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April 30 2013

5:40 PM

Simpson: Finds balance, confidence

Webb Simpson finished fourth in last year's Wells Fargo Championship.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Webb Simpson's caddy Paul Tesori usually gets the Mercedes-Benz reserved for players competing in the Wells Fargo Championship.

After all, Simpson practically lives within walking distance of the Quail Hollow Club. This week, though, Simpson has pulled rank and taken the courtesy car -- but at least he's loaned Tesori the family wheels.

Of course, a win on Sunday would ensure both get the luxury rides next year since tournament officials reserve one for the winning caddy, as well. And after a fourth-place finish on his home course a year ago and that playoff loss to Graeme McDowell two weeks ago at the RBC Heritage, Simpson feels comfortable and ready to compete.

"I think I'm doing things better now than I did last year," he said. "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 one 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."

Six weeks from now, Simpson will head to Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., to defend his U.S. Open title, the third win of the 27-year-old's career. He admits he signs a few more autographs -- adding that now the fans actually know who he is -- but says that increased recognition is basically the only way his life has changed.

"When it comes to golf, I think it's just made me more confident," Simpson said. "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. My favorite thing so far is being announced as the U.S. Open champion. ... So that's been kind of fun to hear."

That said, the U.S. Open title -- or any major, for that matter -- does come with financial opportunities. Simpson said he and his agent looked at how the offers meshed with his brand and tried to balance the commitments with his desire to spend as much time with his wife and two young children as possible. The former Wake Forest All-American also talked with older players about how they handled such success.

"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," Simpson said. "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."

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