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January 14, 2001
LEE PATTERSON: Sir, congratulations. Well-fought battle today. Couple thoughts about that, we'll open it up for questions.
JIM FURYK: Well, obviously very, very happy. Got off to a quick start today. The backside wasn't going as well as I wanted, but I just kind of hung in there, made a couple key putts when I had to. What a way to start the year. Really coming back from, you know, after getting injured in October, not being able to play for two months, really the wrist wasn't feeling very well at all until just a few days before I left for this event. To come here, just to come here and complete the 72 holes, I would have been happy. To come here, play as well as I did, win the tournament, I'm pretty amazed and I'm extremely happy.
LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?
Q. As Rory is standing over that putt, is your mind back on the 18th tee?
JIM FURYK: Yes. That pin placement is in a very, very tricky place right now. Putting from just short of the pin. I had probably a fairly similar angle on mine, let's say, 20-footer. I was really struggling to figure out what it was going to do. I guessed right. But I knew it just wasn't -- had he been behind the hole the same three feet, it would have been a lot easier putt. He had a bit of a tricky putt. Normally when a guy has it on a roll like, that playing well, leading an event, nine times out of ten they knock that putt in, go to a playoff. I already had my driver in my hand. I didn't hit such a great drive on 17 or 18, hit them high in the face, a little left. There was a checker board on the linoleum, whatever you want to call it, I was thinking I had the ball too far back in my stance. I was trying to get a feel for where I wanted to put the ball in my stance going back to the 18th tee. Yeah, I already had the driver in my hand and I was ready to go.
Q. 20 feet on 18?
JIM FURYK: I'm guessing. If you told me it was 23 or something, I'd believe you.
Q. Almost like a sick look on your face after he missed the putt. Were you really feeling for him after he missed that?
JIM FURYK: Was I on camera?
JIM FURYK: In the trailer I was?
Q. Just outside the trailer.
JIM FURYK: Well, I mean, you'd like to win an event with a more kind of heroic finish. I definitely do feel for Rory. I've been in that situation. I've felt like I've given an event away, really had a chance to win the event or get in a playoff and just missed. It's a pretty sick feeling. I do feel bad for him. He's a great young player. He's got just a ton of talent, can hit a lot of different golf shots. I heard you kind of talking about both of us going to Arizona. Because of that, I knew about him when he was in college, talked to our coach. He was telling me how good Rory was, how good a player he could be. Because of that, we've played a couple, not too much, play a practice round every six months or so together. From the first time that I played with him to now, a couple years later, you know, he's taken that talent and really used it well. He's kind of toned himself down a little bit, just like every young player does. For instance, Tiger Woods would be the same way. A guy, when he came out of college, he had a lot of talent, now he's even better. He really figured out a way to use all that talent and make it better. I think everyone did that. Rory is kind of like -- he has a lot of power, has a lot of game. I think he's grown up and matured in his game, become a lot better player. He was good when he came out. You can just tell, he keeps improving, improving, improving.
Q. How did you manage yourself coming down the stretch in you had a few saves, three of the last six holes?
JIM FURYK: Yeah. I was really disappointed. 13, I just kind of had an up-shooter. I was in between irons. I tried to force one in there maybe and thought I could keep it down. The wind just ate it up. It actually probably looked like a difficult up-and-down, but I had a great lie dead into the wind. It was an easy shot. It was one I just had to stand up there and hit it, not think about it too much. I was disappointed not birdie-ing 14 and 15. I had wedges in my hand, good yardages. 14, I hit a good shot, the putt didn't go into the hole, to the right, where I wanted it. 15, the third shot really upset me. I had a good yardage. I had about 60 yards into the wind and up the hill. It was probably playing 72 yards, which for me in a 60-degree wedge is a really good yardage. It's kind of like a three-quarter swing where I don't have to hit it that hard, but I can still put spin on it. I had a great lie. It just didn't look that far. I paced it off myself. I knew the distance. The wind kind of lulled right before I hit. I just think I tried to get too cute and stuff it in there too tight. I hit the shot solid. I just didn't hit it quite hard enough. It rolled back to about ten yards in front of me. Again, I got another great lie. On that hill you can get some lies where the grain is really digging into you. It's tough to put a lot of spin on the ball. I got another great lie. I just told myself, "Hit it like you hit the last one, it will be perfect." That one was a lot easier (laughter). That kind of got the momentum going and kept my head in the game to knock it up there three feet. 16, I probably had no business getting up-and-down on 16 from where I did. I thought I hit the greatest pitch shot, trickle down there tight. It just wasn't as fast as I thought. There I got an uphill line in the bunker. I think I kind -- instead of hitting with the hill, I hit into the hill and kind of delofted the club. I turned it down. When I hit that shot, it's just exciting to see that I caught it crisp. It was perfectly on line. It was a little left of the pin with the wind going to the right. I'm thinking it's going to be pretty good. Then when I watched it just keep going, I'm thinking it's going to be a little long. I was kind of surprised to see it. I airmailed everything. It wasn't close. You know, I've seen people hit it back there. I think I've even hit it back there before. You really don't have a chance to get up-and-down. I showed a little emotion on 16 knocking that putt in. That was big for me, to keep it going. I still figured standing on the 17th tee I had to finish birdie-birdie. There was no doubt in my mind. Leaving the one short on 17, I had the kind of putt that broke little left, back to the right. Maybe I got too caught up in the line or what have you, but I thought I hit a good putt. It came up about an inch short, right in the middle. I was a little disappointed. But looking at the board coming off 17, I saw that Rory -- actually after I hit the putt and was disappointed, I looked up at the board and saw that he must have bogeyed 16, we were tied again. That kind of gave me new life. I knew 17 would be a pretty tough birdie. I'm figuring if I eagle 18, I win. If I birdie it, I'm in a playoff. That's what I told Mike on the way own. I had the intention to go out real aggressive. Didn't hit a great drive. Hit the second shot okay. Had the right shape, but didn't catch it as well as I would have liked to. I don't know what I did on the first putt. I expected it to be a lot quicker. I thought I might have left it a little short, just right off the putter I thought I didn't quite hit it. I would have never guessed it was 20 feet short. I just misplayed it, misjudged it.
JIM FURYK: I'll accept that (laughter). It can be 40 now, I don't really care.
Q. Could you go over the circumstances behind the wrist injury?
JIM FURYK: Yeah. I'll settle that. I'm tired of reading the junk that I'm reading. Touch football, all kinds of garbage. I went to a good friend of mine, that I went and played basketball with in high school, lives in Baltimore, has season tickets to the Baltimore Ravens games. What was the score of that game?
JIM FURYK: Anyway -- I'm a big Steeler fan. He always invited me up. It never worked out. I've been playing that weekend. This year it was a weekend I was taking off at Disney, getting ready for the TOUR Championship. Actually -- Tabitha's family had a wedding, we were in Indianapolis, flew to Baltimore, went to the game. Before his brother-in-law had a tailgate out front in the parking lot. We were expecting it to be miserably cold that day. We just got a great day. We left hats and coats and sweaters and stuff in the car. After the game we went out, hung out a little bit, thanked everyone for the tickets, having us at the tailgate, just a lot of hospitality. His wife and himself, me and Tabitha, were headed to dinner that evening. His brother-in-law and some friends were throwing a football in the parking lot. For some stupid reason, I just decided that I was going to run over and intercept the pass. It kind of happened to be on our way. Just the competitiveness got into me. I ran over and knocked the ball down. I'm not quite as quick as I used to be. I didn't quite get there. In reaching out for it, I slipped on the cement and I kind of got my momentum going too far forward. I tried to stay up, tried to stay up, I finally fell, put my right hand down and kind of hit and rolled on the right hand. I had a little scrape on the left. I had some scrapes on the right. I got up and I immediately just started working my hands. "Am I all right? Am I all right?" I felt fine. Then we went to dinner. About half hour into dinner, this one started to hurt (right). I was upset. I went to the restroom a few times, looking at myself in the mirror saying I know I did something to it, because it's sore. Tabitha and I got on a plane that night, flew to Atlanta. I must have iced it five times that night. I woke up in the morning, it just wasn't right. We went to the emergency room, found out there was no broken bones. Went to an orthopaedic guy that was a hand specialist, which I thought was funny, his name was Dr. Payne (laughter). Wasn't real into that. It was P-a-y-n-e. He sent me to a buddy of his for an MRI. He basically said -- they told me what was wrong, that I had torn, it's called the TFC, triangular fibrocartilage. They didn't know how big the tear was, but it showed up on the MRI, what they called a hot spot, a spot they could see something was wrong. Dr. Payne basically on the phone told me, "If I were you, I would find a hand surgeon and I would go to him and just find out what's wrong." I'm asking, "I live in Jacksonville. Should I find the best hand surgeon there?" He said, "It's your career. I'm not trying to scare you, but if I were you, I would go find the best guy I possibly could. If you want some references, I'll try to find some names for you." I got my management group on it that night. I woke up in the morning and they already had two appointments set up, one in New York and one in Birmingham. I saw a guy by the name of Dr. Sherrill at HealthSouth in Birmingham, one of Dr. Andrews partners. They saw me that afternoon. I drove over -- I did all the Atlanta on Monday, Tuesday morning flew over there and went through another few hours of arthrograms, all different kinds of things. I've seen seeing Dr. Sherrill. I've been back there a couple times just to check up on it. I went right before leaving for the match play. We just decided -- I was in a lot of pain just doing everyday stuff. He just said, "I wouldn't go." He kind of kept me out of that one, told me to play it by ear. I took a week off without hitting balls, not doing anything, pretty much driving myself crazy because I didn't have anything to do. It just started feeling better with just the one week off. I think I was just hitting -- he wanted me to keep it moving, keep practicing, just hitting enough balls that it would be okay, that it would stay loose and really not kind of tighten up on me. He didn't want me to overdo it and hurt it. I didn't go out and hit a lot of balls, but I kept kind of nagging it, I never gave it the rest it needed. Having seven days right into the thing, actually when I came back, I haven't been in any pain. I haven't hit a shot where I've felt pain yet. I've been a little uncomfortable a couple times. It feels a lot better. Again, I'm taking it very easy. I didn't hit a practice shot, putt, chip, nothing after I finished a round this week. I went to the range, I was there 30 to 40 minutes. I didn't hit balls for more than 15 minutes any day. I just kept myself to a small schedule of hitting balls, shots. I wanted to make sure I could finish the tournament.
Q. What seven days did you take off, not hit balls?
JIM FURYK: Wednesday before the match play to Wednesday of the match play. Then I played seven on Thursday, nine on Friday. I played seven on Wednesday, nine on Thursday, then I went out with Duval on Friday and played, watched him shoot 63 (laughter).
Q. How bad did he beat you?
JIM FURYK: A lot. Actually, I nipped him on the back. He got me 7-5, 3-1 on the front, when he shot 29 or 30 on me.
JIM FURYK: We played at Pablo. It was kind of a good feeling. I hadn't played. I just wanted to get it out. I shot a couple under. I was happy with myself. Got killed.
Q. Money exchange hands?
JIM FURYK: I don't know. I don't remember (laughter). No gambling there.
Q. What was the date of the injury, the football game? Was that November or October?
JIM FURYK: It was the Sunday of Disney. October 28th or somewhere in that area. I used to know that.
Q. All this because you broke late on an interception?
JIM FURYK: I don't think I have the speed I thought I did (laughter). I broke it up, broke up the play.
Q. Can you put a finger on why you're such a horse for certain courses?
JIM FURYK: Not really. Seem to have some success. I guess it's the wins -- if you look at my wins, I've won six on the PGA TOUR. If you count Kapalua, you're looking at seven. I won five of those events at two courses. I'm not really sure. I think in Hawaii, I'm comfortable playing in the wind. Especially early in my career, I could hit the ball low. It didn't matter what club, what ball, what wind, I could hit the ball low. I had no problems with that. I think as I matured as a player, I had to learn to hit the ball a little higher and a little softer. When we played the TPC at Sawgrass, greens were firm, I had to learn to get the ball up a little higher. As I've gotten older, matured a little bit, I can hit the ball higher and softer. I can still revert back and hit the low ball in the wind. I think early in my career, the ball that I was playing at the time was very good in the wind. I hit the ball low. I liked to run it up on greens. It's not really the style of play you see at Las Vegas. I'm not sure why that course -- why I like it or why it seems so comfortable. I've played well in the past. When I go there, I've got a smile on my face knowing that if my game is in good shape, I have a chance.
Q. You're 1-0 in it, so it's obviously working. What do you think of the hat color this year (referring to orange Strata hat)?
JIM FURYK: If you asked around, you'd know what I think about the hat (laughter). I'd say originally, I wasn't extremely wild about the color orange. It's never been a color that I wore too much. Their tour rep said, "If you win the first couple events, you win this week, you're probably going to like that orange a lot more, aren't you?" I said, "Yeah. If I start winning with the hat on, I guess I'm going have to show up on Sunday of a major wearing the orange hat just for luck." Anyway, it's good. The hat's here really to promote the new ball. People ask me questions. "What's up with the orange hat?" My dad is wearing it. We've had some people wearing it in the crowd. A million people have asked them this week where they can get an orange hat. Spalding has the phones ringing off the hook. I think they're now going to sell the orange hat because so many people are asking about it - after Hal last week and me this week. To have people ask about the orange hat, it's to promote the new ball, just kind of an eye catcher. My ball contract was up at the end of last year. I'm telling you, I tried every ball on the market. Didn't matter what it was, I tried it. I could tell you about it. I wish that I would have had a little bit more in November and December to test the ball I'm playing right now. But I thought at the end of October I loved it. It was definitely -- out of all the balls I hit, it's the best ball I hit for my game, works for me.
Q. They actually want to buy that hat?
JIM FURYK: Some people do. They gave it to me and I wasn't real happy about it. People want to buy it.
Q. Ever try the Lady Precept?
JIM FURYK: I have not. I've tried a lot of products. For me, I could sit here for 20 minutes and tell you why I like the new ball. What I was trying to accomplish, what I had been talking about for three years, this ball really has helped me out with a few things in my game. One of them is to hit the ball up with the long irons higher and softer, land the ball softer on the greens. Yet I don't lose very much into the wind. I still get a severe wind out here and feel comfortable with it. Normally you get a ball that I can hit higher and softer, I get in the wind, certain situations where I can't hit the ball very far. This one I can hit it far, hit it good into the wind, also hit it higher and softer.
Q. You've won at least one each of the last four years, a good run at Birkdale and Augusta. Where do you see yourself needing sewing from here?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think Birkdale was probably -- that's the one that really still makes me mad. I just played super on Sunday. I hit all the shots the way I needed to. I missed a few putts. I hit one shot that fooled me on the par 5 coming in on 15 that I just knocked over. I left a little pitch just short. I hit the putt right where I wanted to; it lipped out. That one really kind of nags me because I feel like I played well enough to win that day. I don't know. I think I'm like everyone else. I get a lot more excited for the majors. I put a lot of emphasis on them. I plan my schedule so that I feel like I've played enough, that I'm playing well when I get to a major, but not overplayed to where I'm tired. I want to be -- I want to have played enough golf to be ready, but also not so much that I'm tired. I want to be really feeling well when I get there. That's kind of -- over years, you get an idea of how you want to plan your schedule. I know I always take off the week before Augusta. I work on drawing the ball a little bit, work on hitting the ball a little higher. I try to somehow figure out how I'm going to keep the ball on one of the greens with the putter.
Q. A year ago at this tournament, Tiger wins, then just never let up, incredible year. What do you think it would have meant if he would have won this week? What do you think it means that at least we're seeing some other people win, even though it's early?
JIM FURYK: It probably didn't upset anyone, that's for sure. I don't know. Anytime he enters the field, you've got to consider -- you've got to think that no matter what, on Sunday, he's going to have a chance to win. He put himself behind the eight ball early this week, only 3-under the first couple days. I guess the fact that I know he was 3-under the first couple days, you come in, look, see where he's at. But I expect the next time he tees it up, he's going to be there on Sunday to win the golf tournament. He can't do it every week; he's human, he's not a machine. I think the expectations after last year are going to be extremely high. I don't really know how you top last year. I think we've said that for a couple years, and he keeps doing it. Last year was just unbelievable.
Q. Aside from gearing towards majors, I'm not sure if anybody has had more Top 10 contentions than you have in recent years. Is it frustrating that you haven't won more?
JIM FURYK: I kind of shed that a little bit. In '97 and '98, I think I lead The TOUR both years in Top 10s. One of those years, thankfully someone beat it. I heard a couple times I had won more money without winning a tournament, which is not something I'd rather -- that I'd like to be known for. I think that I tried to gear my game a little bit. I was a consistent player. I finished tenth a lot, eighth, a lot, seventh a lot, get myself in contention a couple times. What I was trying to do, though, was find a -- I'd rather give up a little bit of consistency and be a little streakier as far as maybe get myself in contention to win five or six times a year instead of two times, maybe give up a couple Top 10s. I don't know if that's really being more aggressive, you know, a change in equipment, just really trying to gear my game so that when I felt I was on, I could go out and pull away from a field. Maybe when I was off, I wouldn't finish in the Top 20 or 25 like I was, but accept that. When I first came out on TOUR, I was very inconsistent, I was either real hot, real cold. I wanted to work on consistency. I got to the point where, like I said, a lot of Top 10s, not a lot of wins. I wanted to try to move it to the next level, figure out what it would take to have more wins. I'm still trying to figure that out (laughter).
Q. Tournament of champions. Does this mean a little bit more?
JIM FURYK: Absolutely, absolutely. Although it's a short field, small field, it's good to go out and get a victory against a lot of great players. I love Maui. Ever since I came here in '95, won the event in November, it's been my favorite spot in the entire world. I love coming here, being here. I get excited about it.
LEE PATTERSON: Take us through your birdies and the eagle quick.
JIM FURYK: I birdied 1 and 2. 1, I hit a driver and a pitching wedge to what I think was about six feet, knocked that in for birdie. No. 2 I hit a 5-iron to about 15 feet, knocked that in. I bogeyed No. 3. I hit a bad drive. It caught -- wasn't very long either. I hit it in the right bunker over there. I hit a really solid shot, but I wasn't thinking the lip was going to be an issue. I caught the top of the lip. I punched a 9-iron into the wind about eight feet, missed it for par. My next birdie came on No. 5. I don't know what happened, but I hit a very good drive there, out there next to Ernie, hit a 5-iron into that green. I'd like to figure out where that length came from on that hole, do that more often. I made a 40-footer there for eagle, which was nice. Didn't birdie 6. 7, I hit a very good drive, pitching wedge to about ten feet, knocked that in. Then it was a while.
LEE PATTERSON: 11.
JIM FURYK: 11 was the next birdie. I hit an 8-iron on the par 3 to about four or five feet. We talked about the saves on 15 and 16. I think the last birdie was 18 then, which we talked about. Got fooled on the first putt, but the second putt was a tough read. Kind of guessed right, it went exactly how I thought.
LEE PATTERSON: How long was that putt on 16?
JIM FURYK: About 15 feet, I bet. Hit it as hard as a 3-footer, just touched it. I got a great read from Mike there. I thought it was like a right edge, just outside the edge. He agreed with me, gave a little input. Those downhillers are tough putts. Just feels like if you make one little mistake, it has no chance of going in. Perfect stroke on it.
Q. The first putt on 18 must have been about 45 yards or so?
JIM FURYK: I think the pin was 42 deep. Yeah, it was probably about 45 yards. That's a good guess. When you put it that way, 20 feet doesn't sound too bad. It says it was 40 on. I was probably about 43 yards. No wonder I didn't get it there (laughter).
Q. Was that putt 20 feet then?
JIM FURYK: I'm guessing. It was probably at least. I'm guessing 20 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?
JIM FURYK: Thanks. I appreciate it.
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