after leaving my first putt that far short. 9 was kind of a bowl pin, and 10 was somewhat of a bowl pin, and I had a good numbers on those holes.
11, I kind of got away with one. I hit a drive in the left rough and played a big flier and landed 40 feet short, rolled up to three feet. So you don't get those every day.
Then 12 was pretty -- I normally hit a wood into the hole, but we had it downwind right before the storm, I hit 6-iron in. You know, I missed it just right of the green, a foot right of the fringe. It wasn't a hard chip, but it's one of those chips you're not sure how it's going to come out, and I just tried to hit it close. It came out with a little spin and went right in the middle.
So, yeah, you don't ever expect those runs to come. But you know on a course like this, it has its challenges, but it also will give you plenty of opportunities to hit wedges into these greens and they're pretty soft. So you know at any given time you could possibly go on a run.
Q. You're playing tonight. It's a little later into the evening, and you've got a couple hours before you have to start planning what you're going to do for tomorrow morning. So what are you planning on doing?
WEBB SIMPSON: My wife just ordered me room service, and hopefully I'll get back and tuck the kids in, and that's about it. I normally have coffee after my round, but it's a little late, so I might have to go half coffee. But, yeah, I mean, if I could go to bed early, that would be awesome.
Q. I noticed on your wedges it says "Step By Step." It's stamped on there. What's that mean to you?
WEBB SIMPSON: It's from the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, their company mantra is "Step By Step, Ferociously," it just means that every little detail of my game, whether it's working out, mental training, eating, I want to do every step as good as I can, because ultimately it will lead me where I want to go. And the little things always take care of the big things, it seems. So that's just kind of a reminder. Take care of the little things and do the little things really well.
Q. You're able to tie your career low with a 61, but you also look up and you're only one shot up. How difficult is it, especially with three rounds left, just to keep the emotions in check, and not get too high or too low after today's round?
WEBB SIMPSON: I mean, I think I've been in a position where I've played a great first round enough to know that there is so much golf to play. So I'm not really -- I'll enjoy the round tonight and talk to my wife about it. But there's still a lot of work to do.
So I think emotionally tomorrow morning I'll come out the exact same as if I shot 71 or a 68. You know, go out and try to put another solid round together and see where, you know, what the other guys do.
Q. You kind of hacked it out there on 13, and you were still in a little bit of trouble there on your third shot. Talk about that third shot, because you were still in some mess there but you could get it out on the green, make your 4 and keep the momentum going?
WEBB SIMPSON: I was in the high rough, and in that position I'm just trying to get it on the green or around the green. I just didn't want to hit it in the left bunker. That's a tough leave in that left bunker. It came out a little left, and I thought it might get in the bunker, but it kind of straightened out. It landed perfect. You don't really have a great idea of how far the ball's going to go, but it landed perfect.
We were just laughing the whole way up. I mean, if the cart wasn't there, it would have gone in the water, and I'm dropping on a side hill and I would have been lucky to make double. So I apologized, and then thanked the guy for not moving.
Q. Do you change how aggressive you'll be tomorrow because you shoot 61? How does your mindset work after a score like this?
WEBB SIMPSON: No, I won't change anything. The only time I would ever get more aggressive on a Friday is if I needed to make the cut and do something coming in. So tomorrow the objectives and goals are the same. All I'm really focused on in the morning will be getting that first ball on number 10 on the fairway.
Q. Webb, you birdie 16, and we were talking on the radio, a 59 watch. Are you thinking 59?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I'm definitely thinking about it, but I didn't try to do anything different on 17. I just hit a bad second shot, laid up in the rough, and took it really good at that pin from there.
Q. The birdie putt almost went in though. You hit a pretty good putt.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I hit a good putt. It was a tough read, tough pin, back left there on that shelf. But when you're coming in from the left rough to that pin you're not expecting to get it close.
Q. So, honestly, you and Paul are talking about, hey, 59 is out there, and we've got a chance if we go birdie-birdie.
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, we didn't speak about it because 17 is a pretty wide fairway, so I'm just trying to hit it in the fairway, lay it up, and have a good wedge number I'll assume my wedge is good. So it was kind of a bummer to end the round that way after having a chance. But overall, great, solid day.
Q. You missed only one green, 17 of 18, you got up-and-down, 13 the one you missed. All in all, iron play was superb?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it was good, good distance control. I've worked on a couple things my last week off and seeing some good results from the work.
Q. You were so good at THE PLAYERS. Is the game at the same level right now?
WEBB SIMPSON: I think so. That second round is kind of once-in-a-lifetime type golf for me. But, yeah, I'm feeling really good and confident. Putts are going in, so I'm feeling really good about my game.
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