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August 7, 2014

Jim Furyk


KELLY ELBIN:  With three birdies to close his round today, Jim Furyk in with a 5‑under par 66 and is one shot out of the lead midway through the opening round of the 96th PGA Championship.
Runner‑up last year at Oak Hill, tied for 14th at the Masters earlier this year and tied for 12th in the U.S. Open and fourth at The Open Championship.  Your track record of late in the major championships has been pretty darned good.  Congratulations on the first round.
JIM FURYK:  Thanks.  I was happy with the start, I was plugging along, having a good day, 2‑under par, three holes to play and I was playing a very, very patient round of golf and lo and behold, it was a nice finish birdieing 7,8 and 9.  A couple of good iron shots on 7 and 8 and a long putt on No.9.  It was a good way to cap off the day and good start to the week.
KELLY ELBIN:  Bogey‑free round, five birdies, if you would start clubs into 14, starting there and then the length of the birdie putts please.
JIM FURYK:  14 was a 4‑iron in morning to about, my guess would be about 12 feet.
No. 1 was a driver and 9‑iron and I made a pretty good putt there from about 25 to 30 feet.
No. 7, I laid up, hit a little 60‑degree wedge from about 60 yards, about five feet underneath the hole.
6‑iron on No. 8 to about four feet.  And then No.9, I drove it in a divot in the middle of the fairway.  I played a 9‑iron to the center of the green and probably made about a 25‑footer.

Q.  Did you change what you're having for breakfast or whatever, the second half of the year, versus the first half of the year versus the last couple of years?  Your performance in recent weeks has just been astonishing.
JIM FURYK:  Yeah, you know, I felt like from start to finish, I had a pretty solid year of golf.  It definitely picked up a little bit through the early summer at Charlotte and then at THE PLAYERS, finishing second, one shot off with some hot finishes.
Went to the U.S. Open, had a solid week and took a month off.   Didn't know how that would go.  First time I've ever done that midseason.  Took a month off, headed over to the British and followed it up with some pretty solid finishes; a fourth, a second, 15th last week.  So I guess it went pretty well.  I'm fresh, mentally feel pretty good out there, and I guess surprisingly after a month off, there wasn't a ton of golf in that time.  I played a little bit; I came out pretty mechanically sound.  I hit the ball very, very well at both the British Open and the Canadian Open and really didn't miss a beat.

Q.  Tiger mentioned the course is playing quite fast, and possibility of rain might slow it down.  How did you find it today and what's your outlook on that?
JIM FURYK:  Wow, I don't think it could be any softer, so I'm surprised, actually.
I think the golf course, because I'm not a very long hitter, I think it's a very long golf course.   I think that the ball is not rolling very much in the fairways.  I think for as little rain as we have, I'm shocked at how slow the golf course is playing.  So for him to say that, I'm surprised.  He's so much longer than I am, but I feel like the greens are pretty receptive, thank goodness.  They match the fairways.  You know, the low scores really come from firm fairways and soft greens; make the golf course play short and letting us throw darts.
Right now the greens are relatively receptive, and that's a good thing for me, because I'm hitting 4‑iron into every darned hole it seems like.  I felt like the golf course is playing slow, and I had some drives that really aren't rolling‑‑ drivers that aren't rolling ten yards after they hit.  So I'm extremely, extremely surprised by that comment.
I would say it's playing right into the bomber's hands right now.  It's a long golf course.  It's playing soft.

Q.  A lot of players are hurt these days it seems like; Kuchar had to withdraw today; Stricker has got a hip problem; Tiger, of course.  You've been able to maintain your career without a lot of major disabling injuries.  I know you've had some small things, but why do you think that is?  Do you think there's anything about your body or your swing or something that enables you to be‑‑
JIM FURYK:  No, I think a lot of it is good luck.  I had wrist surgery in 2004 and missed about five months of the season.  I hurt the other wrist, I think right around, if I remember, it was the end of 2000, missed a couple months of golf.  Waiting for that to heal; a couple hand injuries.
For the most part, I feel like I've done a pretty good job preventatively, trying to stay in decent shape.  Any nicks and bumps and bruises I've had, I've done a good job of getting out ahead of them instead of waiting until I was hurt or had a hard time playing.  I've tried to be preventative and worked with some folks at home.  I have a gentleman at home I work with three times a week to stay as healthy as I can, been doing that for the last seven, eight years and it's been really nice.
Tiger is about as fit as anyone I can imagine.  Kuch and Stricker are in good shape.  I think a lot of it is good luck.  Dufner is going through some neck issues‑‑ ten years ago, I battled some of that myself.  Mostly I've just been fortunate; when I've had some injuries, I've been fortunate I've healed and got through them and been one hundred done with them.

Q.  You're not as long a hitter as some of these guys, so maybe that means you're not putting as much violent torque on your body, do you think that might have something to do with it?
JIM FURYK:  Surely Tiger creates a ton speed, Kuch is a touch longer than me but I don't think really they are putting that much more pressure on their bodies than I am.  I think they have had just a run of bad luck.  You're going to, the way the golf swing works and as repetitive as we are, it's not a football game.  We are not taking hits out there, but you're doing a very awkward motion at a high speed and repetitive, doing that same motion, over and over and over again, it's very easy to eventually have something break down or get injured.  I think that's why guys are working out so much now or working to try to not only be strong, but kind of even out their bodies after doing the same motion one way, trying to get everything pretty even on both sides of their body and try to prevent injury.
In Tiger's case, yeah, he may put‑‑ I'm not a doctor or maybe smart enough to figure that all out, but he's definitely going to put a lot more torque and pressure on his body than I would just by his swing speed, but he's also a lot stronger than I am and maybe can handle that a lot better.

Q.  What do you make of the changes since 2008, and do you think that they play in anybody's hands, the changes specifically, not the golf course itself.
JIM FURYK:  What are the changes specifically, and I could answer a lot easier.  I'm being serious.  Other than 8 green, so much more prettier green right now, I think it looks better than it has ever, and this is the third rendition.
What are some of the major changes, if you can help me out, because I don't notice giant leaps.

Q.  Most of the greens have been redone.
JIM FURYK:  Maybe some of the ridges are not quite as severe as they once were.  Say, 14 green.  The length, doesn't seem like they added any length since The Ryder Cup.  I think they had those back tees on, say, 15 and 16 for The Ryder Cup‑‑ I'm sorry, 16 and 17.  But most of the other tees look pretty similar to me.  Have they added a bunch of yardage since then?
I don't really think the changes‑‑ I may be wrong.  The golf course when we played The Ryder Cup was so much firmer and faster, and I was hitting so much less club into the greens than I did today.  Sometimes three irons less in The Ryder Cup than I am now, because of the‑‑ but it's the time of year.  I mean, it's hot; it's humid and they have probably got to keep some moisture on this golf course in the heat, where there, we had nice cool weather and perfect.  They could make it as firm and as hard and as fast as they wanted.
I think the slopes maybe showed up a little bit more at The Ryder Cup on the greens, and from what I've heard, when they redid the greens, they may have softened some of the ridges and they are not quite as severe.
But I don't think any of the changes really affected the play.  I mean, adding yardage to, say, 16, 17, which we saw at The Ryder Cup, who is it going to benefit?  Guys that can hit it 300 yards.  Obviously I played a good round today and it's still a playable golf course, and I like the fact‑‑ I don't mind that the golf course is soft, but you like to see everything match.  If the fairways are going to be soft, then the greens should be soft.  If the fairways are going to be firm and fast, the greens should be firm and fast.  You want to see the golf course keep its characteristic the whole way through.

Q.  Can you talk about when you finalized your plan to take the big break this summer, and how much did you shut it down over the break and with so much golf and a short window ahead, how key is it to be fresh during this period?
JIM FURYK:  I pretty much knew my schedule last fall, or, say, early winter; that by November, I knew what I was going to do for this year, almost per tournament.  As long as I stayed healthy and as long as everything went as planned, I kind of knew my schedule.
In the summer months, I really only took one‑‑ I skipped the AT&T at Congressional, was the only event I skipped this year compared to last.  It wasn't a major change.  I took two or three events less this year maybe than I've played last, and it was kind of a transformation starting in about May and June last year, trying to figure out a way to be a little bit more fresh and mentally kind of help myself out on the golf course.
Felt like in talking to family‑‑ my dad's been trying to get me to play less golf for five years.  My wife, you know, would probably love for me to play less but is always supportive no matter what I do.  I think probably it took talking to Dr.Rotella little bit, maybe someone from the outside, to let them in for me to probably listen, if that makes sense.  You know, it's sometimes hardest to listen to the people that love you and that love you the most.

Q.  You led this tournament almost from start to finish last year.  What is your sense of satisfaction to get in the mix again, or is it too early for that?
JIM FURYK:  It's too early, and really, the different years, that one is long, long, long gone, so it's been out of my mind for a long time.  The golf courses couldn't be more drastically different.  That was, get the ball in play, old style, kind of‑‑ I won't say it had a U.S. Open feel but it's that type of golf course.  Much more play to your spots and pick and choose.
This is a much bigger, longer, more modern golf course.  Totally different style of play, and totally different type of setup.  So it really doesn't have any‑‑ in my mind, doesn't have a feel of any similarities from last year, but it's nice to be in a major championship, and throwing up a good number early in the week.  Got myself in a good position now, but there's a lot of golf to be played.

Q.  Players that have won as you have and had a long career, they will talk about how positive experiences came into getting the job done, but the nature of the game is that there are as many negative experiences as there are positive.
JIM FURYK:  Some might argue more.

Q.  As you work with Dr.Rotella, how much of your focus is on the positive and how much focus is trying to avoid having to deal with the negative?
JIM FURYK:  You know what, I think I never worked with a sports psychologist for 19 and a half years of my career, so I guess I didn't really know how this all would work or how when I approached‑‑ when I approached him, it wasn't really anything to do with my game.  It kind of had to do with managing my time and my life and kind of fitting priorities in, whether it be family, my kids, practice time, golf, business; just trying to manage everything.  I didn't feel like early last year I was doing a good job of that.
So really the first conversation or two with Bob was more about life than it was about golf to be honest with you.  And then as I got more comfortable with him and I wasn't putting very well last summer, we started talking about putting.  And then as that‑‑ I liked what we talked about after a couple sessions, and then we started talking about other parts of getting the ball around the hole; about coming so close a few times, the PGA being one of them last year and being disappointed.
He's an easy person to talk to, and I have a hard time usually opening up to people and to strangers.  So we're still kind of building and growing in a relationship.  Definitely his thoughts and ideas have left me at ease on the golf course a little bit more, and in life, and have helped me‑‑ helped me be more patient this year; but there is I think just to identify times when things were going awry, realizing that a lot of times, so is my mental attitude, and I was able to turn those things around a lot quicker.
KELLY ELBIN:  Jim Furyk in with 66, thank you.

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