Simpson plays down $10M pressure

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Webb Simpson has a $10-million bounty on his head.

Now let's see how the 26-year-old, who comes into the penultimate PGA Tour playoff event as the hottest player in golf, stands up to the pressure.

You would think the last thing a player who has won two of the past three events would want is a week off, but Simpson says he's ready to claim his FedExCup stake, starting with the BMW Championship and culminating with next week's Tour Championship.

"I think it's exactly what I needed in the middle of a long stretch of big events like this in the Playoffs," he told reporters during his Tuesday news conference. "It was a good week. I feel rested and ready to go."

He had better. Simpson already is being asked about what he would do with the $10-million US prize — "More diapers," quipped the young father — but depositing that cheque in his mind could be a huge mistake.

"At the end of the day, we want to win golf tournaments, but when $10 million is at stake, you can't not think about that," he said.

Simpson was asked about choking, and he says he doesn't subscribe to the theory.

"I think every player, including the best player of our day, Tiger Woods, has had times where he hasn't performed under the gun. So I mean, I think there's times that you can say a player choked, but at the same time there's so many things that we're dealing with on the last hole, and for me, the money or winning a tournament, what that means, that doesn't really affect me as I just want to hit this golf shot with all this pressure, and if I don't do it then I didn't do it and I need to learn."

Eating their own

Talk about bad optics for the Japan Golf Tour Organization.

In a bizarre decision, the tour decided to fine its biggest star, Ryo Ishikawa, for missing a couple of events this season. Ishikawa withdrew from the Kansai Open in August and last week's Toshin tournament because he had a sore shoulder.

"My left shoulder felt like it was about to dislocate," Ishikawa told Nikkan Sports. He also reportedly provided a doctor's note to support his claim, but the Japan Tour was unmoved.

"Rules are rules," executive director Andy Yamanaka told Reuters. "They are put in place to protect the tournaments. They are not rules only for Ryo."

"Yes he's a superstar but he is also one of 200 (Japan Tour) members and everyone plays under one set of rules. You should not change rules for one person."

Actually, you should cut the guy some slack.

He's the face of Japanese golf and he turned down the opportunity to play on the PGA Tour's Fall Series so he could focus on winning the Japan Tour's money list.

Not to mention the fact that you're fining a guy who is selflessly donating his entire 2011 earnings (more than $1 million US between the two tours so far) to the Japanese earthquake relief fund. If that's not worthy of special consideration, what is?

Precarious position

Barrie, Ont.'s Stephanie Sherlock has fallen to 11th in the LPGA Tour's Rolex Rookie of the year standings.

Sherlock got off to a fast start, earning most of her $35,224 in three of her first four events, culminating with a tie for 16th at the Avnet LPGA Classic at the beginning of May. Since then, she has missed the cut in six of the seven events she has played.

Currently sitting at 100 on the LPGA money list, Sherlock needs a good performance at this week's Navistar LPGA Classic in order to stay in the 81-100 category to protect her status.


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