Interview with Webb Simpson

Q. Thoughts on being here in the 2012 PGA Grand Slam of Golf?

WEBB SIMPSON:  And with Pádraig being here being a three time Major Champion, I'm just glad to be part of the mix.

Q.  There was some strong indications from the USGA last week that they were thinking about banning the belly putter.  I've been told that you've been practicing with a regular sized one.  Just wondering if you could talk about that?

WEBB SIMPSON:  Yeah, well, I switched in 2004 to a belly putter.  Growing up putting wasn't the strong part of my game so I wanted to always have the same mechanics with the belly putter if I chose to stay with the belly putter.

What I found was I just became a more consistent putter.  I don't get hot quite as much.  I don't get cold quite as much.  With the short putter, I was a real streaky putter, so in my head I figured if I want to play this game for a long time, I don't want my putting to be such highs and lows.  The best players in the game who have had long careers have been steady players, so that's kind of why I switched.  I just want to be ready.

Q.  If they are going to make it a rule for next year    I think they can't really implement it until '16, so I'm going to be ready.  I was practicing with one at home.  It's not that I'm worried about    I'm definitely engaged in it and I want to know and I think it's going to be    if the USGA bans it, I think it's going to be a whole another ballgame to see if the PGA TOUR bans it.

It's going to be, you know, I think it's going to be tough if they do ban it.  It's going to be tough for a lot of people    not players.  I think it's going to be tough for committees to really have a stance on it and explain why.

I explained earlier, you look at the facts, and the facts last year, there was no one in the Top 20 in strokes gained category that anchored a putter.  So the argument of, it's an advantage, you have to throw that out there.  There's a bunch of arguments going around but I haven't heard a good one yet so wait and see.  But the final say is, I'm friends with a lot of the R&A guys and the USGA guys.  It's nothing personal and I know they are trying to do it for the betterment of the game.  But, I don't think it's a good decision.

Q.  Can you put a finger on why, if it's not to cut an advantage, how does it affect the game?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I don't know to be honest.  I've heard a couple things.  I've heard that the belly putter count was up in the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur, and you know, we all know that the R&A and USGA love to keep golf as original as possible, but I think with the changes in the groove, the golf balls, the drivers, you've got a little persimmon head 20 years ago the size of a fist and now a titanium head 460 CCs; in 1980 the long drive guy was hitting it 285, and now if you hit it 285, you're one of the shortest guys on the TOUR.

To me it's a bigger change to go from that size head to what we play now than the putter.  Now, I think that it's getting more    I think it's getting more attention because Keegan won a major, I won a major, Ernie won a major.  There's a lot more talk about it now.  Twitter, certain guys that are Tweeting about it that half a million followers, so it's getting out.  But I'm not worried about it.  I'm ready and if they do it for next year, I'll be ready.

Q.  Wanted to know what you thought of Bubba's artwork?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I thought it was    I didn't think it was very creative.  He did the same for everybody (laughter).

But when I won the U.S. Open, I realized I would be here with Bubba, I immediately became pretty happy because he's such an easy going jokester and I knew this week would be special with him just to be    he's already in his element drawing all our pictures.

Q.  What would you do for an encore next year?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I've got to stay true to what I've been telling you guys for the last couple years that all I care about is improving.  You know, statistically this year, I made half as much money as I did last year and I won half as many tournaments but I feel like I've gotten better.  I feel good about that.

And I think whether I win five times next year or win zero, I've just got to continue to strive to get better.  There's so many great players right now, so many young guys coming up, and if you don't stay hungry and stay after it, you'll get passed, so just keep my drive and keep trying to improve.

Q.  What will get you into this year, your schedule the rest of this year and next year; do you know?

WEBB SIMPSON:  I'm playing in Tiger's event end of November/December, and that's it for the year.  And I'll be playing as of right now, definitely both in Hawai'i and from there I'm not sure.  We are probably going to play a good amount on the West Coast but we just have to figure out which ones.

JULIUS MASON:  Thanks very much.

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