MORE INTERVIEWS: The Barclays transcript archive
KELLY BARNES: Please welcome Webb Simpson to the interview room.
Webb, it has been a long two days, and you said you played 29 holes just today, but you are the current leader. So just take us through your round today and tell us how you managed all of the golf in a short amount of time.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I went out, I started out 2‑under yesterday, so I finished round one with a couple more birdies and capped off with a birdie on 18, which is always nice. That hole is playing like a par 5 today. And then just kept the momentum going.
The back nine was tough, my first nine holes the second round. It was playing fast, the greens were firming out. But then I guess humidity kind of set in and the front nine played a lot softer. So I was able to get on a nice run there, birdied six of eight holes. It feels great to play good on a long day.
Q. Does it get easier when you play so many holes in a day? Do you kind of let yourself go on just muscle memory or autopilot, whatever, rather than stopping and starting?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, it's much nicer when you're playing well to keep playing. And when you're playing well, you feel like could you play 40 holes in a day.
But you know, my main goal, I just want to get done today. I knew the forecast was pretty good, but it was pretty good yesterday, too. It just felt nice to putt out on 9 knowing that I've got tonight to sleep and catch up on rest, and hopefully they will get a lot of golf in today and finish it up tomorrow.
Q. How happy are you to be atop a leaderboard where there's 20 guys at 4‑under or better, and you've had the lowest score through two rounds. The competition up there, do you think it's going to continue to be stiff, or will you see guys drop off, do you think?
WEBB SIMPSON: A lot of guys are playing good golf, and my guess is at the end of two rounds, I won't be leading, because there are a lot of birdie holes. The par 5s are reachable.
I think that I have to keep playing well and keep making birdies, and I think a really low score is going to win this golf tournament.
Q. You've talked a lot over the last couple weeks about finding consistency in your game. Do you think you're closer to that now and you can put four rounds together?
WEBB SIMPSON: I do. That's my hope. I think my bad shots are getting better, and I've been putting well now for a couple months. So it's always nice when you are having a day when you're struggling a little bit, get the ball in the hole and make some pars.
But the best test for what you're working on is getting in contention on the weekend on the PGA TOUR. I'm excited to be in contention. Like I said, there's a lot of golf to play. We have half the tournament done, about halfway to go, and it's just nice to kind of be in there and have a chance I think.
Q. Speaking of being in contention, I think the first time you were in the lead on the PGA TOUR was on Friday here in 2009. What do you sort of remember about four years ago, and does this course just fit your eye?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I don't know what it is. I love being here. I love this city. You know, I don't think this is Donald Ross‑‑ obviously it's not Donald Ross‑‑ can we take that out? (Laughter).
But the greens remind me of Donald Ross greens. I grew up in Raleigh playing on Pinehurst and playing a lot of Donald Ross courses. They are undulating; the putts break a lot and you have to use a lot of imagination around the greens. I think I'm just used to it and I enjoy it.
And you know, I was thinking about it when I signed my card, I guess last time I shot one shot worse, but was in the lead. So it's nice to kind of repeat those feelings and the temporary leader, I guess, after two days.
Q. You mentioned the greens. Rickie said the wind was drying them out and they were getting a little faster. How were they at the end of your rounds a few minutes ago when you finished up and do you think they will get tougher throughout the tournament?
WEBB SIMPSON: The last two or three holes, the wind died. So I think the conditions for the guys are going to be great today. I don't know what it's going to do tomorrow morning, but they did get softer as the round went on, which was surprising.
Starting out I thought the cut would be 1‑over and it's definitely going to be even now. Got easier as the round went on, but I think it will continue to. The pins look pretty tough tomorrow for the third round.
Q. Just a different place for you guys to play. I just wanted to get your thoughts on the environment, you look up and see the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty‑‑ do you stay in the city?
WEBB SIMPSON: We stayed there in 2009, but with kids now and day care on this side of the water, we are staying over here. But it's great. It's unlike anything that we play year round. It's fun seeing the Statue of Liberty on the 14th hole.
I think the changes they have made have been great changes and I think everybody's happy with it, and the golf course is in great shape, even with a lot of rain they got.
KELLY BARNES: Thank you, Webb.