April 25, 1999
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
JAMES CRAMER: All right. We have runner-up Jim Furyk. 69 today, 21-under par, 267 total. Just go right into your score card and then questions.
JIM FURYK: I guess my first birdie was on the 2nd hole. I hit a driver and a 3-wood long left of the green. The pin was on the back right; left me a touch pitch, which I got to about 12 feet, and made that for birdie. I bogeyed 3, stopped the momentum a little bit. I hit a bad 5-wood off the tee that I didn't hit very solidly. I left myself a 4-iron into the green, which I should have had about a 6-iron. I hit the 6-iron just about -- I hit it pretty much right about at the stick, but it came up about three yards short. And my pitch shot left a little to be desired; and missed a 10-footer for par. So it stopped the momentum a little bit. I guess I got the day started a little bit on 7. I hit a 5-wood and a sand wedge to about 3 feet and made that for birdie. And I also birdied No. 9. I laid the ball up and hit a pitching wedge to about three feet and made that for birdie. And my last birdie of the day was No. 11. I hit a 5-wood. That was a popular club today. 5-wood off the tee. I believe a hit an 8-iron into the green. That green was really firm, and it rolled through the green. I bladed a wedge from behind the green into the hole; so that was my last birdie of the day; and 69.
Q. He kind of threw a wedge shot right back at you on the next hole.
JIM FURYK: Got it back to one, and Jesper went out and birdied 12 and 13 and got it back to three. He got himself in a lot of trouble there on 14 and 15 and also on 17, but he found a way to work himself out of it. I don't know what happened on 14. He must have hit a tree and came down into the left -- the right rough, and he ended up making bogey. And I just missed my birdie putt there and cut it back to two, and I thought I was cutting it back to one on 15. I couldn't get my putt from the -- just off the fringe there to go, and he made a good 15-footer there to save par. And that pretty much -- the 15-footer there for par, keeping him 2-up, and then turning around and hitting 3 feet on 16 was pretty much slamming the door there. Although, he hit a poor shot on 17. He almost holed the bunker shot. He hit the stick. All I could do was just try to fire at the stick on 17 and 18 and see what would happen.
JIM FURYK: He did a little bit. I think from reading the paper, he did that a little bit yesterday. But obviously his scores were real good and he shot 23-under, and no one has ever done that before. My hat is off to him. He played super.
Q. On 12, he's in the fringe it's a one-stroke lead. Do you think about the predicament he is in and get your hopes up?
JIM FURYK: No. I felt like I was really in control of my game, especially on the back nine. I was hitting the ball like I wanted. I think other than 18, that's the only fairway I missed. I was hitting my balls straight. I was hitting my irons at the pin, and so I was real confident with the way I was playing. You know, on 13, we both had pretty much the same birdie putt. I missed mine first. I played a little bit -- I played too little break. And walking to 14, he said he learned from mine because it broke a lot more than it looked, and he knocked his putt in. The balls were probably about six inches apart. Just little things like that where he had a putt go in and I didn't. That pretty much ended the tournament today.
Q. Is it frustrating because you're hitting every fairway and he's all over the place?
JIM FURYK: He hit the ball very well and played very well on the front side and hit the ball very solidly. On the back side coming in, he had a few shots, a couple hooks early. And then early on in the back side, he blocked one right out on 14 and 15 and hit the ball out to the right. You know, there's nothing -- he was still finding a way to make par on those holes most of the time and keep himself in the tournament. I think for him he must have made -- I know yesterday he made four bogeys, but he made 9 birdies. I'm a guy that I think I only made three bogeys for the entire 72 holes this week. You know, I just didn't make near as many birdies as he did. He's an exciting player to watch. He goes out there making nine birdies and four bogeys; shoot 67, and then today just getting a lot of birdies and a few bogeys. He just put up more birdies than I did this week.
Q. How does it feel to play as well as you did this week, better than anybody has ever played in this tournament before and just fall back to one guy who is a little bit higher?
JIM FURYK: I guess it's better than playing poorly down the stretch or not playing well. I guess in a sense, yes, it's a little frustrating. I can't be upset about the way I played. I can't control what Jesper does. I beat the rest of the field by 6. I haven't really ever seen -- it's been a while since we've had a tournament where two guys were that far separated from the rest of the field, and it was a two-man race. But it was fun. It was a fun day. I misjudged a few shots on the back side. I hit the ball solidly and expected them to be closer. I just misjudged the shot or the distance or the way the shot played, and it might have cost me a couple birdies.
Q. On 15, did you think it was going in?
JIM FURYK: My putt? No. It skipped left off the fringe it. Took a hop. I had a couple options there. I could blade a sand wedge again, but it was so smooth, it looked smooth in front of me. It just looked like the putter was the best play at the time. As soon as I hit it, it kind of -- it got off the ground and hopped, and it hopped left and I knew I missed it left. I shouldn't have hit it there in the first place. I could have stuffed it in there 3 feet and made a different story.
JIM FURYK: No. I honestly think yesterday Jesper making the 15-footer was probably the biggest putt of the tournament. He doesn't make that, he's struggling on 14 and 15 and I cut it to win; I was hitting well, it could have been a different story. I could have given him a run over the last three holes, but that was a big putt.
Q. What was it about the course or the conditions this year to let two players go so far under par?
JIM FURYK: I think the greens were soft and fairly receptive. You could -- there's only a couple greens that firmed up today: The 1st green and the 11th green. I'm trying to think if there was any others that firmed up. But for the most part, the greens were very smooth. The ball rolled very well on them. You know, the course was playing very fast. It was dry in the fairways, but soft on the greens, which is the opposite of what we're used to. We're used to soft on the fairways; make the golf course longer and harden the greens and push the scores up. I like the way the course played this week. I think that some of the players were complaining. I think the course was in great shape, and really, the rough wasn't as high this year as it's been in the past, and I think that played a part. If the greens would have been a little firmer, and a smidge faster, you would have seen lower scores this week. If the fairways are slow, I don't think the greens should be brick fast. If the fairways are fast, go ahead and make the greens fast because you can hop the ball on the greens for putts.
Q. Were you aware he had the cigar before he lit it? Did you know he was going to light that cigar?
JIM FURYK: No. He did that at Phoenix the last time he won -- I think that was the last time he won. I couldn't figure out what was going on. His back was to me. I didn't know what Lance was talking about. I was like: Come on, knock it in, and let's go. It's cute. I guess it's a trademark for him. It's not a big deal. I expected someone to come in and me if it upset me, and I answered the question that it did not. Jesper is a nice guy. He meant nothing by it. He was having fun. It was well deserved and he won the tournament.
Q. Did you get the feeling today that nobody was going to press you guys; that you could stop worrying about anybody behind you?
JIM FURYK: I really weren't worried about anyone. The first time I got to see a leader board -- there was one by 6 and I didn't see 6; and I don't think there's one on 7 or 8. I didn't see it until I got to the 9th green. I didn't know what was going on in the field or how anyone was playing. We were already at least 5-up on the left rest of the field. It doesn't matter. I wasn't playing for second. I knew what I had to do in front of me. I knew I had to make a bunch of birdies. Right now, I guess second is better than third or fourth. I wanted to win the golf tournament.
JAMES CRAMER: Anything else for Jim? Very good. Thank you.
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