SAN MARTIN, Calif. —
“I was just caught off guard,” he said. “It never crossed my mind I would be late to the tee. I made a mistake and I paid the price. It’s not an easy way to start the year”
He opened with a 76.
Overton, who remains the only American to play in the Ryder Cup without ever having won on the PGA Tour, had a year in which just about everything went wrong. He didn’t play in any of the majors for the first time since 2007. He was disqualified from Colonial when he thought he could use a training aid to practice putting when there was a delay at the turn. He opened with a 69 in the John Deere Classic and had to withdraw when he felt shooting pain in his right wrist.
And he was the alternate who didn’t get in the PGA Championship, leading to a series of angry tweets toward the PGA of America for not giving him an exemption to a guy who played in the Ryder Cup at Wales three years earlier.
Overton said only that “everything is all good” when asked about his relationship with the PGA of America.
He hopes the same can be said about his game this year, especially after spending the last few months moving to a stronger grip to alleviate recurring pain in his left wrist. It worked beautifully on a sunny day in the foothills south of San Jose, especially the baby cut he hit into 20 inches on the 18th.
The most important shot he hit all day might have been a 6-foot putt for par on the seventh.
Overton hit the ball so well on the first six holes that he had only one birdie attempt longer than 15 feet and missed everything. But he made the par putt on the seventh, and seeing the ball go into the hole was all it took to send him on his way.