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July 18, 2014

Jim Furyk


JIM FURYK: I think experience matters in any major, because you're not going to prepare for the conditions and the U.S. Open if you've never played that. You get conditioned that par is not always a great score on the PGA Tour. In the U.S. Open par is a great score. In the Masters, it's hard to get used to those greens and set up the angles and how to play the golf course and where you can miss shots. But when you come over here, links golf is just a different animal and a different breed. And my first go at it was actually the Scottish in '96. I played the Scottish and then also played The Open the week after. And I got abused by Carnoustie at the Scottish. And really I didn't get much -- I think I had -- it was a late add, I promised someone I would do an outing on a Monday for them. And then I think I got into Scotland on Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday evening. I played the Pro Am on Wednesday and then teed it up and went. The Pro Am was my kind of slap in the face to links golf. And then I missed the cut by probably 15 or 20. I realized it was a different animal. But it was good to get that experience because I ended up making the cut at Lytham in The Open that year. Although I probably finished 40th or something, at least I got my feet wet and started understanding it. I played well the next year and finished 4th.

Q. The last three winners of this championship have been 40-plus. Does that explain that to some degree, do you think?
JIM FURYK: I don't know. It might be taking something away. Darren has always been quite good at links golf, growing up at Portrush, it's his style. Obviously this event is near and dear to his heart. It would be the one that I think most Europeans would want to win. Ernie is a past Open champion and Hall-of-Fame player. And Phil, is probably the one if you had to make a list of the four, that would be the one you wouldn't pick for Phil. But it's kind of a testament to him how hard he worked and how much he had to alter his game to be able to compete over here. But great players can adjust. It was so opposite of how he plays the game at times that it took him a while.

Q. (Inaudible.)
JIM FURYK: Well, I wouldn't go that far. I feel like I've had my chances the last -- I'm 44, the last three years I've had quite a few opportunities in the majors and been in the hunt. I know that -- I believe I'm capable of it but doing it is another thing. I had a good shot at the PGA last year. And would like to find a good number tomorrow and give myself another opportunity.

Q. Have you been pleased with the last two days?
JIM FURYK: I am. The thorn in my side a little bit is 16, 17, 18. I played some beautiful golf. I was even par the last three days. Some guys are attacking those. I played them pretty well today. But I'm happy with where I'm at. I think 5-under par, in the top 10. I've had a month off coming in here. So my game feels -- I've got a lot of confidence in it right now. I feel pretty good with a club in my hand and putting pretty well and made some good saves when I had to. I'm fresh and my attitude is good, and I think that has a lot to do with it.

Q. To play with two former champions, is that inspiring?
JIM FURYK: It's been pretty cool. Darren has always been a good friend and I get along great with him. He's always been a fan favorite in Europe, as he should be; he's a friendly guy. But it was pretty special playing with Tom, as well, and the reception he got. And to watch him grind it out and make a birdie on the way in and make the cut was pretty cool. I was pulling for him pretty hard on 18. And he hit a lot of good shots down the stretch. He played 16 and 17 and 18 beautifully and 15, as well. So could actually have birdied a couple of those holes. So I just thought it was fun to walk up to some of the tees and the ovation that he got and watching the fans' interaction with him. Every time he made a birdie, he'd kind of fist pump and look at the crowd. It was a pretty cool experience.

Q. Is there anything you can do to prepare for the weather tomorrow?
JIM FURYK: Getting my rain gear ready as soon as I'll done talking to you all. No, I just check the weather, see what they're expecting. Two days ago I saw heavy rain. This morning it just said rain. So maybe that's better. 90 percent is the last I saw. But I saw it wasn't supposed to be so windy. That will help out a little bit. Try to get your gear ready and check out the weather forecast and try to get an idea of what it's going to be like.

Q. (Inaudible.)
JIM FURYK: I don't know if I'm looking at it as a legacy. We all want to compete and win golf tournaments. And I know this, that eventually when I hang it up or when I'm done playing the Tour and whenever that may be, that I've poured my heart into it, and I've done the best I could. So whatever the results are, whether I win another major or how many events to the end, I did the best I could. So I'll be able to live with it. And then as far as a legacy or how people view it, that's really kind of out of my hands.

Q. How much has links golf grown on you? Can you talk a little bit about the value of controlling the golf ball.
JIM FURYK: It's grown on me. There is definitely courses that I really enjoy playing a lot more than others. But there are quite a few in the rotation. Is there about nine in the rotation, does that sound right? There's five or six of them I really have a fun time playing. And there's nothing I dislike. But this suits -- I like the fact that I can see where I'm going on most holes. It's right out there in front of you. Birkdale to me is kind of the same way. I think it's the one you have to hit the straightest on, and I think that's aligned itself to my game and why I've played so well at Birkdale. I do enjoy it. I wouldn't want to do it every week, I'll be dead honest with you. 25 of these a year would drive me probably out of the game. But I like coming over two or three weeks a year and seeing links golf.

Q. What kind of accomplishment would it be for you to win over here? (Inaudible.)
JIM FURYK: Early in my career, this is one of my favorite -- I love playing because I think it gave me one of my best opportunities to win. And early in my career I did have some quick success. And then the U.S. Open would be the other style. But it's not to say I don't like the PGA. Everyone likes to go and play the Masters. I've had chances to win both of those. I was a real flat, low ball hitter early in my career. I've won a lot in the wind. I think Kapalua. I think of Hawaii. I won one of those years in Vegas early in my career when it was blowing a hundred after an earthquake and I separated myself from the field. So wind never really, early in my career, didn't bother me that much. I hit the ball low and could shape the ball both ways. So I enjoy it. But it's one of the four biggest events as a major, and there's a lot less people that have won two majors than one. So it would definitely be a huge boost. I don't look at it as a player, I don't really look at where it ranks me amongst people or how that's viewed. It's the oldest championship in golf and it would be an honor.
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