Defending U.S. Open champ Simpson excited to play at Merion

Posted Monday, Jun. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Webb Simpson claimed the 2012 U.S. Open title by defeating Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson by one stroke at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He has played many times at Merion Golf Club, site of this week’s title defense, including the 2005 U.S. Amateur at Merion. During a recent teleconference, Simpson called Merion his “favorite golf course in the world” and answered a number of questions. Among them:

Why is Merion your favorite course?

What it demands out of the players is so different than most golf courses … where every par-4 is 500 yards and you hit driver on every hole. Merion’s the opposite. I only hit a few drivers. You hit a lot of irons off the tee. I like that style of golf. There’s a lot of intricacies with Merion that a player will go around the first time and not see them all. For me to try to defend such a big title, it’s an honor. It’s even more of an honor at a place I love.

How has your life changed as a U.S. Open champion?

Just being recognized more. When I used to sign autographs, the kid would ask the mom who I was. And, sometimes, she would say, “I don’t know who that is.” But now, people know who I am more. … When it comes to golf, a lot has changed. I made it to fifth in the world [rankings] after the U.S. Open. My confidence just skyrocketed. What it did is it proved to me that in the most pressure-packed situation, I know what to do, I know what to expect and I was able to perform under the pressure.

What is the key to success at Merion?

I look at it as two different golf courses. Through the first 13 holes, if you drive it well, you can have nine wedge opportunities. And then the last five are going to be some of maybe the hardest holes that we have ever had in the U.S. Open. I think a guy with a good wedge game and a good mind will have the advantage.

Based on your knowledge of this course, do you expect a low-scoring Open?

No. It’s one of those golf courses that you give a lot of respect. Even though the course might be a little shorter, even par’s going to be an incredible score out there.

Do you track the leader board closely on Sunday when you are in the mix to win?

I normally do look at leader boards at regular tournaments because most golf courses you can play more aggressively and have a little more risk-reward. But at the U.S. Open, you have to remain patient all day. To make a birdie is almost impossible. I’ll try to take one hole at a time. That’s what I’ll try to do at Merion. There’s no need for me to look.

There are a lot of risk-reward holes at Merion. Does one stand out to you?

No. 11 is a perfect Merion golf hole, a short par-4. Because it’s a blind tee shot, it’s not that long … maybe 400 yards at the most. The choice of club [off the tee] is probably going to be something around a 230- to 250-yard shot. But the green has water short and all the way around the right side. If you drive it in the rough, you are probably not going to go for the green because you won’t be able to clear the water. So it turns into a quick bogey. If you do drive it in the fairway, you’ll have a sand wedge, and it’s a great birdie opportunity.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Saturday, November 22Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, November 22Full Scoreboard
Phoenix «106Final | Box
Indiana83
Miami «99Final | Box
Orlando92
Toronto «110Final | Box
Cleveland93
Philadelphia83Final | Box
New York «91
Dallas864th Qtr 3:22 | Box
Houston81TV: FSN-SW, CSN-HOU
Sacramento1064th Qtr 1:45 | Box
Minnesota97TV: CSN-CA, FSN-N
Washington743rd Qtr 1:00 | Box
Milwaukee68TV: CSN-DC+, FSN-WI
Brooklyn694th Qtr 9:02 | Box
San Antonio81TV: YES, FSN-SW
New Orleans573rd Qtr | Box
Utah40TV: NBA TV, ROOT-NW
Full Scoreboard
Week 12Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Kansas City20Final | Box
Oakland «24Gridiron Replay
Sunday
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Atlanta TV: CBS
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
Detroit 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: CBS
St. Louis 4:05 PM ET
San Diego TV: FOX
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Seattle TV: FOX
Miami 4:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS
Washington 4:25 PM ET
San Francisco TV: CBS
Dallas 8:30 PM ET
NY Giants TV: NBC
Monday
NY Jets 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Baltimore 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, November 22Full Scoreboard
St. Louis «3Final | Box
Ottawa2
Montreal «2Final | Box
Boston0
Detroit1Final | Box
Toronto «4
Minnesota1Final | Box
Tampa Bay «2
Pittsburgh1Final | Box
NY Islanders «4
Columbus2Final | Box
Philadelphia «4
Buffalo «2Final | Box
Washington1
Florida03rd Prd 7:01 | Box
Nashville1TV: FSN-FL
Los Angeles33rd Prd 18:17 | Box
Dallas5TV: FSN-W, FSN-SW+
Carolina32nd Prd 10:31 | Box
Colorado2TV: FSN-CAR, Altitude
New Jersey11st Prd 15:09 | Box
Calgary0TV: MSG+2, SNET
Chicago21st Prd 14:01 | Box
Edmonton0TV: CBC, TVA Sports 2, WGN
Arizona 11/22 10:30 PM ET
San Jose TV: FSN-AZ, CSN-CA
Full Scoreboard