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July 27, 2010
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WEST VIRGINIA
JOHN BUSH: We'll get started. Like to welcome Jonathan Bartlett here in the interview room at the Greenbrier Classic.
Jonathan won earlier this summer the 91st West Virginia State Amateur to get into the field here at the Greenbrier Classic.
Jonathan, welcome. If we could just get some opening comments on how you're looking forward to the week.
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Sure, yeah. Yeah, obviously coming into the week very excited. You know, dream come true I think especially for me, but for any golfer who plays.
Just looking forward to a great week. Family and friends are in town. You know, what can I say? It's the PGA Tour, so it doesn't get much better?
JOHN BUSH: You won the amateur championship here at the Greenbrier; you also sell real estate here at the club. Just talk a little bit about what this place means to you.
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, I mean, this is home for us. We're originally from Florida, my wife and myself are, but West Virginia is home for us. We've been here three and a half years. It's up to Jim Justice and John Klemish, broker in charge. If they continue to like me and think I'm getting the job done, I'll be here for 30 years.
I think it's the best community in the nation. I'm just really lucky and blessed to be here. I get to play in a PGA event, so it's icing on the cake for me.
JOHN BUSH: In this event, I'm sure you were interested in last week's tournament. Your former college roommate of Carl Pettersson. Talk a little bit about the friendship that you have with Carl.
JONATHAN BARTLETT: We were roommates in junior college, and we had a great time. I hurt my back, so I wasn't there for a length of period of time with him. I followed him ever since back in the day when he turned pro and played the European Tour and followed him there.
He's obviously doing quite well on the PGA Tour. Couldn't be happier for him. So I'm looking forward to just running into him this week and hopefully say hi and just kind of catch up a little bit.
JOHN BUSH: Questions.
Q. What's been the most amazing part of this week? I mean, just being here is kind of realizing, seeing the guys that you've wanted to play against.
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Right. Yeah, it's been amazing. I was obviously extremely excited, which is why I was the first golf on the golf course at 8:13 yesterday. We got around in three hours. Played by myself. You know, just kept pinching myself that I'm actually inside the ropes playing the tournament. Wasn't a Pro-Am, but I'm actually a participant.
So it's exciting. I think it's just gonna build up for me. Today I'm gonna go out and be a with the first tee at 10:50, so I'm looking forward to that. And then we're gonna play a practice round afterwards.
But the closer we get to Thursday I think the more the butterflies will pop up. But that's normal, and I'm kind of looking forward to it.
Q. (No microphone.)
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, I mean, I have to be realistic. My job ask to sell real estate at the sporting club. It's not to play professional golf. But it would be fantastic if I could make the cut.
Again, I don't know how realistic that is, but I'm gonna give it my all. Come Friday afternoon, if I make it, great. If I don't, then the experience is still just unbelievable.
Q. Jonathan, I know we've talked in the past. You played in semi pro tournaments before and you played against guys that on the PGA Tour in college. Seeing some of these bigger names that you played against before, how does that feel so far?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, I mean, when you're hitting balls against guys that you've watched for 20 years, you know, it's a little bit -- I don't know if it's intimidating, but it's -- maybe awestruck is a good word. You can't help but stop and kind of just watch them.
But everyone I've met -- I've been in the locker room, and I've just met a few guys that couldn't be nicer. Obviously they had no idea who I am or why I'm in there, but I'm saying hi to 'em.
They're just like normal guys. They're just like you and I. They have families and kids and problems. They're just world class golfers, so that's what's separates us.
Q. (No microphone.)
JONATHAN BARTLETT: No, I mean, not really. I think they're all just good. I mean, he's not here this week, but the guy that impresses me just tremendously is a guy named Justin Rose.
Not because of fact that he just won two weeks ago, when he was a kid, I think 18 or 19, the guy misses 22 straight events. For the average 20 year old, that would have ended his career. You become a head case. Look what the he's done. He's responded from that and grown.
I think that's just as impressive as winning any major. Other than that, that's about it.
Q. Have the nerves hit yet?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: No, I felt pretty comfortable yesterday, which was a surprise. Like I said, Thursday it'll be a whole new ballgame.
If it's a morning tee time, I just hope I don't miss it.
Q. How is your back feeling?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, back feels okay. I'm watching it. Seven days of golf for me hopefully, or six, whatever it is, that's a lot of golf for me. So, you know, doing the normal stretching and icing and things of that nature.
Let's face it. It's a once in a lifetime. If it hurts a little bit, doesn't really make a difference.
Q. Starting about two months ago, can you put in words what it's been like this two -- month whirlwind? Talk about all the rounds you played, the State Am, qualifier a couple weeks ago, and your highest round of 72. What's it been like these two months?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, I mean, it's been exciting. You know, we talked about it before. The State Am was my first tournament in six years, besides playing in member guest tournaments at the club or at other clubs at members.
This is kind of icing on the cake. I owe it to Mr. Justice, owner of the Greenbrier. Without him offering the exemption I'm not here talking. I'm in Fairway Cottage 17 trying to sell the home.
So, you know, I just can't think him enough. I saw him this morning and said a quick thank you. Of course, he's going in 50 different directions.
But, yeah, last two months has been fantastic. I'll never forget this as long as I live. My boys can see it. I got one that's gonna turn four and one that's almost two, so of we're trying to get as much on tape as possible so they'll believe me when the time comes.
Q. (No microphone.)
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Right. Yeah, Carl and I, we went to a junior college in Alabama. I think we both admit, you know, maybe school wasn't our top priority coming out of high school, which is why we kind of landed there.
So he came in, and we just kind of clicked. We just kind of roomed together. All the golfers roomed together basically. You know, baseball players roomed with baseball players, thing of that nature.
He was there in the summer and I was there in the summer. We played all the fall, and then that January is when I hurt my back and I was done for about two years.
Through that time, I still followed him. He ended up playing for NC State, and I ended up playing for Ole Miss couple years later, because, you know, recovering from my back.
We saw each other a couple times. He's a good guy, and I couldn't be happier for him. He's probably the only guy I really know out here. But it's a good guy to know. Any guy who shoots 60, you know, maybe I'll get a few pointers from him.
Q. You work in sales for the Greenbrier Golf Club?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yes, ma'am.
Q. How are sales going?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Sales are actually good. Again, all the credit goes to Jim Justice. I mean, we have stability at the resort, which we haven't had for quite sometime. Then you include the casino, the gaming complex with all the new shops, obviously the PGA Tour, and the fact that everything is paid in cash.
There's no debt on this place, which is why you see a lot of developers going under. Because real estate sales fund the development, and once they dry up, they're done. Here, obviously we want to keep selling real estate, but he doesn't need it. He wants it, but he doesn't need it.
I don't know what other communities are doing, but I would be hard pressed to think they're doing any better than we are. I think we've done we've done 21 deals, almost $30 million in real estate this year.
So in the market that we're in -- let's face it, it's a tough one -- we're being quite successful.
Q. Talk but this opportunity here. I know you probably already answered this, but what an opportunity, right?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, again, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'm playing against the world's best. It's kind of what I wanted to do since I was 11. I gave up the dream basically seven years ago for numerous reasons.
But to have an opportunity like today to come in and play this week, you know, what can I say? There's thousands of golfers - and I know it and I appreciate it - that would love to be in my shoes. I'm glad to be in 'em, and I'm just looking forward to the rest of the week.
Q. Talk a little bit about the Top Flight First Tee program.
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, I'm really excited about that. I mean, I have two small boys. They're gonna play golf sooner or later -- at least if they want to. I'm not gonna push 'em. But when they see me putting around the house about every night, especially leading up to this, they try to putt it, but they hit furniture instead of golf balls. It is what it is.
But I'm really excited. I think I'm playing with Brittany. I've never met her, but I'm looking forward to meeting her. I think we're teeing of 10:50 or 11:00 with a couple of guys on tour.
It'll be fun. I'm all for helping kids if I can do it. They have a Top Flight junior program in West Virginia, and Larry Martin is in charge of it. He's with Callaway and he's helped me quite a bit. If I can help that at any time, I'm more than happy to do it.
Q. Obviously this place has bunkers that are very unique, but it also has a different bunker, if you will. Talk about that, if you don't mind.
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, I mean, the history of this place is just unbelievable. I have to admit, when we came up here, my wife and I, we had never really heard of the Greenbrier. That was three and a half years ago.
We set foot on it and we walked around, and were just in awe. When they offered me a job, I just jumped on it, you know, for numerous reasons. A lot reasons, if you walk outside you can see why.
Besides marrying my wife and having healthy kids, probably the third best decision I've ever made in my life. So we're here for the long haul if they let me.
Q. Do you feel like you're an ambassador for this course this week?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: I don't think I'm an ambassador. I think that -- you know, West Virginia is home. I'm gonna try to represent West Virginia as well as I can. That's all I can do. I'm proud of the state and the of the community that we have here.
All the credit goes to Jim Justice and what he's accomplished in this short period of time. It's just amazing.
Q. Do you think you have any advantage having played four rounds here? Any kind of advantage having played and won a tournament here?
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Yeah, do I have an advantage against the world class players? Absolutely not. I know the course, but these guys, unless they're giving me three a side, which is what I have to give members, there's no advantage whatsoever.
But I look forward to playing it. I do feel comfortable here. It's a setting where if an amateur is gonna play in a PGA Tour event, the circumstances that this is under for me is perfect. I literally just walked here from my house. You know, I know the grounds. I know where to go. I know the members. I know a lot the volunteers, so comfortable level is much higher than it would be in another situation.
JOHN BUSH: Jonathan, thanks for coming by, and play well this week.
JONATHAN BARTLETT: Appreciate it.
End of FastScripts