The 28-year-old American, who lives about a mile away from the
clubhouse at Quail Hollow Club, made a barn-storming start to the
2013-14 season with four successive top-10s, including a victory at
the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
However, Simpson has mainly struggled over the past three months,
and has missed two cuts in his last six appearances on the U.S.
circuit with a best strokeplay finish of joint 47th.
"I've got to tell myself all the time, it's a game where you go in
waves," Simpson, whose best finish at Quail Hollow was in 2012 when
he placed fourth, said while preparing for Thursday's opening round.
"Jimmy Walker's super hot right now. He's playing incredible golf.
Maybe the best of anybody in the world."
Fellow American Walker has won a season-high three times on the
2013-14 PGA Tour.
"Then you take a guy like Tiger Woods who has been the best player
forever, and he even goes through the low slumps," Simpson told
"So all that to say, I'm not too worried. I never get too down. It
gets frustrating, but it's nice to be able to play every week. What
we do is we get opportunities every week to start playing good
Simpson, who clinched his fourth PGA Tour title at the Shriners
Hospitals for Children Open in October by a commanding six shots,
knows every inch of Quail Hollow where he spends a lot of time
practising when he is back at home.
"I know different wind directions, pin placements," said the
American, whose world ranking has slipped to 29th from a career-high
fifth following his U.S. Open triumph in 2012.
"I think it hurt me the first couple years here. I put too much
pressure on myself, but I'm not putting any pressure on myself this
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"It's more just I know that, hey, you know this golf course as good
as anybody. So use that to your advantage."
Simpson faces a strong challenge at Quail Hollow this week where the
high-quality field includes players such as reigning U.S. Open
champion Justin Rose, 2010 winner Rory McIlroy and five-times major
winner Phil Mickelson.
American left-hander Mickelson and Englishman Rose will tee off
Thursday in a star-studded grouping along with former world number
one Lee Westwood while Simpson has been paired with compatriot Zach
Johnson and South African Ernie Els.
Little known American Derek Ernst will defend the title he won last
year as a rookie after a sudden-death playoff with Englishman David
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles;
editing by Frank Pingue)
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