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August 20, 2014

Jim Furyk


CHRIS REIMER:  We want to welcome Jim Furyk to the media center here at The Barclays.  The former FedExCup Champion enters the race within the top 5.
Just some opening comments about heading into this stretch of the year with the FedExCup Playoffs obviously front and center.
JIM FURYK:  Yeah, it's a good time of the year.  It used to be at this point the last major championship was over and we were all kind of biding our time trying to get through the end of the season.
Now we have four more exciting events.  This year they are going to be stacked right on top of each other, so interesting on that.  I just came off four in a row so this is the middle of an eight out of nine stretch, but I'm looking forward to it.  Obviously played well the last four events and would like to carry some of that momentum into this week so hopefully that's possible.
CHRIS REIMER:  What about the course?  Is it a style of course that you like?
JIM FURYK:  It's a great golf course.  I think it's the best of the four we play.  There's really no weak golf course in this rotation and obviously Bethpage hosting a couple U.S. Opens, and I think the PGA‑to be and is a wonderful golf course in its own right.
But this is my favorite of the bunch.  It's still got a lot of length in the middle of it.  Holes, say, 6 through 13, there's a lot of length in those holes and you have to play well through those.  The golf course is in great shape.  Always excited coming here.
Was obviously disappointed in 2010.  I got disqualified here, so didn't get a chance to play in 2010.  But loved the golf course in 2008, played very firm, very fast.  I think it's got that capability.  I think right now it's quite a bit softer but looks like it could dry out very quick and be very tough.

Q.  Based on everything that happened in 2010 are you going to try for a repeat here?
JIM FURYK:  As far as‑‑ I made my time today, so I guess not.  Obviously was in a similar position, I think I was third place there and I'm fifth now, so effectively I missed this cut because I didn't tee it up and played pretty mediocre through Boston and the BMW, and still had an opportunity to win.
So the regular season is important in that if you have a bad event or two in the Playoffs, you still have an opportunity at East Lake to do some damage; where if you're starting back there at 15th, 20th, 25th, you've got to do a little work in the Playoffs to get your ranking up high enough to make East Lake exciting.

Q.  We often talk about major champions being battle tested in the majors since they have won already and have that experience.  Does winning the FedExCup give you a little bit of an advantage over players who have not already at this time of year?
JIM FURYK:  I don't know if that's the case.  You're really just jockeying for position.  It's kind of wild how you can go out there and finish 12th in about every event and hold your position.  You really need one of those high finishes, one, two, three, four, five to get rewarded for big finishes here.
I think experience winning golf tournaments is important, because ultimately, I realize there's that other tournament, the other points race, that really in order to play well we need to be focused on Ridgewood Country Club and the next week going up to Norton and focusing on the Deutsche Bank and then focusing on Cherry Hills at the BMW.
But the rest of that takes care of itself if you go out there and play well.

Q.  You're probably playing the best of anyone on the U.S. roster for The Ryder Cup.  How do you think the team will embrace the underdog role?
JIM FURYK:  You know, I guess just fine.  I feel like we've been the underdog for quite a few years now.  I think back to The K Club, and I still think we were the underdog when we won at Valhalla, and then obviously the last couple.  They have won the majority of The Ryder Cups the last 20 years.  They are going to have a very deep team World Ranking‑wise and such.  They are going to be solid and they are going to be deep.
Right now, we only have nine of our guys but seems like we have some guys dinged up, some guys playing well, some aren't, but it's really not that important to me right now.  If half of our team missed the cut this week, it really wouldn't be that important to me, if that makes sense.  It has no effect; or I don't think it's any indication of how we are going to play five weeks from now or six weeks from now.
Right now, I think guys are just trying to get their games in good shape, play well in the FedExCup and we'll look towards The Ryder Cup and what needs to be done there.

Q.  Quick question about your experience with fans in Europe versus the U.S. do you find that they are a little more boisterous there because of the soccer culture, or more likely to yell things that American fans might not.
JIM FURYK:  I think they are louder.  They have the song that they sing, the chants. 3,000 European fans at The Ryder Cup can make more noise than 3,000 American fans, there's no doubt about it.
But what's nice, like at Valhalla, their 3,000 made a lot of noise, and when the Americans got tired of it, they just drowned them out with the other 37,000.  So 37,000 no matter what can drown out 3,000.
So, yeah, they are excited and they are boisterous.  Might have something to do with that soccer culture.  Maybe we need to invite some of our New York Giants fans to our Ryder Cups, I don't know.  I bet they would give them a good run for their money.  Maybe some Redskins fans, Packers fans, Stealers fans, Giants fans, get some Patriots, got to bring the Boston folks down.  I think we could give them a good run for their money.
But yeah, I enjoy it.  You never know how you're going to react or how you're going to feel for first time when you miss a 4‑footer and they win a point and the place erupts.  I mean, it's something you don't hear ever in golf.  It's definitely being the away team and I find it fun.  I find it‑‑ you've got to play around with them a little bit and you can poke fun back and you can enjoy it.
I love like we go to the first tee and they will start poking fun at us.  Some of them are really good.  I've laughed.  A couple times they have taken a pretty good shot at me but it was funny and I laughed on the tee.  I think they enjoyed it and almost embraced that.  I think they are good fun and pretty good fans.

Q.  What was it that made you laugh and what's your favorite song?
JIM FURYK:  There is no good song.  Soccer stuff.  (Laughter) I'm a football fan.  So there are no good songs because it's still soccer.  And I mean that jokingly.
The best one I heard, it was really foggy last time we were at Celtic Manor and we couldn't see the fairway, and they were holding up kind of play on the first hole.  And someone yelled out, "Just follow your nose, Jim," which I thought it was perfect.  (Laughter) I about fell over laughing, and the crowd I think enjoyed the fact that I saw the humor.

Q.  What's the first time, and go back as far as you can remember, that you played somebody in match play, who was a good friend of yours and was there ever a lesson that you learned early about friendship and still wanting to beat someone?
JIM FURYK:  How far back can I go, like from junior golf or something?  Amateur golf?
I think every year in that match‑play tournament in Tucson, I've played someone that I've been pretty good friends with it seems like, or a lot of years I have.  But I mean, you can compete and be kind of ruthless as far as on the golf course but still be I think friendly.

Q.  Is that something you have to learn?
JIM FURYK:  I don't know.  I think sometimes when I dislike the guy I'm playing, and it doesn't happen that often, but if I really don't like the guy I'm playing, sometimes it's more difficult because I want to beat him so bad, I find myself trying so hard.
When I like the other guy, I don't know, I feel‑‑ I still want to win just as bad but I don't know, I guess I probably played my own style and my own game more and don't get taken out.  I don't take myself out of holes, where sometimes I try a little bit too hard and I force the issue when I really want to beat the guy on the other side bad because for one reason or another I might not have been fond of him.

Q.  Who would that be?
JIM FURYK:  Doug Ferguson.  (Laughter).

Q.  You said that your favorite course on this rotation was Ridgewood?

Q.  Why is that?  Because of the Tillinghast design?
JIM FURYK:  I'm a big fan of Tillinghast work, but I just find it's got a great mix of holes, it's got some short holes, it's got some long.  I think it's the prettiest of the four golf courses as far as from tee‑to‑green.  It's got a mix of flat greens and it's got some really severe.
But it probably just looks the best to my eye if that makes sense.  I like Plainfield and I've played well at Liberty National and Bethpage is a great golf course, but in my opinion, this is maybe not the hardest of the four, I mean, Bethpage is probably the hardest.  But I think it's the best and the best test of golf in my opinion for shot value.

Q.  I know it will be two years when you get to Gleneagles; will Medinah still provide another level of incentive for, and how many times have you looked back to what happened at Medinah?
JIM FURYK:  I don't really look back that much unless somebody asks me about it.  I kind of went back and thought about it, what I could have done better in my match, mistakes that I made, what we could have done better as a team, is there anything that I felt like I could have added to help the team for the week.  I mean, you kind of let it go and move on and try to learn from those mistakes and move on.
As far as the motivation, I mean, it's going to be a different group of guys.  It's not the same 12, in which case, it would be a lot of motivation.  The Yankees lose to the Red Sox, get swept 3‑0, next time you see them, it's a big deal.  But you're playing the same people.
It's just a different mix of guys, and it's two years later, and also, I don't think you ever really need motivation to play in The Ryder Cup.  It's in my opinion, it's my favorite event and it the one I look forward to the most and I feel blessed to have‑‑ this will be my ninth opportunity.
Obviously I'm disappointed in the 2‑6 record at this point but 3‑6 sounds a lot better.  So hopefully we can have a good week.  No extra motivation needed.  I love the event and I think everyone does.

Q.  Does golf need a Tiger‑like figure and do you think Rory is becoming that?
JIM FURYK:  I'll let y'all answer that because I can remember back to when, let's say, Greg Norman's dominance, we'll say that kind of ended, and he was a great player and wasn't dominating. 
       And if you read the articles back then, say, in the mid 90s, it was golf was desperately in need of a dominant player; and then Tiger went on a tear and dominated golf and then the articles were all, well it really stinks to have a guy that dominates and we need more guys to really challenge him.  And that goes down and now we need another dominant player.  It's just giving y'all something to write about really.
Golf in general may not be thriving but it seems as though our tour is doing quite well, and I think we're always working harder to provide a better platform for everyone to watch.  But it seems like we're doing quite well and there's always a story.
I think if there isn't one guy that dominates, you've got four or five players that are all kind of ticking to try get that spot.  If it's not Rory, then you have Justin Rose or you have a Martin Kaymer this year or you have a Bubba Watson, and there's guys that are close.
But the heir apparent and the guy that looks the most talented and has won more major championships is Rory.  I mean, he's got the full package.  Almost unfortunate for him.  He's wearing the same gear, he's playing the same equipment and he's somewhat on the same team as Tiger and he's always going to be compared to Tiger, which is probably the real only downfall.  That's tough shoes to fill.
I'm not sure, Tiger already kind of self‑compared or compared himself or put the Nicklaus records up there, and obviously he was comfortable with that role, and it doesn't seem to bothering Rory too much.
It's tough shoes to fill and a tough person to be‑‑ if he doesn't win 14 majors, if you call that a failure, that's kind of difficult to stomach if that makes sense.  But he seems to be on his way.

Q.  Would Tiger be a failure if he didn't get 18?
JIM FURYK:  How could he?  I mean maybe, arguably, the best player ever, so I don't know.  I wouldn't say so.  No, I would say he doesn't have to tee it up again and he's going to be possibly the greatest all‑time, and if not, I think inarguably the top three of all time.

Q.  Do you think people could look upon him as not succeeding if he doesn't reach 18?
JIM FURYK:  Well, I'm never surprised at how people view things.  So do I think it's wrong that someone would view that as a failure or not a win?  Yeah, I think it's wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised by someone saying it.  Just because people are entitled to their own opinions.

Q.  But you do read?
JIM FURYK:  I can for the most part.  I don't always.  (Laughter).  Yeah, I can, but I don't always.
CHRIS REIMER:  Thanks, Jim, good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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