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March 6, 1998

Jim Furyk


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe first thing we can go over all the birdies and then we'll go after that.

JIM FURYK: Start on the backside. You want the holes or the clubs, too? I hit a driver, 3-wood on the left fringe on 10 about 25 feet and 2-putted. I hit a 3-iron and a 5-iron to about 20 feet on 11 and made that. I birdied 12, hitting a driver, 3-wood, actually in the bunker on the right, hit a pitching wedge out to about 25, 30 feet and made that for birdie. I got it up-and-down on 13. I hit it in the right bunker, probably about 20 feet from the pin, or 25 feet from the pin, blasted it out to about a foot. And then I missed some birdie putts on 15, 16 and 17 from 15 feet in. And parred 18 from the right fringe, got it down in 2.

Q. How far were the putts on 15 and 16?

JIM FURYK: 15 -- actually I missed one, I birdied 14. I hit a driver and 6-iron about 12 feet. And then I missed about a 12-footer on 15. 15-footer on 16 and 17 hit good putts, and I guess they all can't go in. No. 1, I hit a driver in the left bunker, hit a pitching wedge out and sand wedge to about 8 foot, made that for birdie. Birdied No. 3, I hit driver, wedge to about 12 feet. Birdied No. 4, hitting a 3-iron. That was probably the toughest putt I had today, had a 25-footer that broke about four feet, and I curled it in there. No. 5, I hit driver and a sand wedge about 8 feet. No. 6, I hit driver, 4-wood about 12 feet. No. 7, hit driver, 7-iron to about six feet, made that for birdie. And then had about a 30-footer on 8 and about a 15-footer on 9, made par.

Q. Were you in the water on 8?


Q. How did you play 8?

JIM FURYK: I hit a good drive, I had about 230 to the front and dead into the wind. 20 to the front left, probably it's another 10 or more to the right side, 240, and it's just -- I fly my 3-wood -- if I fly my 3-wood 240, I'm hitting it pretty good, so it realistically -- it was a bad play going for the green. And I laid up. I tried to lay it back, it's hard for me, the way the wind was blowing, if I would have snugged it up against the water, I would have had maybe a full sand wedge in, so I laid it back to get myself a good pitching wedge in. I hung it up in the wind a little bit, and landed 20 feet short, and spun back. Might have been 25 feet. Made a good putt, and left it a little short.

Q. The putts on 15, 16 and 17 you said were 12 feet, 15 feet. Were they near misses? Did you get close?

JIM FURYK: I got real close on -- actually I hit good putts on all of those. The closest one I think was on 17 and I ran it right over the edge.

Q. So you could have had a 59?

JIM FURYK: You're talking way too much about the ones I missed.

Q. I was trying to see if you could have had a 59.

JIM FURYK: Someone asked me that after I finished. Through 12 holes today I was 6-under par, even if I birdie every hole after that, I'm still 60, I'm glad to take four of those.

Q. Did Tiger reach 8 in 2 today?

JIM FURYK: He hit a driver in the rough, and he had a layup. He hit some sort of iron on the left of the green yesterday.

Q. Were you aware of what the course record is?

JIM FURYK: No, I had no idea. People on the gallery for the last four or five holes, I could hear people talking about the course record. But I didn't -- I didn't know what it was.

Q. Does it mean anything to you?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think it's nice, but it means a lot more to me to start the day at five over and I'm thinking about -- I'm going out there today thinking about making the cut, and not putting myself in contention to winning a golf tournament, that's more important than a course record.

Q. What went wrong yesterday?

JIM FURYK: I didn't hit the ball very solidly yesterday, and the day kind of snowballed on me. I had a lot of good putts, a lot of 6-footers for par. I had a lot of good putts, it just kept hitting the edges and lipping out I didn't play well yesterday, I make no bones about it, but I don't feel like I shot five over, I was disappointed on the rounds. I worked on things, one thing particularly my swing last night, and for some reason it really helps, everything clicked. I talked to my dad on the phone last night, and told him the shots I was hitting, what I was unhappy about, and he thought about it and thought about some of the my bad habits and told me to go on the range and check one thing. And sure enough, I think that had a lot to do with it.

Q. What was it?

JIM FURYK: One of my bad habits is I take the club outside, obviously on the way back, but one of my bad habits is to pick the club up with my arms and hands and not make a good turn with my body. He wanted to make sure I was making a good turn and getting behind the ball good. And I worked on that and started hitting some good shots on the range last night. And things went well for me today, too. I got a lot -- I hit the ball a lot more solidly, hit the ball well, and I think a lot of those putts yesterday that lipped out or rolled over the edge, a lot of those putts lipped in today.

Q. How many times have you played with Tiger before?

JIM FURYK: How about four? I don't know.

Q. It's not the first time?

JIM FURYK: A few times.

Q. That doesn't bother you anymore?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think that you might have to be a little extra patient during the day. You're going to have to maybe allow the gallery to quiet down a little bit or to get settled. You know that you're going to have to have extra patience and not let things bother you out there. Realistically we had a huge gallery out there today, and 99 percent of them came to see Tiger. At times when he hits a huge shot and there's a huge cheer, and you're the next to hit you have to be more patient.

Q. What about his distance? I know at 7 yesterday he must have been a hundred yards ahead of you guys. Does that unnerve you at all?

JIM FURYK: On 7? On some holes he is. I think also, too, he hits it -- probably averages 50 yards longer than me, and a lot of holes out here, too, pick a hole like 14, for instance, he just takes it right -- the wind is down and right, he takes it right over the left bunker, the carry on that thing is about 275-ish we'll say. 6 Jeff Maggert and I don't have 275 in my bag on a fly. We take a 3-wood out and hit it down the right side and keep it short of that right bunker. Today I hit -- I say driver, 6-iron. I hit a 3-wood, 6-iron there. And Tiger had 90 yards in the middle of the green. And yeah, it's a little different game. And I think also because he's cutting the corners like that, that 50 yards longer becomes 80, 90, even more at times, it even makes that more drastic.

Q. Do you look at his swing?

JIM FURYK: I make a point not to watch really anyone's swing when I play with them. And I was taught that when I was a kid. But the reason I still do now is everyone has their own rhythm and their own style of swing, and I don't want to watch anyone else's swing and maybe pick up on that rhythm. Tiger actually has a much faster swing speed than I do. I'm an average length on Tour. And he goes at it a little harder than I do, he swings a little harder. I don't want to watch something else and get geared up and start trying to hit the ball hard myself. I have a set way and pace I want to play.

Q. Do you think anyone watches your swing?

JIM FURYK: I don't know. I'm sure a lot of guys on Tour are similar to me, they don't watch other people swing. I started -- I was taught that when I was a kid, not to watch other people. And I got in the habit of looking at the ground or looking away. I'll watch ball flights, I'll look at the fairway and watch how balls come out.

Q. What's the best round you've had?

JIM FURYK: I shot 62 in Flint, Michigan, also, so 10-under is the best round.

Q. When was that?


Q. Was Mr. Callaway happy today?

JIM FURYK: I'm sure Mr. C is probably pretty happy about it, I don't think he'd be upset.

Q. Anything lower than 62 anywhere?

JIM FURYK: No, 62 is the lowest. 10-under is my lowest.

Q. Getting back to the whole swing thing. I guess people make a big deal of yours in terms of I guess not being a textbook thing. Do you get tired of that talk?

JIM FURYK: Right now I am -- no, just kidding -- (laughter.) No, I don't. Lee and I have a thing that I've never been to the press room and I haven't talked about it. I think now we have once. Which wasn't hard, I wasn't here a lot the first few years, last year I was in the press room a lot. It seems to come up, and if it bothered me I guess I'd have a rough time.

Q. Can you explain to lay people how something that can maybe look not as pretty as the most perfect form in the world can still work?

JIM FURYK: If you broke it down and took -- I've had a lot of swing sequences taken, and whether it's Golf World, Golf Digest, whatever, I don't want to upset anyone out here, whatever the magazine may be, a lot of them always run a swing sequence, and I think the exact position I'm in a very similar position to everyone on Tour. And I just get -- I just go about getting there in a different way. And it all started -- that's the way I naturally swing the club, it's the way I did when I was a kid. And I've never been very good on working on mechanics. So I've never -- I can't really connect the dots and work on angles and positions, that's not my style of play. And my dad realized that when I was a kid, and so he decided to teach me through feel. I work a lot on my set up, and not really much on mechanics.

Q. Did anybody try to change you?

JIM FURYK: No. My dad has been my teacher all my life. I'm a very firm believer in having one person teach you, I don't care if it's Dave Leadbetter or Butch Harmon or Greg Smith or who it is, I think you should get one person who you work well with and you believe in their knowledge and stick with that one person, because everyone has a different way to teach, has a different way to say things. I think that they're all trying to get to the same finished product, but they have a different style and way to teach that, if you start going to different people, they could be trying to teach the same thing but in a different way.

Q. Where does your dad live now?

JIM FURYK: He lives 6 months in Langston, Pennsylvania where I grew up, and 6 months in Tucson.

Q. What's his name?


Q. And what's the harshest thing anybody's said about the swing or written about it, do you remember anything?

JIM FURYK: I'm sure there's been comments made, but nothing I've ever read or nothing I've ever heard personally has been that harsh. And in this game, actually if you don't have a thick skin about things like that you're not going to make it out here. You have critics growing up, whether it's your local news reporter or whoever along the way, someone is going to be critical of you, whether you're the best player in the world or the five thousandth best player in the world. You have to learn to believe in yourself just make the best of it.

Q. Have the commercials helped keep it in the light perspective, you're smiling about it and --

JIM FURYK: I've never come to the press room or never been interviewed where I've felt -- where I've really taken it in a bad manner. I guess it was kind of a rude awakening for me when I was a rookie on Tour. I finished -- I was in the leader group in my second event in Tucson, and they're drawing the diagrams on TV and I'm watching the tapes, and I never realized it was really that much out of the normal. Like I said, I'm not mechanical. I don't analyze my swing on video, I don't look at things like that. So it's a little rude awakening and I always took it as a plus. I drew a lot of attention as a young player out here before I had won golf tournaments before, I had really done well in competition, I drew a lot of attention. And I took that as a bonus. It was a way that I kind of identified myself from different people. It's not that I tried to do it, it just happened that way. And people knew who I was and the gallery, probably before they should have. It was just a way maybe to separate myself from everybody else. I could see people in the gallery swinging their umbrellas and go outside and drop it under, I get a kick out of it. I catch them every once in a while and they get embarrassed.

Q. Do you have any doubts this swing could win you a Major or take you where you want to go?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think that -- no, I don't have any doubts, and I don't think that anyone in my position or any player out here would stand up here and tell you they have any doubts in their ability, if they did, they wouldn't be at this level.

Q. After the 77, apart from the physical stuff that you changed, do you go home and mentally -- do you beat yourself up or anything like that?

JIM FURYK: Well, yesterday I didn't too bad. I was pretty patient on the course. It's real easy to get 2, 3, 4 over and try to hit shots that you normally wouldn't want to do and start pressing. And a lot of times you can turn a 74, 75 into a 78 real quick just by trying to hit heroic shots. And yesterday I didn't really do that. I stayed very patient and I got 4 over real quick and made an eagle on 10, and got it back to 2 over. I played pretty solid, I couldn't get it in. I made 3 bogeys the last four holes. I was disappointed last night, but I didn't really beat myself up. I worked hard this week, hit a lot of balls, I've been working on my game hard, and I'll tell you that I wasn't sitting home last night thinking I'd come out and shoot 62 today. I was looking forward coming out. I think the course is easier to score on in the morning than it is in the afternoon. The winds aren't as hard, the moisture is better on the greens, they roll better without spike marks. I was trying to get myself in a good frame of mind and shoot 3-under or better today, and go ahead and make the cut and see what I could do on the weekend.

Q. You seem to have a great temperament, when you finished up with that 62, what was your first emotional reaction, did you look up and say, damn, 62, or what?

JIM FURYK: Well, not really. When I did it in Flint I was pretty excited about it. And I really played solidly today, and I think I'm proud of it, and my first initial reaction was I was a little mad I didn't hit the putt on 18 or 9, and give it a chance. I was under the grain. And I knew when it left the putter that I hadn't hit it. It came up hole high, but it broke too much. Really, I'm proud of the way I played, but like I said, the best part about today really wasn't setting a course record and playing, I started the day out of the tournament, just trying to make the cut, and here I am sitting two shots off the lead, there's still some players out, but I put myself in position, and if I go out and play a good two rounds on the weekend, who knows what will happen.

Q. Is this one a little harder than Flint, I mean the course?

JIM FURYK: The course at Flint is pretty tough. I'd say the conditions were a little tougher today with the wind. But, heck, the way I look at it, if you shoot 10-under, it's a good round.

Q. How much of a factor was the rowdy, noisy crowd in yesterday's 77. Did you ever get a little thrown off and not get it back?

JIM FURYK: No, I don't think so. I'm sure you get frustrated at times. I think I got more frustrated with one cameraman in particular yesterday. I felt that he's a professional and he should know a little better. The gallery comes out and they're out here to watch, and we make a living because they come out, so sometimes it's hard to step out and realize that, but a lot of times the gallery, I'd say there's a good percentage that do know a lot about golf, but we're drawing more people towards tournaments that probably don't know a lot about the etiquette of the game. That's the way it goes. You have to learn how to handle it and be a professional about it and be patient, eventually it will quiet down.

Q. Did you feel that you were winning them over, that they were watching you more or --

JIM FURYK: Let's be realistic about this (laughter.) I made a putt on 3. It got up to the hole and plopped in. Actually on 4. And I think at that point I was 7 under for the day and people started -- I could hear whispers in the crowd about course records and a lot of cheering, and people really rooting me on. So going down that front side as it went I did have a lot of people pulling for me, it's not like they were rooting against me yesterday, I was playing well and the crowd has been nice. And I played with Tiger when he first came out on Tour, and I played with him now, and I think as a whole, I was saying earlier, I think the Tour is more well prepared for it. I think we were caught off guard, Tiger became a superstar, and in the public eye so quickly, that I don't think as a whole the Tour was really ready to handle the burden and getting enough protection out there for him, getting enough marshals out there to help the other players, and I think now -- here I noticed that it was a lot different than when I played with him, say, when he won Las Vegas in '96. It was just a zoo out there and it was very difficult to play. And we didn't have enough people out there. In fact a lot of the guys playing with him were left hung out to dry, we fought our way through the crowd. We have had a ton of marshals, we have a great big hole from green to tees, they've done a really good job. It's much easier, I think, we're probably a lot more well-prepared now than we were when we first started. We've had Greg Norman and John Daly and guys that have drawn a lot of crowds, I think Tiger caught people off guard those first few weeks.

Q. You've forged a reputation as one of the most consistent guys out here. Would you like to be thought of a little beyond that?

JIM FURYK: Well, when I first came out on Tour I felt like I had the chance to win, and that if my game was good enough when it was on, and that I wanted to be more of a consistent player. And every year I've done that. I've become more consistent, I've improved my game. But none of us are saying that's our ultimate goal, the reason we're here is to come out and win. There's 144 guys on the field this week, there's 144 guys trying to win the golf tournament. And I think that's the way you have to end up showing up thinking. I would like to be consistent, but I would also like to win some golf tournaments.

Q. Did Tiger say anything to you after you shot your round, did he make any comments to you?

JIM FURYK: Good round. Good playing today, shook my hand; same with Jeff Maggert. And got a nice ovation from the gallery behind the 9th green in the stands, so it was nice.

Q. Did you and Jeff have any conversations about what was going on during the day?

JIM FURYK: No, no. Just played golf. Jeff was struggling a little bit and grinding it back, and he's probably on the cut line right now, I'm sure he wanted to be left along and go about his own deal. When I'm playing well, I don't really talk all that much. Other than, hey, great shot, stuff like that, I don't really hold too much conversations.

Q. You shoot a 62, are you going to go out and practice this afternoon, or are you going to say I've got my game where I want it?

JIM FURYK: I'm going to take a little breather. I hit a lot of balls. In fact I was on the range Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night when it was dark, so I'm going to take a little breather today and just relax. I haven't slept real well this week, so I may take a nap, just relax and try to get ready for the weekend.

End of FastScripts....

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