April 5, 2001
P. DAN YATES: Well, it's great to have Jim Furyk here with us on this Thursday morning. I'm going to ask Jim just to say a few comments and have a go at it. So, Jim?
JIM FURYK: Well, obviously, fairly pleased with my round. I think 69 is a good, solid score. By no means, obviously, Chris went out and played a very good round. I think there's going to be some pretty good scores today but a solid start to the week. I think actually my best start here at the Masters, so looking forward to hopefully keeping it up and playing well the next few days.
Q. Talk about the conditions out there today?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think that the golf course was damp this morning. I think the course had a lot of moisture throughout the day. I think that's the reason you are seeing some iron shots go in there. There's not a -- we are able to stop the ball on the greens when we hit a good, solid shot. And even with the short irons, be able to spin the ball back here a little bit. That's very rare here at Augusta, and I think that's probably the reason I think you are seeing some more under-par scores and maybe guys being a little bit more aggressive out there.
Q. Actually, we are not seeing too much. I mean, half the field, you know, we've got three and four maybe, but, I mean, with no wind, you would think there would be more?
JIM FURYK: It's still -- I think that I was told -- walking in a lot of people asked what I thought of the pin placements today and how severe they were and there some difficult pin placements. I would venture to guess by the end of the day there's going to be -- I'm not saying anyone is going to challenge Chris or anything like that, but I think there's going to be quite a few guys bunched up around 2-, or 3-, 4-under.
Q. You don't think you're going to be second?
JIM FURYK: I don't think I'm going to be second by the end of the day. In fact, it looks like I'm only going to be second for about another 15 minutes. But I think the greens are very receptive. Because we have a collection of so many good players, and we are able to stop the ball on the greens a little bit, there are going to be quite -- I think there's going to be quite a few guys lurking at, you know, 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-under par, and that's not normal. There's been a lot of first rounds here where I can remember there's only been about eight guys under par. So I think the scores are going to be a little bit lower than that right now. But I would not get too worried about it. A little wind, a little moisture taken out of the greens, it's going to be treacherous.
Q. It looked like the putts were slower today. Would you be more aggressive?
JIM FURYK: The greens were a little bit more moist; like I said, that allowed them to be a little bit more receptive, and maybe not quite as quick. I would never use the word "slow" when I played Augusta National. I would say that they were not quite as quick. You know, sometimes that plays on you. It makes it tough to adjust. I know I left a few putts, coming over the pin on 5 was kind of right on the front, right over the knob and that putt, normally once you get it over the top of the slope; it is very quick back down to the pin. And I left one about -- I got it up over the ridge, but I didn't hit it quite hard enough and left it about eight feet short. And I didn't quite adjust well to that and because of that I had three 3-putts today.
Q. What does this say, that all the amateurs are being so successful, and how can you incorporate that into your round, as well?
JIM FURYK: Well, I'm not sure I can incorporate their day --
Q. How they are playing and what you could do --
JIM FURYK: I think it's very impressive that a guy comes out here his first time, playing in a major championship, coming to Augusta with all of the history, you are going to be nervous for the first time and excited. Of course you also need a lot of course knowledge, so to come out your first time and play well. Is it, Chris, is he the rookie that you're talking about?
JIM FURYK: I think it is a very impressive round, but it's been done before. There have been some great amateurs that have played, and rookies. I'm guessing Fuzzy was the only first-time winner, and I guess Horton Smith.
P. DAN YATES: And Gene Sarazen. That's three.
JIM FURYK: It's happened before, and there's also been a lot of rookies, and even in recent times, some amateurs have played as well. I'm happy for them, and I'm sure it is a thrill.
Q. If the scores don't come in like you said they might later on --
JIM FURYK: Oh, I'm always right. (Laughter.)
Q. Will people have missed an opportunity, and with the course playing like it is today?
JIM FURYK: I could be totally way off base. By no means would I say the golf course was playing easy. I just think that we have a collection of a lot of great players here, and there's going to be, I think, quite a few guys -- I'm not saying the whole tournament field is going to be bunched up, but there's going to be quite a few guys bunched up in the area we talked about before. If not, then I'm off base, and by no means -- like I said, I thought I played a good round today. I don't think I let anything go or I'm not upset that I didn't shoot 4- or 5-, or 6-under. No, I think if a guy goes out and shoots over par today, 2- or 3-over par, he can feel like he definitely let an opportunity get by.
Q. Rocco was a couple swings away from a pretty good number today. Is what happened to him on 16, 17, 18, a great example of you just don't have to be off by very much around here?
JIM FURYK: Absolutely. He's 3-under going into 16, has about a 4-footer for par on 16 or 5-footer and ends up making double. 3-putts on 17. So, you know, he collected himself very well. Had a great up-and-down. Didn't hit a very good drive off 18, but collected himself and made a great up-and-down and made par on 18. I'm sure he feels like he let it go because he played very well today and had 2-, or 3-under par most of the day. But those things happen, and he'll have to regroup tonight and have to come out and remember all of the good things he did today and try to get it going tomorrow.
Q. In your first two years, you were in the Top 25, you played pretty well-- (inaudible)?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think that year was good for me. I felt comfortable with the golf course. I've played a lot of rounds. I've always come in early, played a quite a few practice rounds, more than I normally would. I do feel very comfortable with the golf course. Maybe I don't know the greens as well as a lot of guys, but I feel like I know how to get myself around the golf course with the different clubs and shots around this golf course. But that year that I finished fourth in '98 was good for me, because it's not really a stereotypical golf course or -- that you would think would suit my game. You know, I normally like to work the ball left-to-right. I don't hit the ball very high. I don't hit the ball far. I don't spin my irons a lot. So pretty much, there, a lot of guys would not really think that this course suited me. It played very firm and very fast that year. I had a very -- I had one bad stretch the first day; I shot 76, and I think a double bogeyed 11 and 12 back-to-back and hit it in the water on a very tough first day, where there were not very much guys under par, and I almost came back and won the golf tournament. So that gave me a lot of confidence, I think being able to finish that well and do that well; that was the year that I realized that, you know, I could play this golf course well and I would have a chance to win playing well.
Q. What did you shoot on Sunday?
JIM FURYK: Good question. I'm going to guess if was somewhere around 67.
Q. You remember the high number and you don't remember the low?
JIM FURYK: I shot somewhere in the neighborhood of like 67, 68 on the weekend. I shot 9-under on the weekend.
Q. Were you playing well coming in this week? Did you feel confident coming in? What were your expectations?
JIM FURYK: I've been playing pretty well. I don't think that I've been scoring quite as well as I've been playing, and that was especially true at THE PLAYERS. So, I had a few high numbers and some big numbers there. That golf course can kind of jump up on you real quick at times, and I made two doubles and a triple in my second round and I shot 75 on a tough day. So I played very well that day and came out with a 75 and was a little disappointed, but I played well on the weekend, shooting 4-under and had a respectable finish. I kind of wanted to build on that. I shot 31 on the back side on Sunday and figured, you know, kind of build on that and hopefully bring it here.
Q. Have you played with Chris DiMarco, and if you have, give us your impressions of his golf game?
JIM FURYK: I have played with him a little bit. He hits the ball pretty high and pretty far off the tee. He likes to draw the ball so he should be very comfortable here. Obviously, the only strange part of his game is his putter, and the different grip that he uses, but I think everyone has kind of got over that now. It's been probably a couple years since he's used that. You know, we played a lot of college golf against each other, too. He's been a good, solid player for a long time. He's obviously -- he's got to be excited to go out, first time around the golf course shoot 65 and be leading the golf tournament. It's got to be a lot of fun.
Q. I think down at THE PLAYERS Championship, you were experimenting with the long putter, so I guess you understand the mindset that gets a guy to do the sort of things that he did. Is it surprising that a guy like that, struggling with a confidence, can turn it around like this on a course that's notorious for putting?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think -- yeah, I don't see it being a major issue. He went out and won a golf tournament last year in Pennsylvania. Finished real high on the money list. Has been playing great as of recently. Played real well at Bay Hill, and I think played real well last week at BellSouth. I've got to think that his confidence is pretty good right now, and if he switched for the reason for poor putting, then I think he has put that past him and probably isn't looking back.
Q. Since you haven't made the leaderboard here, could you give us your birdies please?
JIM FURYK: I birdied 2, 3. I bogeyed 4, 5 and 7. I birdied 8 and 9, and I birdied 14 and 18.
Q. Were those the 3-putts?
JIM FURYK: I 3-putted on 5 and 7 and also 13, for par.
Q. Did you have any putts as long as the one on 18?
JIM FURYK: No. That I made, you mean? No. I made a bunch of respectably short putts. The one good putt that I made that sticks in my mind is No. 8. I didn't quite get it back on the ridge, and I had about 20 feet to 25 feet that must have been breaking, three or four.
Q. What do you call the length on 18?
JIM FURYK: 40.
Q. Have you had that putt -- it looked like you had that putt before, because it had that big break and then it just straightened out?
JIM FURYK: It still -- I think it broke a lot more off the mound going, over the ridge than it did once it got on top. But it still definitely had some break on top. It just wasn't as drastic; so probably looked like it straightened out. Over the weekend, the pin was in a relatively similar spot, and I missed that putt about three or four feet left and used maybe a little bit of that knowledge; I played it a little bit more right today.
Q. How do you prepare to putt here?
JIM FURYK: You can't. I honestly don't think you can. I was very happy last week at THE PLAYERS Championship. I live down there in Ponte Vedra, and the putting greens were -- the putting green on the back was extremely quick during the tournament, and they kept it extremely quick afterwards; so I had some great preparation. But still, I don't think you can -- it's very difficult to prepare. I don't think the greens are really as quick anywhere else, nor do they have the same amount of slope and you just to try to hit some putts in the practice round and really get a feel for them, and during the tournament, you really have to use your imagination. You have to imagine -- it's tough to figure out which way the ball is going to come off of some of the slopes. Ben Crenshaw, he always did well, a great feel player and the guy has got a lot of imagination.
Q. When you are here, do you practice specifically like 5-footers?
JIM FURYK: It's good -- I still like to practice some straight uphill putts, left edge, right edge to groove my putting. I'm going to practice more lag puts, going up over ridges, coming down over ridges. And quite a few putts over six feet that have a lot of break. You'll have lot of 6-footers that will break two and three feet. So I'll practice letting them hang out left of the role, right of the hole and try to get a feel for that.
P. DAN YATES: Thank you very much.