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August 4, 2010

Jeff Overton


CHRIS REIMER: Jeff, thanks for coming to the media center here. Obviously your first trip to the Bridgestone Invitational. Not the result necessarily you may have hoped for on Sunday but one of the perks was getting in the field this week, so I imagine you're excited about being here.
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah, absolutely. I had an opportunity to come here when I was a sophomore or junior in high school and came out and watched, I think, six holes and next thing I know I was so anxious to play golf I went down to one of these local courses, I don't remember the name of it, and teed it up down there. Great area, great tournament, and just looking forward to playing.

Q. What happened the last couple of days, like you take more positive out of last week? Obviously it was a great tournament for you or do you beat yourself up still? How has that gone?
JEFF OVERTON: You know, in the game of golf, you have your ups and downs. Usually there's a lot more downs than there are ups just because of how many players are playing every week. Someone is going to win, someone is going to get some bad breaks, someone is going to miss the cut. You know, every single tournament, you may even win the tournament and you still look back on doing some things differently.
You know, I'm playing well, and it was unfortunate he shot 59 and I didn't putt the ball very good on Sunday. You know, I've just got to continue to keep plugging along and continue to keep getting better.

Q. You did get a pretty good consolation prize on Monday when you moved up to 4th in Ryder Cup points. Just wondering what your thoughts are on that and you did the Walker Cup thing and were kind of the hero that day and what that means to you, assuming you can hold that position for two more weeks.
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah, you know, like you said, there's still a couple more weeks left. But definitely that was one of my main goals going into the week last week was to play there because I knew if I didn't, I was going to have to play Turning Stone to get points, and it was half points at Turning Stone this week. You know, there's a big purse, and I was able to have a good tournament, and unfortunately it didn't work out the way I wanted, but it was still -- I played well, and you can't control what other people do.
So yeah, I'm pumped, I'm excited about the Ryder Cup. There's still an outside chance that I could probably slip up and not get in it, but I've just got to go control my own destiny and play well these next couple weeks, and then the next -- that would be half the goal, and then the next half of the goal would be to figure out a way to go win the USA some points.

Q. You're so high in the Ryder Cup points and you've had such a good year, but there's so many below you who are probably far more recognizable. Do you think you're kind of slipping under the radar at least to the general public?
JEFF OVERTON: I don't know, maybe I'm following one of those 20-somethings that never got talked about.

Q. Do you have people recognize you?
JEFF OVERTON: Not too much.

Q. Do you get mobbed when you go to a mall or anything?
JEFF OVERTON: No, you know, in Indiana it's not really known as a golfing state --

Q. Really?
JEFF OVERTON: There's not -- the people that do watch golf, yeah, I get recognized, but the people that -- the average person that doesn't really watch it would have no idea, no concept.

Q. So when you're out walking around in Bloomington --
JEFF OVERTON: It's funny, like three or four years ago I was out shooting some hoops just recreationally and some of the college kids came up and said, hey, you're on my fantasy team. (Laughter).
That was kind of cool. But it doesn't happen -- it happens a little bit, but like I said, it just depends on what the surrounding environment you're in. Other times half the town knows who you are.
It's not like I'm a Tiger Woods, nationally-known or anything. Maybe if we could ever win instead of finish second, maybe we'd have a little better chance of that.

Q. You've been a top 10 machine for many weeks now. What has been the key or keys to your very good play? And on the other side, what do you think is holding you back from the winner's circle?
JEFF OVERTON: You know, I think my whole career I've kind of been one of those players that starts off the first couple years, I struggle, I get used to things, and then I play pretty well. You know, the first few years I kind of struggled. Last year I felt like I had a really great year. I think I had seven or eight top 13 finishes but I was never able to get inside that top 3 which is kind of where you get the notoriety.
This year I've been able to get inside the top 3 a lot, but I haven't been able to get that win. Hopefully we'll continue to keep plugging along, and like Ian Baker-Finch said, you keep knocking on the door enough times, eventually something is going to happen. You're eventually going to break through the ice. Just keep praying and keep working, and hopefully it'll happen one of these times.

Q. You showed a good bit of passion I guess would be the best way of putting it on Sunday a couple times, doing the Steve Spurrier visor slam, and the putt on 17, I don't know that I've seen that from you in quite such a public fashion over the years. Were you just that into the moment, or is that kind of how you roll? That could be something at the Ryder Cup that might work for you or against you.
JEFF OVERTON: I don't know. I mean, I was just in the moment -- my college coach always said one of the main reasons why he loved when I came there, why he recruited me was how passionate I was on the golf course. You've got to obviously tone down. The hat slam might not have been the best thing in the world, but at the same time I got it out, I got my frustration out.
I thought the ball was going out of bounds. It was the worst swing all week I put on it, very tentative, and I was a little bit just not really committed to the club.
And on 17, you know, I think I had a dream the other night about how that thing didn't go -- I still have it like in slow-play motion. It was right dead in the heart and then a foot from the hole it bounced, and the way it bounced, it caught the wrong angle of the hole and lipped out.
At the end of the day, though, you've got to figure out a way to get those putts to go in, and we weren't able to do that, and Stuart was.

Q. You mentioned your experience here in high school. What was that about? Were you visiting here?
JEFF OVERTON: It was actually my senior year now that I think about it. Junior year we played -- I obviously missed the junior golf tournament and I had a lead and then I wound up not quite winning on Sunday, on the last day, and I came with a couple friends, and one of those kids was a member here, and he invited me to come up and watch the tournament. I think he may have even invited me to play in the Monday pro-am at the time because it wasn't a WGC event at the time. I couldn't take off that much school, but my dad was like, you should go up there and watch Tiger, was Tiger was my real -- I just loved Tiger, thought he was the best thing ever. The guy is pretty good.
So I came out and I'll never forget, I watched him play, and people were talking about he might shoot 59, he might shoot 59, and he might have bogeyed 13 or 14. Just being out here being so into watching it and having so much fun. It was like, dude, he can't shoot 59, that was awesome, let's go make some birdies of our own. So we went down to some little golf course, I have no idea what it was called. We had the bug, and just played the whole time.

Q. What year was that, senior year?
JEFF OVERTON: Senior year in high school.

Q. What year, heading into your senior year?
JEFF OVERTON: It was like the fall of my senior year, so it would have been nine or ten years ago.

Q. When did you graduate?
JEFF OVERTON: I graduated in '01, so it's the fall of 2000.

Q. I'm trying to remember, you hooked up with Eric at Colonial?
JEFF OVERTON: I hooked up with Eric at New Orleans, first second place.

Q. Is that just a coincidence that all this has kind of spiked since then or has he been a little helpful in some regard?
JEFF OVERTON: You know, last year like I said I felt like I had a pretty good year. I had a bunch of top 13s but wasn't able to get over that hump. In the British Open I only lost by four. But I had a consistently solid year, a bunch of top 25s. You know you're playing well, you're right there in it. But I just never really did anything to get my name on the map I guess you could say.
But Eric, you know, switching -- my old caddie was great, and the new, the freshness, I really felt like I was going to have my best year yet going into the season at the start of the season and kind of got off to a rough start, and Eric has been great. He's done so many small things. I didn't realize how many small things a person could do that really benefit me, and we've been able to be very talkative about things, and he's awesome.

Q. What are some of the small things?
JEFF OVERTON: You know, just little things like an hour and a half before my tee time he knows where I'm at. He knows that I'm not running late. He knows -- always making sure there's waters in the bag. Always making sure -- my other caddie would do a lot of the stuff, he was good. But we kind of didn't -- I never talked to my old caddie as much as I talk to my new caddie, just because out of college I wasn't really ready to have somebody tell me how to play or help me. I thought I could do it myself. And so we kind of got in a rhythm where I didn't -- he didn't know if he was allowed to step in or whatever.
And now I just kind of want to see how a couple caddies would react. The way we just clicked, it just clicked perfectly. He knows when to step in. We have very similar personalities. He knows when to step in.

Q. Your dad was a baseball pitcher at Indiana State?
JEFF OVERTON: He played baseball and he was the quarterback at Indiana State, as well.

Q. Has any of that translated into what you're doing?
JEFF OVERTON: That's probably the passion that you see out there on the course.

Q. Can you talk about strategy or any of that? Is there any of that cross-pollenating in golf?
JEFF OVERTON: Probably. My parents both raised me to -- they're school teachers, and they raised me to have a lot of culture. I played the saxophone for a year, didn't like it, sang in the choir, it was okay; played all the sports, every sport possible, loves playing sports, and that was my passion. I picked up golf, and that was pretty much the last sport I started playing, and I quit baseball, quit everything else.
You know, it seems like just a lot of the little things that I did then kind of helped me on the golf course, just little things like learning how to play chess and learning how to think about strategies and the way that it comes out when you dissect golf courses out here.

Q. I heard you know something about opera now, too.
JEFF OVERTON: Yeah, the girlfriend is an opera singer.

Q. How did that happen? Where did you meet her? I can't imagine you'd be in the same orbit?
JEFF OVERTON: Bloomington, Indiana, the number one opera school in America. We were out one evening about 8:30 having dinner, and she was out kind of -- she didn't know anybody and just was working and kind of casually ran into her. Yeah, kind of went on from there.

Q. Does she know more about golf or do you know more about opera, or is that why it works?
JEFF OVERTON: I don't know much about opera. She doesn't know much about golf. It was actually kind of funny, her mom, she came out and watched, and I made a bogey, and she's like, what did he do, he made a bogus? She was calling them boguses. It was really cute. (Laughter.)
The first time she came out and watched, she didn't know anything about it, and she saw that -- it was in Atlanta a couple years ago, and I made a few -- I was even par and the couple guys I was playing with, they were a couple over, so it said like 2 and then even on the scoreboard, and she's like, dangit, he doesn't have enough points. She thought I needed to get points.
CHRIS REIMER: Jeff, good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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