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August 24, 2000

Jim Furyk


LEE PATTERSON: We appreciate you spending the time with us. Maybe just a couple thoughts about your round today, and a good start to the Championship, and then we'll open it up for questions.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, it was a real good, solid round. I was real happy, especially with the front nine. Played pretty much flawlessly. I missed a couple putts, I believe, birdie putts. Was real happy with the way I struck the ball. Hung in there on the back side. Made a few mistakes, but was able to get the ball up-and-down. Only had one bogey because of an errant tee shot on 13. Overall, 5-under is in good shape for the event. Not going to shoot me out of it. I was pleased with the day. Much better than I've been playing.

Q. What was key to the round today? This is the round that's been building up in you for a long time, I think?

JIM FURYK: Really, just getting some putts to fall. At the PGA, hit the ball pretty well, and I putted very poorly. As bad as I have pretty much, as I can remember, in my career. And it's frustrating. Puts a lot of pressure on the rest of your game. I came out early today, and I chipped it close on 2 for birdie. But then made a 15-footer on 3 for birdie, and a 30-footer on 4. To get off to a really good start and see some putts go in and get some confidence was a good part to the day.

Q. I always heard these greens, when you putt, they putt truly?

JIM FURYK: The golf course right now is in incredible shape. I think as good of shape as we've played any course this year. That's true. Plus, being the third group out, really -- 37 people on the field, the greens are going to be in great shape for the entire field. You're not going to see them get beat up like they would normally in a great event, and the greens do hold very well.

Q. You said you played much better. Was it more than just the putting? Anything else you've changed in the last couple weeks that has got you going?

JIM FURYK: Not really. I think that I was very happy with the way I played last week tee-to-green. I did the same thing in Flint. I made one bogey for 72 holes in Flint, and didn't finish in the Top-10. Eventually after about six or seven rounds of that, Saturday at the PGA, I think I mentally collapsed there for a little while. But really, just kind of seeing -- seeing the ball go in. I think you get in ruts where you feel like you're playing pretty well and you don't score, and other days you can scrape it around and shoot 69, and just find a way to get the ball in the hole. I don't know if -- you can't really put your finger on it. Sometimes just an intangible that you're getting the ball in the hole one week and you're not in the other. So, hopefully -- I like seeing those putts go in the hole early today. Gave me some confidence. I kept the ball in the fairway, in play most of the day. A tight, demanding golf course. Dryer than I've ever played it. So it's playing shorter, which helps me out. I was not hitting 4-iron into the green on every hole. I was hitting short irons into the holes.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: At PGA, I hit some poor putts, and I did hit some good putts that did not go in, but I hit a lot of poor putts and was not very happy. I think I got a little off on my -- my alignment, and visually just being able to see the line I wanted to hit the ball on. I think I was aiming the putter poorly. And when you do that, you really -- can't make a good stroke, and you're not going to stroke where you want to. So it messes up your stroke a little bit. So really I just need to go back to basics and put some lines down on the ground and get out there and hit a lot of putts and get everything visually straightened out with myself. I spent a lot of time on the putting green since the PGA.

Q. How important is it for you to get off to a quick start?

JIM FURYK: I don't think it's necessity. I didn't get off to such a quick start at Doral, but I shot 65 and won. I think -- you know, it is nice. It takes the pressure off. I'd rather be a front runner than be trying to come from behind. Realistically, I have 72 holes. Hopefully, get your knocks in eventually, and just be patient. And hopefully you make a bunch of birdies in there somewhere. Whether it's the first 10 holes or last 10 holes, it doesn't matter.

Q. If there is a difference -- you mentioned the conditions of the course. But when you have such a small field as this, does that mean that you have a better chance to catch someone, or do you have to play well quicker? Is there any factor at all?

JIM FURYK: I don't really look at it as much of a factor. There's less people, so there's, you know, I guess there's less people you have to beat. The fact is, though, there's 37 very, very good players here. You know, it's kind of like when you, say, trying to catch someone. I guess if you're in second place and you're five back, it's a heck of a lot easier to catch someone than if you're in twelfth place and five back. You have to pass that many more people. But realistically I don't look at this tournament any differently. I know it is a smaller field. It's nice that we play in twosomes and we can play a round in about 3 1/2 hours. But it's -- still, there's a lot of great players here and a lot of players that you have to beat.

Q. You talked about your putting and changing it. You seemed to be fairly quick when you went up there; you didn't take much time.

JIM FURYK: I think it was probably just the pace of the day. You know, if you get in the pace like last week on Thursday, where you're playing six hours, there's really no sense in hitting it all that fast, where you're just going to sit on your butt when you get to the next shot. So I think you kind of get into the rhythm of the day. Today we rarely waited ever on a shot. In a pretty good rhythm. You're walking fast; you're playing faster. I had a lot of confidence in my game today, so decisions seemed to be a lot easier, too. But if you get into a slower pace, too, a five-hour round, I think it is just -- you know, the players slowdown. It's not -- there's no reason for me to play really fast if I'm going to go sit on the next tee box and just stand there a lot longer. So, I think -- I don't try to do it. I don't try to play fast or try to play slow. I just think it naturally happens. You get into the rhythm of the day.

Q. Tiger is clearly having a big letdown after the PGA. Any surprise that he's just able to -- like it never happened and it's a new tournament?

JIM FURYK: It's tough. It will be interesting to see what he does in between -- I didn't see him around too much early in the week. If he goes home and sleeps or whatever -- I know I've had trouble after a win, coming back and playing extremely, extremely well like that, and then to do it after the year he has. But he's had a little more experience after those wins, too. He knows how to handle it a lot better than I do. But he had a tough day on Sunday, going wire-to-wire with Bob, and then going to the playoff. And really, emotionally and physically, that takes a lot out of you. But it obviously has not bothered him. I think a lot of times there can be a letdown and you have trouble regrouping, but other times you can keep the momentum going and just keep making birdies, keep going where you left off. Birdies were on 2, 3, 4. Next birdie was on No. 10. I hit a 3-wood and 9-iron to about six or seven feet. 15, I hit a 3-iron to about 12 feet; made that for birdie. 16, I hit a 3-wood off the tee, a 4-wood for a lay-up and then I hit a pitching wedge to about two feet.

Q. What do you have to accomplish the rest of this year to make this a year you're happy with or satisfied with?

JIM FURYK: I don't know. I really -- I don't have that many events left, really. Five events, counting the Presidents Cup -- I guess I have six. That many. I think this is a time of the year where I start getting a little bit more tired. I can feel it physically if I stay on the range a little longer, if I putt a little longer. I've kind of wore myself down to this point; so I'm going to take a rest for the next month or so and can he cooperate. But keep improving, keep getting better. I would like to get myself in contention. It's been a while since I've had a chance to win a golf tournament, since I was right there in the hunt at the Western, right before the British Open. And I would like to get back into contention here with the last five events or so of the year. I would like to give myself a chance to win.

Q. What's your thoughts on this course? Where does it fit or rank amongst courses on the PGA TOUR?

JIM FURYK: Top-5. Easy Top-5, without a doubt. The only criticism I've ever heard of this golf course is it is boring, all the holes go back and forth. But I've played a lot of really interesting golf courses that really stink. I think it is very fair, very difficult. It is in unbelievably good shape, has length, short holes gives you options. Really, I grew up in Pennsylvania, grew up not playing a course this good, but this style of golf course, and I just really like this golf course. I have not had a lot of luck here had the past. I have not played well. I think I've only played here twice before. But I enjoy these older golf courses, more traditional style. And I think it is definitely in our Top-5 that we play all year.

Q. Would you be disappointed if you did not come back here, if they didn't have the event here one year?

JIM FURYK: I'd like to see it every year, but I realize that they want to switch around. I guess it's supposed to be three out of every four, I don't know. I heard that they are going to Sahalee for a year, another good golf course. But not taking away from any other golf tournaments, but I'd like to see as many tournaments here as possible. And you're looking at a guy who has not played well here before. So I like it. From that point, I'd like to see them all in Las Vegas, but then you could understand why I say it.

Q. The purse is obviously a big deal, but is the tournament as big a deal to the players, especially the week after the PGA? Where does this fit in significance-wise?

JIM FURYK: You know, everyone is going to have a different opinion on that as a player, where they fit tournaments in. I think for me personally, there's a few that I pick on TOUR that are really important to me, whether it is for family reasons or just knowing a lot of people from the event or playing well there in the past or just really liking the golf course -- like Westchester, I really like that golf course. But, I obviously put the four majors up on top, and THE PLAYERS Championship runs a very close second place. The only thing that really separates it from the majors is just really prestige in everyone else's eyes, but definitely the strongest field. Right behind it I would put -- like Westchester, Colonial, Muirfield, some of the events -- I like going to Riviera; picking out some of my favorite golf courses and tournaments that I like.

End of FastScripts....

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