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January 7, 1999

Jim Furyk


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple thoughts about your round today, then we'll entertain questions.

JIM FURYK: Well, I'm pretty happy. I mean, to come out first round of the year, shoot 5-under. It's not going to be leading the golf tournament by any means, but it's a good solid round. Gets me off to a good start. Felt pretty comfortable with my game today, especially for being early in the year, not playing for the last few weeks. I'm pretty happy, but just got to keep improving, keep getting better this week.


Q. Any kind of conditions out there?

JIM FURYK: Well, the wind this morning, there was nothing. Now it's just a slight breeze for here (laughter). Not too much. It's weird. It doesn't really seem like a Kona or a Trade, kind of in between, 90 degrees. Instead of being down and left on 18, it's been into and right. Today it's almost into and left. Almost seems like it's splitting the Kona and Trade to me. I don't know if that's correct. You know, it's really not affecting that many shots. That's why the scores are probably really good today. The way the greens are right now, they're maybe slightly faster than we used to play the Kapalua event, Lincoln Mercury event. The wind gets blowing really hard, going to be some really tough putts out there.

Q. What was it that fooled you with the third shot on 18?

JIM FURYK: I thought I would have been able to put enough spin on the ball there that I could have landed it right on the front edge or just short of the green, take one check and trickle down there. I kind of hit it left of where I wanted to a little bit. It came out with not very much spin. In hindsight, I should have just played a little chip-and-run like Steve did, out to the right, let the ball fall down, leave myself a 10- or 15-footer probably. Wasn't a real good shot. Probably wasn't a real smart shot either. Other than that, it wasn't bad (laughter).

Q. You figure most of the scoring will be done on the front side?

JIM FURYK: I don't think so. I know for me on the back, I had some good birdie opportunities early, and then from about 14 on, I just kept putting the ball on the wrong side of the hole, having some huge breaking putts. On 16, I must have played -- I played over ten feet of break on about a 25- or 30-foot putt, just because the put the ball on the wrong side of the green. I hit it long right of the hole where I needed to be short right of the hole. You know, you really want to keep the ball in the correct position or you're going to have some huge breaking putts.

Q. A lot of poles where it's not easy to get the ball close.

JIM FURYK: It's not. It's not. What are some of the hard pin placements? 13 is a pretty good pin today. Keep an eye on that one. 13 is a tough pin, the fact that it sits front left. If you come up a little short of the pin, Steve was literally six inches from the green, his ball rolled down 40 yards down the slope and off the green. I kind of blocked an 8-iron in there and left it about 25 feet right of the pin. I thought I hit a great putt and I knocked it five or six feet by. So that pin is going to be a little tricky. The guys that hits it pin-high and leaves it out right of the pin are going to have some difficult putts. Guys that hit it at the stick, get it past the pin, are putting back up to the pin. There will be some tough putts on that hole.

Q. Where were you on your drive on 13? Tiger just drove that green. I wondered where you were.

JIM FURYK: He just drove the 13th green?

Q. 14th.

JIM FURYK: 14th. I was going to say, I'm going home (laughter). I didn't even try. I hit a 5-wood off the tee, sand wedge into the green. I don't know how far it is to the front edge of there, but it's not in my game so, I don't worry about it.

Q. What about any putts of length on your birdies?

JIM FURYK: I don't think there was anything all that long. My first birdie was No. 4, hit a driver and I think a 9-iron to about seems like four days ago now, probably about ten feet. I 2-putted on No. 5 for birdie from about 30 feet. I birdied No. 7. That was probably the longest putt I made today, from about 20 feet. I was past the pin so I had to back up the hill from about between feet. I made about a five-footer on No. 9 for birdie, about a 6-footer on No. 10 for birdie.

Q. In any danger of bogey outside of maybe the last hole?

JIM FURYK: Well, I had a pretty good comeback putt on 13, knocked the first putt five or six feet by, made that coming back. I made a couple three- or four-footers. I'm trying to think. I'm sure there was somewhere out there. Not on the front, I really struck the ball well on the front. I had a lot of good birdie putts. 10, 11, 12, 15 -- not really. I was pretty consistent. I had the ball on the putting green I think most of the day. I might have hit 17 greens today. I think I did.

Q. You find that playing this before is an advantage?

JIM FURYK: Oh, definitely. It's kind of strange I say that. The best I ever played the course was the first time I was here, so I'm not sure (laughter). But I think, yeah, being able to play here, especially even when the wind starts blowing, I think it helps out a lot more. Right now it's not quite as bad without the wind blowing, as far as course knowledge. As far as selecting clubs on the course, it's hard to go by strict yardage at times, because the elevation drops, raises are very tough to judge and club selection can be tough. Putting on the on this course is very difficult, reading the green. It's not difficult really to tell which way the green is going. It's very easy. But it's just amazing how much it affects putts, to me. I live in Florida now and play Bermuda greens, but not with this much slope. Growing up on bentgrass greens, it's still a bit for me.

Q. David Duval goes through a stretch of being right there for like two years, then he wins Michelob, wins the next two to close out the year. You went through a similar stretch, for two years or so, all those Top 10 finishes. I'm wondering what type of effect Vegas will have.

JIM FURYK: I don't know. It definitely was nice to get a win under my belt after probably a couple years since I had won a tournament, two and a half years. A lot of close calls. It was a nice feeling. I was pretty pumped up that night after winning. You know, I don't know if I'm not going to predict I'm going to go out and win three or four events right away like David did. That's pretty difficult to do, what he did. But it's nice. You know, I'm really just trying to focus on improving my game and getting better. I said this yesterday in the interview. We all show up trying to win golf tournaments. In one respect, when you play as well as I have for the last couple years and have one win, you can look at it from two sides: You can be frustrated that you were that close so many times and only have one win, or you can look at the positive side and say it could be a lot worse. I was playing very solidly. I'll just have to be patient and let things happen. I'm happy with the way I played the last couple years. By far, the best I played in my career. I'm looking at the positive side. I'm looking forward and trying to get better.


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