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June 2, 2011

Josh Teater


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Josh Teater, thanks for joining us here after a first round 67. You had a couple good playing companions today, Chris DiMarco shot 5-under. Nice day, nice start and continuing some fine play from last week.
JOSH TEATER: Thank you very much.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Make some opening comments about your day today.
JOSH TEATER: Yeah, it was a good day from the start. You know, I hit a real good drive on 10 and a real good 6-iron in there and just narrowly missed my birdie putt. Playing No. 11, it's a three-shot hole, hit 3-wood off the tee, and really got a hot one down there down the left and could not go forth from where I was hit, just to hit it kind of the right side of the green, and it stayed on.
I made about a 30-footer there for eagle, and then about an 18-footer probably on 12 for birdie, so 3-under through 3. I don't know how else you'd want to start.

Q. They've redesigned the 16th hole. You had a birdie there?
JOSH TEATER: I did, yes.

Q. Can you explain that hole and how it's playing a little bit different or your approach and the way of attacking it?
JOSH TEATER: Well, this just being my second time here, I don't have a lot of experience on the old design. But the green, I think, is a little firmer. The pin was in the back left, and we were trying to play eight to ten yards short and right of that flag, and I hit it pretty much where I wanted, and I made about a 30-footer there. Where that pin was, you're not really flirting with short. You know you can get it up-and-down from long.
That front part of the green, you think you can get it up-and-down from a little short and right in that fairway cut, but you've just got to pick a number there and try to play to it.

Q. Somebody told me you actually have been mistaken more than once for a certain Spaniard. Is that true, and how often does that happen? Do you take that as a flattering thing?
JOSH TEATER: That's very true. It goes back to I think 2000. I played in the U.S. Amateur and a local caddie at Baltusrol kind of said it, You look like that Spanish guy, and I didn't know what he was talking about at first, and soon I learned Sergio.
Numerous times with fans, I remember an instance at West Virginia last year, a lady came up to me with her daughter and was like, My daughter carried the standard bearer sign for you. I didn't remember it. I played Bay Hill, and then I had a pretty lengthy -- two or three-minute conversation trying to tell her that I was from Kentucky, because the guy next to her had a Kentucky hat on, and even after that she still didn't believe it.

Q. She still thought you were Sergio?

Q. Is that the funniest one that's happened?
JOSH TEATER: I think so.

Q. You couldn't convince her otherwise?
JOSH TEATER: I couldn't. I mean, I can see the similarities for sure, I think.

Q. You'd think your accent would be a little bit of a giveaway?
JOSH TEATER: That should be the giveaway. But not quite.
We were paired together once last year. I read about him a little bit and then we were one group apart at Colonial a couple weeks ago and we were signing autographs at the same time. He said, Feel free to sign my name if you'd like.

Q. Did you ever try that?
JOSH TEATER: I haven't yet. I haven't felt like I've known him well enough to.
I never want to upset a fan or anything by not signing something, but I always say, I'm glad to sign it but I'm not Sergio, and they still don't believe it.

Q. Well, he's a TaylorMade guy, too, so the hat and the gear is going to look the same.
JOSH TEATER: I mean, I wear some different clothing. I think he wears an Adidas hat.

Q. Are you trying to supplant Phil Simms as the most famous Morehead guy?
JOSH TEATER: If anybody knows anything about Morehead, that's what they do. It wouldn't be a bad thing to do for sure.

Q. What's the golf program there like, scholarship, the whole deal, D-I?
JOSH TEATER: Yeah, we're D-I obviously, Ohio Valley Conference. Our coach there gives everybody a fighting chance to play. I was a guy who played a lot of junior golf just locally and a lot of baseball, and he gave me a chance to play, and I went there and stayed five years. Didn't play a lot my first semester, which was kind of frustrating, but halfway through that semester I jumped into the lineup and stayed in. There's no substitution for just playing tournament golf.

Q. Is it still a dry county?
JOSH TEATER: I'm not sure. I know a lot of people from Morehead go to Eastern.

Q. What position did you play in baseball?
JOSH TEATER: I was mostly a second baseman. Anywhere in the infield was where they put me, but if I had my choice I'd be a second base.

Q. Good hitter?
JOSH TEATER: Hit for average, no power.

Q. Kentucky didn't recruit you at all?
JOSH TEATER: No. Like I said, at the time -- I had some instances where I shot under par, but I was a 74 or 75 shooter. I didn't play any big competitions, so I think they were interested in more of the guys who had been tested a little more.

Q. Does that make it for you like -- you've been out of college for a while, you've kicked around on some of the different tours. Some guys after so long would decide, I've given it a run, it's not going to work out, but the fact that it doesn't sound like you were in those top flight programs when you were younger, that's given you more time to think you've got to make up for some lost time? Can you explain your rationale for why you've stayed out here for so long?
JOSH TEATER: Well, I think -- from the time I was a kid I wanted to be a professional athlete. Growing up in Kentucky it's basketball, and that kind of faded out pretty early, and then baseball. I knew there was a million guys like me that could field the ball but wasn't going to hit for power, wasn't super fast. So that one was out the window. And then golf was it.
And I just kind of jumped in and was going full steam. I mean, I really think -- I never thought I was to my potential when I was on the Hooters Tour. I always thought I was better. If I felt like I was at my potential and I wasn't having any luck getting to the Nationwide Tour or qualifying for a TOUR event here or there, then I probably would have hung it up. But I always thought there was more potential here.

Q. You were making progress, in other words?
JOSH TEATER: For sure, yeah.

Q. What's the strength of your game?
JOSH TEATER: Over the years driving has been my strength, length and accuracy two years ago on the Nationwide Tour I think I was sixth or seventh total driving. This year I think I've started hitting it a little further with the new equipment, but maybe not as straight. So I'm still tweaking that there. And usually the ball-striking.

Q. How far are you hitting it off the tee, please?
JOSH TEATER: I really don't know. I mean, every hole is different.

Q. Roughly.
JOSH TEATER: If there's a bunker at 295, I feel like I can carry it in the right situation, downwind or no wind, a little bit downhill.

Q. So you hit for fairly good power.
JOSH TEATER: Yeah, a lot more than I did in baseball for sure.

Q. You're in the qualifying here on Monday; is that right?
JOSH TEATER: Yes, I am playing.

Q. How do you balance -- you've got the whole weekend ahead of you, which could be a grind if you're in it, and then 36 holes on Monday. What's the approach?
JOSH TEATER: I mean, this is most important right now. I've never played in a U.S. Open, but I've got to take care of what's going on here. I'm pretty prepared on these courses. I've played them probably five or six times getting through the local qualifier down in Cincinnati actually and always picking Columbus. I played well there last year. I think I missed by a shot or two in the qualifier. But I won't think about that really until this thing is over on Sunday.

Q. If golf hadn't worked out for you, what would you have done?
JOSH TEATER: That's a good question. I mean --

Q. You've got your degree, right?
JOSH TEATER: I do, yeah. Business management was my degree.
Golf can lead you anywhere is what I've learned, and one of the reasons I've stuck with golf instead of baseball I've felt. Maybe if I didn't I would have done something, like I said, because there's a couple times when I still want to pursue it, but I was struggling financially. I had some sponsors at first and then didn't and ran into some more that helped me out for sure.
But it would definitely be in the sports world I'm sure, some type of marketing.

Q. What was a low point for you financially when it was close to hanging it up time in your mini-Tour days? Was there one point where you were swimming in red ink?
JOSH TEATER: No, not really. It was just -- I had some guys that would help me out when I needed it. It got to the point where I couldn't -- I didn't have anything left, and one guy, he kind of -- tapped out, and I was searching, and I couldn't play in a couple events there. It was only a two or three-week stretch, which really wasn't a bad deal for me. It wouldn't hurt me to take two or three weeks off.

Q. This was in your Hooters days?
JOSH TEATER: Correct, yeah.

Q. I saw on your Twitter account you have 40 people up here, more than that?
JOSH TEATER: Yeah, I got 40 tickets from the event. They were nice enough to do that. We're going to kind of try to switch them in and out. Some people are only coming for a day. My mom, my stepdad, my dad, stepbrother, stepsister, they're all here for the entire thing, got here last night. And then some friends and family are just in and out.

Q. You're single?
JOSH TEATER: I am, yeah.

Q. Does that help in what we were talking about as far as when you're struggling to make it consistently on this TOUR, does it help kind of being by yourself, you're not having to worry about somebody else?
JOSH TEATER: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I can go and do whatever I want. I mean, I don't have to okay it or take anybody with me. There's freedom there.
On the other hand, you can stay out here for -- this is my 19th out of 21 weeks, so that's a tough one. I think next week I am going to take off and maybe go to the lake with some friends.

Q. Can you explain the t-shirts, the "Teater's Troops"?
JOSH TEATER: Yeah, that came about in '09 in Utah when I won the Utah Championship. A guy I went to high school with was living out there. He and his friends showed up with white t-shirts, "Teater's Troops," Sharpie, on the front. Ended up winning the tournament, they got on TV.
And my stepbrother and my mom kind of saw that as an opportunity to make up a few shirts for some good friends and family. I think they made like two or three orders of them, and there was some people, I think, asking for them for this week, but we don't really have them in stock. It might be time for a new design, too.

Q. You kind of had an under-the-radar rookie year, but 89th out here your first time through the loop is pretty good. That must have done a lot for your confidence basically playing everywhere for the first time.
JOSH TEATER: Yeah, it did. I mean, and honestly, I had two top 10s, and I mean, five or six finishes with the teens which kind of really was the bulk of that, which in this game it comes in stretches.
But overall last year was a success. I was out here, I stayed, kept my card, but I didn't really feel like I played as well as I could. We're always trying to get better, and this year so far has been a little bit of a struggle, but this wasn't too far away. Rounds like today, you know, just putting them together.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Josh Teater, thank you.

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