It was a great experience. Getting to know one of the worlds best golfers as a person, golfer and man of faith. He was very generous with his time and not in a hurry to go anywhere. Myself and the team I coach spent hours with him and we all asked dozens of questions covering all topics golf.
The interview took place in a church in Savannah, Georgia– the day after the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Here are some of the questions asked and the answers he gave.
COG: Who are your closest friends on tour?
Simpson: My closest friends on tour are Ben Crane and Johnathan Byrd. I’ve gotten to know Scott Stallings well over the last year and I’m pretty close with Bubba.
COG: Aside from travel, etc. what was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you went from college golf to the PGA tour?
Simpson: Pretty much just learning just to be myself. For a long time I was thinking I had to be doing what everyone else was doing. If I saw someone doing a certain putting drill, I thought I had to do it too. If I saw someone like Vijay working for 10 hours a day hitting balls I thought I had to do that too. I tried that and it hurt my game. After a while I realized I had to just figure out what worked for me.
COG: What is the biggest difference between the guys who get on tour and stay there and those who don’t?
Simpson: Self-belief. You can really learn a lot by looking at a players body language and demeanor on the course. You can also tell a lot by the way they speak to themselves or their caddy.
COG: Could you please discuss your workout routine?
Simpson: Mostly I do a lot of work with bands. I don’t do any free weights. A few years ago I hired a trainer. We did a lot of testing to find out where my strengths and weaknesses were. We found out that I tend to swing with my arms. I did that because my lower body couldn’t support my swing. So over the last couple of years we’ve been focusing on mostly my thighs, hamstrings and butt to get my lower body more involved in my swing. I do a lot of squats and core work. One thing that has really helped is massages and stretching. For cardio work I’ll get on the sprint bike for 6 to 8 minutes and go really hard for 30 second intervals. Everything I do is to get my body to be explosive during the swing.
COG: What about guys like Tiger and Camillo?
Simpson: I really like Camillo. He’s a really great guy. But he’s so much of a gym rat that it’s affecting his golf game. Sometimes he’ll cycle for over a hundred miles a day. That’s like 6 hours. It’s given him some lower back issues. Think about it, you can’t be in that position on a bike for that long without it putting a lot of stress on your lower back.
As far as Tiger goes, I think he’s a dummy. I don’t know why he’s doing the stuff he’s doing.
COG: What are you working on now?
Simpson: I’m doing everything pretty well now. I started out this year pretty solid but for some reason lately I’m just not scoring like I think I should. I don’t need to change anything I just need to be patient. One thing I am working on is my putting. I have a tendency when I putt to move my head up and back during the stroke. I do a drill where I have my caddie Paul hold my head still when I putt on the practice green. It might take a few months to correct it but little by little it’s getting better. It’s something I only think about when I’m practicing. When I play I just try and focus on making the putt.
COG: What mental things do you work on?
Simpson: I don’t have a mental coach. I just try to keep things simple. I think many tour players have a tendency to over complicate that stuff. That’s not to say that I won’t have a mental coach someday. I just try and remember that golf is just a game and if I get too technical I try to remember the way that Webb as a kid would play the game.
There were many more questions and answers but one story he told has to be repeated. It’s awesome and it’s a story from this year’s Masters:
Simpson: My caddie Paul’s wife Michele has been wanting him to buy her a pretty expensive ring. It’s about $9000. Not many people know this Masters trivia but at Augusta there is one palm tree. It’s on the par 3, 4th hole. So she’s been bugging him about this ring for weeks and he told her that if she can find the lone palm tree at Augusta National he’ll buy it for her. So I’m playing a practice round with Bubba and I’m telling him this story about Paul and his wife. So we get to the 4th hole and Bubba screams,”Hey Michele! It’s over here!” Paul gets really mad and Bubba and I are laughing and Paul’s getting madder and madder. Bubba finally says, “Listen, if I win this week, I’ll buy it for her.” I texted him after the Masters and asked him if he was going to make good on his promise. He texted back, “I think I’ll find her something even better.”
It was an awesome afternoon for myself and my golf team. An experience that none of the guys will ever forget. He was a true gentleman and a lot of fun to be around.