Ryder Cup 2014: Webb Simpson on 'revenge' mission at Gleneagles

American wants to justify inclusion

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The Independent Online

Webb Simpson is motivated by revenge as he seeks to justify the controversial Ryder Cup selection he admits he had to plead for.

United States captain Tom Watson was criticised for overlooking form players such as Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel when he named Simpson as one of his three picks for Gleneagles.

There was a feeling that Simpson was picked purely on the basis of his past performances, notably those at the 2012 Ryder Cup and his US Open victory earlier that year.

And Simpson has now revealed that he personally spoke to Watson in the early hours of the day he announced his selections to state his case for inclusion.

Chief among his arguments was his desire to help the team atone for the heartbreaking loss they suffered on the final day at Medinah two years ago.

Simpson, 29, said: "He called me at 4.30 in the morning Denver time, and he knew I wasn't sleeping because I had texted him.

"I basically expressed everything I could to let him know how bad I wanted to be on the team.

"I tried to acknowledge that it was a tough decision for him. Chris Kirk had just won, Billy Horschel has been playing good golf and Bill Haas had not missed a cut all year.

"I knew it was a tough decision, and in terms of percentages, I wouldn't have been surprised if he had picked the other guys.

"It was kind of one of those things where I knew on paper, he had a few really good choices.

"But I made my final plea, I told him, 'I want revenge on what happened in 2012 and I really, really want to be on that team'.

"He decided, whatever I said - maybe it was nothing I said - but he picked me. I think the emotions were relief and excitement."

 

Simpson, who formed a strong partnership with Bubba Watson at Medinah, knows the pressure is now on him to repay Watson's faith as the action gets under way in Scotland on Friday.

He said: "I definitely feel like I want to do my part. He believed in me but certainly he wants me to go out and do my own thing and play like I normally do, and give it my best shot. I've got to win him some points."

Simpson was stung by the final day of the last contest, as the Europeans fought back from 10-6 down to record a remarkable victory.

Most of the Americans who were involved have this week played down the revenge aspect, but Simpson seems in tune with Watson's push for "redemption".

Simpson said: "I remember that feeling Sunday afternoon, it was more a shock than anything because we were all playing such good golf. We were so confident, as well as their team was playing, we just believed that it was going to be our week.

"Even when I finished Sunday it was looking pretty good for us.

"For me personally, I can't play this week without thinking about the way it felt to lose.

"Every time Medinah comes up I see them celebrating - and I just want that so badly for our team."

One man in Simpson's sights is Ian Poulter, who became the heartbeat of the European team with his stirring performance at Medinah.

Simpson suffered foursomes and singles defeats at the hands of Poulter and again he would like revenge.

"I lost two matches to Poulter at Medinah, so I would love to play him again, try to get those points back," he said.

Simpson's team-mate Patrick Reed, a rookie, would also like the chance to play againist Poulter having been captivated by his performances in the past.

Reed, 24, played alongside the Londoner at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut in 2012 and found him engaging company.

Reed said: "We had such a great time. He made you laugh literally the entire 18 holes we played, it was always just one-liners and jabbing a little bit.

"He was a lot of fun, real down-to-earth and easy to play with. I felt like if I spent some more time with him, get a couple more laughs and play some good golf."

PA

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