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THE CALL: ‘I don’t know if that was official or not’: How Tiger Woods spilled the beans on Webb Simpson

It’s not every day Webb Simpson looks down at his phone to see a call from Tiger Woods.

But that’s what happened last Tuesday at Trolley Stop, a local hot dog joint in Wilmington, North Carolina, while Simpson was out with his family. When Simpson was trying to order, his phone rang.

“My kids had already made the owner mad because they continued to open the door, so I’m stressing, it’s my turn to order, my phone rings, I looked down and it’s Tiger,” Simpson said. “I told Tiger I had to call him back, I got to order my hot dogs. So order my hot dogs, get out of there, call him back and yeah, he just kind of referenced me being from — you know, living in Charlotte, Quail Hollow’s my home, that he thought it would bring a lot to the team.”

Woods was referencing the Presidents Cup, which is set for next month at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. Quail Hollow is Simpson’s home course, so the Presidents Cup has been on his mind for some time.

Yet Tiger’s call came at a time when rumors were swirling on whether Simpson may be selected as an assistant captain.

“(The call) meant a lot, but honestly, I got done with the phone call and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if that was official or not,’” Simpson said. “I don’t know if he meant like he’s rooting for me to be assistant or if I am assistant. So I just waited, and I saw Zach (Johnson) on Wednesday, or I guess yeah, the next day in Detroit and Zach and I had a laugh about it. I said, Davis (Love III) still hasn’t called me, so I don’t know. And then Davis gave me a shout I guess maybe the next night.”

On Tuesday, Love, the U.S. Captain for the Presidents Cup, announced Simpson and Steve Stricker, the 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, would serve as assistant captains at Quail Hollow. Johnson and Fred Couples are the other two assistants.

For Simpson, who has played in three Presidents Cups (2011, 2013 and 2019), the selection is special.

“Not that I feared not being a part of it, but there was a part of me that’s like, ‘If I don’t make the team and Davis goes a different direction, that’s fine, but it’s going to be hard to see the Presidents Cup happen there and not be a part of it in some way,’” Simpson said. “So I was really, really relieved to get a chance to be a part of it.”

Simpson is in the field at this week’s Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has five straight top-10 finishes there.

Wyndham Championship: Best bets | Tee times | PGA Tour Live on ESPN+

He acknowledges there’s still time to qualify as a player, but being selected in this role is something he has dreamed about.

“I’d give anything to be a part of it because as Jim Furyk told me in 2011 in Melbourne, when you’re done with your golf career, you’re going to really look back and remember your wins and your team events,” Simpson said.

“That’s a big dream and goal of mine. There’s still quite a few things I want to accomplish as a player, but just seeing these captains in the last few years take that role, and you can tell it means so much to them to represent the players, our country. So I definitely want to do that.”

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