Reluctant flyer Webb Simpson ready to drive and thrive

The American is relishing the next part of the PGA Tour schedule, starting with his defence of this week’s RBC Heritage in South Carolina.

Next month's PGA Championship taking place at Kiawah Island is good news for Webb Simpson.

And not just because he loves the course.

The 1991 Ryder Cup venue is located in South Carolina and it means Simpson can hop in his car - something he loves doing - and make the drive south. It's about three hours and 45 minutes from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina and he's enjoyed that journey plenty of times before.

Simpson is 33/1 with Paddy Power to return with the PGA's giant Wanamaker trophy in his back seat. And he'd much rather have it there than by his side on an aeroplane.

Why? Simpson does not like flying. Unfortunately, it's unavoidable for a superstar golfer but he tolerates it reluctantly.

However, a glance at the PGA Tour schedule over the next couple of months has put a spring in his step: the 35-year-old, who describes himself as having a "nervous personality", has taken a look and worked out he can do it by land rather than air.

Here's the list of events and how long it will take for Simpson to drive from his home in Charlotte, NC.

RBC Heritage (South Carolina) - 4 hrs 4 mins

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - 10 hrs 46 mins

Valspar Championship (Florida) - 9 hrs 8 mins

Wells Fargo Championship (North Carolina) - a few minutes; he lives one mile away!

AT&T Byron Nelson (Texas) - 15 hrs 43 mins

PGA Championship (South Carolina) - 3 hrs 44 mins

Charles Schwab Challenge (Texas) - 15 hrs 58 mins

Memorial Tournament (Ohio) - 7 hrs 12 mins

Palmetto Championship at Congaree (South Carolina) - 3 hrs 15 mins

Obviously, Simpson won't play all those and could drive from tournament to tournament a couple of times so isn't always setting off from home. But four events in the Carolinas is ideal given his aversion to flying.

There are some lengthy road trips by UK standards but he's more than happy to get behind the wheel and make frequent stops for gas.

In fact, Simpson has even calculated that he won't have to board a plane until the US Open which takes place in San Diego, California, on June 17th.

It all starts with his defence of the RBC Heritage played on the picturesque Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head. He shot 21-under there to win by a stroke last year.

On the location of tournaments for the next few months

"I love it. I'm going to be home it looks like for seven of the next nine weeks maybe after this week. It's a nice part of the year for me. I love driving to tournaments. I don't like flying. So getting in my car and driving is nice.

"I played the PGA Championship at Kiawah in '12. I love it. I've spent some time down there. I always look forward to Hilton Head for the obvious reasons with the beaches. My family comes. It's a laid-back feel. But it seems like I'm getting a little more of that coming up here.

"I don't know exactly if I'm going to play Congaree, but I've talked to a few players this week, and they all said it's really great, really tough, which I always like. But yeah, it is a nice feeling knowing I don't think I'm getting on an airplane until maybe the US Open."

On why Harbour Town Golf Links suits him

Simpson is 14/1 with William Hill to win the RBC Heritage for a second straight year

"It's very much kind of a plotter's golf course, point A to point B. You've got to really control your ball flight, shot shape, which those things get me excited about. I love thinking through where am I hitting it on this hole and where am I hitting it on this green. That's kind of the language we speak about every week, or the language we speak in.

"I feel comfortable here even though it's a tight golf course. It really makes me focus in and kind of zero in on where I'm trying to hit the ball, and the course - I've never seen it look this good. It's firm. It's going to be very different than what we saw in June (last year's event was moved due to the COVID pandemic). We're kind of back to what we normally see this time of year with higher winds, firm greens, and I don't think the scores will be near what we shot in June."

On the state of his game

"It's been slightly more consistent than last year, but I feel like my putting has been consistent, my driving has been consistent. It's really my irons that have been a little off. Through two rounds last week, I made a lot of mistakes at Augusta. I worked on something Friday afternoon on the range, and I started hitting it really good again, really solid on the weekend, and have continued that the last couple days.

"I'm hopeful that the rest of this season will be more consistent and I can get back to that winner's circle. I need to give myself a little better chance to win tournaments than I have been at least this calendar year."

On what he found in his swing at Augusta

"Yeah, so in my transition I've been trying to get off my right side, kind of move my weight through, but I keep sliding my hips this way instead of turning them this way, and Paul just gave me a drill where I put the ball up in my stance, and from there I'm trying to hit it as low as I can, so it forces me to cover. My divots became a lot shallower, I started hitting the iron shots nice and crisp again, and certainly hit way more shots on the weekend than I've hit in the last probably five rounds combined."

Simpson finished tied 12th at The Masters after a pair of closing 70s on the weekend.

As well as his victory at Harbour Town last year he was runner-up there in 2013, fifth in 2018 and also made the top 16 in 2010, 2011, 2017 and 2019.

With some home comforts to look forward to as well as no take offs and landings, he's certainly a man to watch out for this week and over the next couple of months too.

READ MORE: The leading contenders at the Masters after-party - The RBC Heritage

Latest Golf Videos