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August 8, 2003

A.J. Eathorne


MODERATOR: All right, welcome. It's 32, 34 for a nice 6 under 66. Right now you're at the top all by yourself.

A.J. EATHORNE: That's pretty fun.

MODERATOR: Can you tell us how you're feeling and we'll take some questions.

A.J. EATHORNE: Actually it was a great day out there. I was a little nervous teeing off. It's a little more nerve-racking having a friend out there as my caddy. I woke myself up by making the 2-putt par on the first hole. I just got confidence right off the bat with the putting, and let it flow from there. It seemed very easy out there. It's not much harder than that. That's golf. That's fun.

Q. How did your friend end up as your caddy?

A.J. EATHORNE: Met him on the road basically, stayed with him at his house in Youngstown and became friends. It's a close enough place to put him on the bag. He's cheap too, free.

Q. How many times has he been with you?

A.J. EATHORNE: This is it. This is the first time.

Q. Were there any close calls where he was moving towards somebody's putt or beyond the extended line of the putt?

A.J. EATHORNE: No, no, he was pretty cautious about it. Where do I put the bag here, where does it go. He asked a lot of questions. It is the beginning of the week, so he kind of knew the guidelines for the rest of the week. He didn't really do yardage. I got it on my own. Once I asked him to move, because I could see him in my peripheral, but he stayed out of the way well.

Q. Has he ever caddied for anybody else?

A.J. EATHORNE: No, he's a 6 handicap, so that helps. If you had a caddy that doesn't know, you're kind of making sure they know what they're doing, and it keeps your mind off your game. You focus on the numbers.

Q. What is it with your game that you have to put together for four solid rounds?

A.J. EATHORNE: For three solid rounds.

Q. Yeah, three, but is there anything?

A.J. EATHORNE: I had the last two weeks off. It was great. I worked on my game a lot. Kind of worked on stuff that -- hitting the drive, getting relaxed. At the Open and in Canada, I was a little tense. I was a little nervous, and it was a little tough to let it go. I had the hooks going. This week I went to a little bit more open place and let it rip, hit it hard. Today I was just swinging at it. A couple drives maybe didn't go as planned, but they were in the middle. Some of them were deep and far.

Q. As wet as it was, you were able to let it rip anyway?

A.J. EATHORNE: There is not really a whole lot of places -- they did roll through fairways last year. I wasn't here. That might be an advantage because I'm not used to seeing it roll out. I guess at the beginning of the year I changed coaches and working with him a little bit. It's now sort of settling in as halfway through the year. I know what we're working on. I don't have to talk to him every day about it. I've got more confidence, and I think that plays a lot into it. If you've got confidence going in, you're not just gaining momentum, but gaining confidence for the next week or two, not just the next couple of rounds.

Q. If you're in the lead Sunday, would you break out a Blue Jackets jersey?

A.J. EATHORNE: I am a hockey fan. I should probably cheer for the Coyotes, since I live in Phoenix, but I could break out a Blue Jackets jersey.

Q. Can you talk about what you feel was the best part of your game today?

A.J. EATHORNE: Everything was really good. My drives were good. I just -- I managed to putt pretty well. I didn't sink all 4-footers, 5-footers for birdie. It's that kind of stuff that really gets you going. Once you see one of them go in, you kind of jump on the rest.

Q. How exciting is it in a 54-hole tournament to be on top of the leaderboard right now?

A.J. EATHORNE: It's great. I wouldn't trade my round with anybody right now. I'm actually really happy to be where I am. Having six birdies without any bogeys and to say, okay, you held it together. After the front 5, I could get nervous and lose it because that's kind of what I have been doing lately. It was like, okay, keep working, don't look back or too far forward. Just keep it a shot at a time. It's obviously a good feeling.

Q. What's your caddy's name?

A.J. EATHORNE: Ron Swertfager, S-W-E-R-T-F-A-G-E-R.

Q. Just to clarify, if you were to win, he's not getting anything?

A.J. EATHORNE: I might buy him a golf shirt or a Blue Jackets jersey. I might buy a Blue Jackets jersey when I win. He'll get a nice big dinner or something like that.

MODERATOR: You want to go over your score card with us.

(Score card done.)

Q. No matter what you hit in, was it sticking?

A.J. EATHORNE: Everything was pretty much holding pretty well. I spun back a couple, but you knew they were going to spin. For the way the course played today, the grounds crew did an unbelievable job. There really wasn't much mud on the ball. There was grass and stuff, but they've done a really good job of getting it dry. It's looking a lot better than we could have imagined.

MODERATOR: Any more questions?

All right. Thank you.

A.J. EATHORNE: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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