Webb Simpson shakes off rust with Hero, Presidents Cup coming up

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Webb Simpson shakes off rust with Hero, Presidents Cup coming up

PGA Tour

Webb Simpson shakes off rust with Hero, Presidents Cup coming up

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Webb Simpson isn’t the least bit concerned about shaking off any rust ahead of this week’s RSM Classic.

Yes, he’s played just once the past 12 weeks – a tie for seventh in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas – the longest stretch of inactivity since he turned pro. And yes, he’s no longer a youngster anymore, what with his 35th coming up next year.

But come Thursday at Sea Island Golf Club, Simpson, the world No. 12, is confident he’s ready to play up to his ranking.

It’s the result of the wisdom he’s piled up through the years. Through trial and error, he’s learned not to put away the clubs for weeks on end and prop up his feet. Instead, he keeps his game in shape off the road by maintaining a routine at home by playing practice rounds, spending time in the gym and on the range; he even stays in touch with his psychologist.

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Nothing out of the norm, really, except he’s not playing tournaments.

“I don’t feel it’s as hard to come back as it used to be,” Simpson said Tuesday on a windy day off the St. Simons Sound. “I had five weeks off after the Tour Championship before coming back to Vegas for the Shriners and I felt like I felt in the middle of the season.”

Plus, there’s a pretty large carrot on the horizon pushing Simpson. More specifically, a gold cup, as in the Presidents Cup. Simpson, the 2018 Players champion who was winless last season but had three runner-up finishes and a third in 21 starts, was one of the eight automatic qualifiers for the U.S. team in the points standings.

In addition to his start this week, he will play in the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the first week of December ahead of the Presidents Cup Dec. 12-15 at Royal Melbourne in Australia.

“I knew playing here and the Hero would be enough to gear up for the Presidents Cup,” Simpson said. “The Presidents Cup absolutely helps. It brings some intensity because we want to win so badly. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’m all here this week, but even at Hero, we’re going to be thinking about it and preparing for it more than a normal event.”

As he said, Simpson has been thinking a lot about the Presidents Cup. Especially with the U.S. coming off a dreadful loss to the Europeans in the 2018 Ryder Cup. While Simpson has been on two victorious teams in the Presidents Cup – 2011 and 2013 – he’s 0-3 in the Ryder Cup – 2012, 2014 and 2018.

“For me, there is a bitter taste still there,” from the Ryder Cup, he said. “Winning is so fun. And (the Internationals) have a good team. I know every year there is a similar story, are they going to be able to pull it out. But they have a good team and we have to be ready. We have to be ready.

“I hope France inspired our guys on the team to focus on it that much more.”

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