Webb Simpson explains how too much insider knowledge at Augusta can backfire

Webb Simpson has three top 12s at the Masters, and is in the hunt at this week's Valspar Championship.

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The Masters is less than three short weeks away, and both players and fans are already tingling with anticipation.

Augusta National is a course that is often thought of as a place where experience truly matters. Wily veterans like Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer still find a way to impress every year, and a first-timer hasn’t won the Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller did it in 1979. Players make no secret of seeking out the guidance of legendary greats like Jack Nicklaus to get an edge on understanding the course’s nuances.

But, according to Webb Simpson, who has finished in the top 12 at Augusta in his last three appearances, there comes a point where all of the information can potentially derail a player, rather than help.

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“I think for the young guys I think they can maybe listen to too much advice and then they’re hearing from so many different players or caddies or people their opinion and they might get locked up,” Simpson said after his second round at the Valspar Championship on Friday. “They might — sometimes it’s good to not know where all the trouble is.”

Simpson acknowledged that it took him a couple of years to get comfortable with the course.

“I definitely had to learn the hard way after a number of years,” he said. “Phil [Mickelson] talks about this a lot there, how pretty much every hole they give you a bail-out area, one side of the green or another, on each hole you have an opportunity to get up-and-down. And I think I was just stubborn and it took me maybe three or four Masters where I really not only understood it but put it into play and that’s when I started playing a lot better there.”

For first-timers, Simpson said it’s not only the course that can cause consternation, but also the magnitude of the experience.

“I think for the young guys it’s, it can be overwhelming,” he said. “I mean it’s a, beside the Ryder Cup, it’s probably the most pressure-filled tournament we have in a good way, I think that’s what make it’s so exciting.

“I can’t wait to get back.”

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Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.