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November 4, 1999

Jim Furyk


LEE PATTERSON: Jim, thanks for coming in to see us. You had a nice 68 to start the Championship. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about your round and we'll go to questions.

JIM FURYK: It was a pretty tough day with the way the wind was blowing. Seemed like quite a few holes there was a crosswind. And on those holes in particular I felt like it was tough to get the ball in play. And I think I drove the ball real well today and kept the ball in the fairway. And my short game was good. Got me out of trouble a few times, and that was pretty much the key to the round.

Q. Last week was a subdued week for all the reasons that everybody knows about. But this week seems subdued as well. This is a big season-ending championship. Awfully quiet out there, what are your thoughts on that?

JIM FURYK: It's probably because it's such a small field. How many guys started? 62. So we're looking at a lot less than half of the players we're looking at, and maybe we just can't make a lot of noise between the 60 of us. But as far as last week, obviously was subdued and for good reason, and we're not going to forget, it doesn't just go away in a week. And I think we're going to remember Payne for a long time and it's going to hurt for a while.

Q. Is it odd to see such a shallow or thin gallery with such a world-class field and such high stakes, official money and all that?

JIM FURYK: Well, I guess I didn't really think about it. It seemed like there's a lot of people around the 17th green, seems to be the biggest collection of people. I guess it's a pretty exciting hole and you'll probably see a lot of birdies and a lot of bogeys and higher. But for the most part I guess as far as we had a pretty good crowd say at Firestone for the second World Golf Championship. And I'm not sure -- the one at LaCosta was so long ago, I can't remember what the crowd was like. Was it pretty good sized? So I'm not sure how close we are to a major city here. We're probably pretty far away from -- good hour and a half from Malaga. My geography in Spain is pretty bad. I know we're about five hours from Madrid.

Q. Have you played any other European Tour events?

JIM FURYK: Not too much. Excluding the British Open. I played the Scottish Open once. I haven't played too much on the European Tour.

Q. Jim, is there -- the way Tiger has been playing pretty much since before the Nelson, is there any sort of feeling of semi-futility with other guys when you're in the same field, do you not pay attention? What do you feel about what he's been able to do?

JIM FURYK: It's amazing. I think he's won seven of his last ten events he's entered. That's incredible. But -- are you asking are players upset with him or just frustrated?

Q. Yes.

JIM FURYK: I don't think so. Golf is kind of a game where you really don't root against anyone else or worry about what other people are doing, you're just trying to better yourself and better your own game and you worry more about yourself than what other people are doing. But you can't -- you would have to be blind if you couldn't figure out what he's been doing for the last few months. He's going to be a tough person to beat if he's in the field. I heard a couple of guys joking, and saying, "I'm going to play around Tiger's schedule and play where he's not". If he's playing well, you can't do much about it. The only thing you can do is worry about your own game and try to figure out how to play better in playing against him.

Q. What you do this weekend will have a bearing on this question. How do you assess your year?

JIM FURYK: Well, I try not to let one event really determine a year. So this event probably wouldn't -- obviously a great finish here or win here would change my attitude a little bit. But I try to look at the year in an overall picture. And I think what I was probably disappointed in this year is because I didn't get myself in contention as much as I'd like. I didn't have the opportunity to win a lot of tournaments, where in '98, although I only won one event, I put myself in position and I had a chance at the British Open and a major coming down the stretch, and that's what you're looking to do, to keep knocking on the door, give yourself an opportunity and then hopefully win some events. This year I really -- I look back at Greensboro, where I dueled with Parnevik down the stretch, and then in Las Vegas where Jonathan Kay and I were ahead of the pack. Other than that, I really wasn't that close to the lead too often this year. So I think that was disappointing. I had a lot of finishes that kind of went unnoticed, like a lot of 15th and 17th's. Where if I said I played bad, it would be almost an arrogant statement. I was just missing. I was just kind of off a little bit. And I wasn't getting the ball in the hole quite as well as I wanted to. So it was a little bit frustrating that I was so close, but I wasn't quite there. But it wasn't -- by any means, it wasn't a bad year. It was still a good, solid year; I qualified for the Ryder Cup team. I had a good Ryder Cup. I played very solid in the Majors. There was a lot of things I was proud of. It was a year -- I was real close, I just didn't quite get over the hump.

Q. Speaking of the Ryder Cup, this is your first time in seeing a lot of the European players since Boston?

JIM FURYK: I said the wrong word, didn't I?

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to any of the European Ryder Cup team members?

JIM FURYK: Yes, I have. We spent a lot of time with Darren Clarke when we got here. They were having dinner at a table next to us, and afterwards Darren and I and a whole bunch of American players sat around and talked for -- we had a hard time getting to sleep, so to the wee hours of the night we were out and conversing and having a real good time. I have a lot of friends on the European team. And I think a lot of Darren and Lee Westwood and a bunch of guys on the team. I didn't expect any of that to change. We talked about it a little bit. We had a few jokes, a few laughs. Talked about things that disappointed us, talked about things we think are so great. And we're still going to be friends.

Q. I realize this doesn't concern you, but I'd be curious on an American perspective on it, anyway. Let's say for example you or David or somebody had won say six times on Tour, no one else had won more than twice, but had some good years, and then you finished the year off with say such a huge event that offered two million in prize money for the winner, allowing somebody that's 5th or 6th on the money list to win the title by winning the last event of the year. I'm alluding to money, if I'm not making that clear.

JIM FURYK: You're alluding to money? I guess that's -- by what you're saying, you're saying that winning the money list is the most important thing, which I'm not sure. I guess to certain people that is. Mark O'Meara didn't win the most money last year, in fact I think I finished ahead of him on the money list last year, but he won Player-of-the-Year. And that was voted by his colleagues and no matter what would happen to Tiger this year as far as the wins, he pretty much -- I think he's going to win 99.9 percent of the votes. Someone is probably not going to vote.

Q. I was alluding to what Colin Montgomerie is facing this week?

JIM FURYK: I've actually heard it come from some of the foreign players. And they have a good point. Through the dinners, because we see everyone at night at dinner and everything at night here. They are saying that all of our money lists finish with this event. They don't think it's fair to say one of us can affect their money list. One of them can affect our money list by playing well or playing bad. They liked it better with the Volvo Masters, European players especially liked it better with the Volvo Masters, when it finished their Tour, because they were playing against each other, and they determined who was going to be the winning money there, the Player-of-the-Year and all that. That's what we used to have with THE TOUR Championship. And now this event kind of lessens the Volvo Masters and our Tour Championship. It used to be big season ending events and an honor to get into. So I understand and I agree quite a bit with their point. I think that this year was really important for these three events, the World Golf Championships. It's difficult to run a first time event and do it first class. But I think it was imperative for these three events to be better than first class, to go out of their way to be extremely good, because they were going to be under the microscope for reasons that you're talking about right now. I think it was real important that this was -- for the American players, this is our first one out of the country, as far as traveling to Spain. Eventually we're going to go to Australia and around the globe. So from a United States standpoint I was hoping that this one was just as good, if not better, than the other two.

Q. What kind of message do you think it sends that no European or International Player missed the two world events in the states, outside of the great Jumbo Ozaki. And yet there's six or seven Americans who didn't come over here. I understand some of the reasons, but --

JIM FURYK: I don't know all the reasons. I know there's a couple, that aren't here, and it's due to their good friend dying last week in a plane crash. I don't know what kind of message is sends, you tell me. I think that everyone has the right, if they don't want to play, they don't have to play. No one is going to make you. And I can't speak for those players. David is one of them, he's a good friend of mine. I can't speak why he's not here. But he has the right, I think, to do what he wants to, to come or not to come. And it obviously helps out the event, it obviously helps out all the Tours if you would be here. But that's his option.

Q. You think one reason could be the fact that the purse is so much higher in America; granted you don't play for five million every week.

JIM FURYK: What's our average, about two and a half? So it's still double our average event. It is a big purse. It's a small field, although the best players in the world are here, so it's a strong field. I don't know, I don't know what the reason is. I think that -- I know a lot of players feel that our season is extremely long. We really play pretty much -- pretty much this year we had about seven weeks off and we're back to it again. And last year with events ending in December, there was a few of us going to Australia to play the Presidents Cup, there really wasn't much of an off-season. We wanted to keep our game strong for that. We go to that event, and we have two weeks before Kapalua, and one of those is Christmas to spend with your family. Two weeks off, it gets to be a long season. I think guys are going to trim their schedule in certain places. It's a tough situation. It's very interesting that someone would look at the schedule and see a five million dollar event and not play it. I guess everyone has different reasons why they like to play certain events; whether it's the treatment you get in the tournament, life in the city, I don't know.

Q. The golf course is set up differently than it was during the Ryder Cup?

JIM FURYK: A little bit.

Q. How does it suit your game, how do you feel out there?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think when I'm playing well I think it suits my game very well. I think it's a course that you really need to hit the ball straight and keep the ball in play. The greens are very tiny, have a lot of slope to them. So at times you're not going to hit 18 greens around, you're going to have to rely on your short game a little bit and also really get yourself around the golf course, keep the ball in the right position. And I think all that suits some of my strengths. But as far as -- some of the tees are moved back. We're playing some tee boxes we didn't play in the Ryder Cup, three that I can think of right offhand. And the greens are definitely faster than what we played in the Ryder Cup. I think that comes into play right off the bat on 1, 2, 3, 4 can be quick, some of those early on, 6 is a sneaky green. Some of those greens the extra speed is definitely making a big difference. But so far the greens have been holding and very receptive and there's plenty of water on them. So it's not like you hit a shot into the green and you can't keep them below the pin, where it takes a big hop and hops to the back and you have no chance of 2-putting. If you hit a solid shot you can stop the ball and roll it to the pin. It makes it tough. The wind today was definitely -- it definitely added a lot of shots to our scores, I would say.

End of FastScripts...

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