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August 23, 2014

Jim Furyk


KELLY BARNES:¬† Please welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room.¬† A bogey‑free third round.¬† How do you feel heading into tomorrow?
JIM FURYK:  Good.  I really played a good, solid round of golf today.  I think I stayed really patient.  I had some wedges early in the round and hit a wedge to 1 and spun it off the green.  Hit kind of a poor wedge at 3 and 5 to give myself good opportunities.
Was a little disappointed to get off to an even‑par start, and then you go through the stretch of 6 through 12, you play some very difficult holes and I hit the ball very, very well and gave myself three or four really good looks for birdie, lipped‑out a couple putts.¬† Mis‑read a couple.
Just had a hard time getting the round started, and sometimes a round like that, you lose your patience and try to force the issue, and also you turn a round where you're playing really well, it can turn into a couple over par.
I was able to stay real patient today.¬† It was nice to see a birdie putt go in on 13.¬† Made a nice 6‑footer on 14.¬† Almost made it on 15 and birdied 16, and before you know, it had a good, solid round and had myself in good position for tomorrow.

Q.  I think the average golfer thinks the long bunker shot is the hardest shot in golf.  Can you describe what you did on No.18, and how hard is that for you guys?
JIM FURYK:  Well, it is a difficult shot.  But good news, bad news, I had that backstop behind.
So all bunker shots are really difficult when‑‑ if the slope went the other way, you kind of falls away, it's a false back, we'll say, on the back of that, then it's really hard to get aggressive with that shot and you're going to leave it short most times.
Knowing that I had that back stop behind me, I can get that ball all the way up into the fringe and still leave myself a pretty good par putt.  I was able to stay aggressive and hit a good, solid shot.  Came out maybe just a little faster than I was hoping.  I knew it was going to be close and I knew it was going to be up there toward the fringe.  I didn't know hopefully it wasn't going to stick up in the short cut and I could hear the reaction from the fans.
The speed; the guys that hits the ball really far has a much better chance in the bunker to throw it a long way and that's why I think golf professionals, we create a lot more speed than the average golfer and it makes it that much more difficult to hit a bunker shot.  You need a lot of speed and big swing in that situation.

Q.  You've had a lot of opportunities and been in contention; what's the anticipation for tomorrow?
JIM FURYK:¬† I'm looking forward to it.¬† The last opportunity I had was in Canada.¬† I had a couple‑shot lead and it was a much thinner leaderboard.¬† There was only going to be four or five guys that probably had a chance to win the golf tournament on Sunday.
Tomorrow is a much different scenario, and there's‑‑ I didn't count and I haven't really seen the leaderboard but I know there's a ton of guys between‑‑ is 9 the lead?¬† So there's a ton of guys between 5‑ and 9‑under par.¬† Going to be a little bit of a shootout tomorrow.
So I'm happy to be at nine and looking forward to it.  Had some opportunities this year and I felt like I've played well on Sunday, and you know, excited about one more opportunity.

Q.  In regards to those past opportunities, do you try to block out what's happened to you on Sundays over the last couple years, out do you try to use that sort of as motivation?
JIM FURYK:¬† I don't know if it's motivation.¬† But no, it's part of‑‑ I don't want to say my history, but it's part of my golf game and what's going on, and I'll use all those situations to learn from and to get better from.
So, no, I don't really block anything out.¬† It's done.¬† It's over.¬† I've thought about those situations and how I could handle them better.¬† We've talked about it‑‑ or you've heard me talk about it at length.¬† Just put it behind me and try to use it to my advantage in the future.
No, I don't need any motivation.  Sitting tied for the lead in a big of golf tournament on a golf course that I really enjoy playing and have a lot of respect for.  I think it's a great golf course.  No extra motivation needed.  I'm just happy to be in a good spot and looking forward to tomorrow.

Q.  Is this as well as you have played without winning?  You seem to be up there every week.  Your name is always on the leaderboard.
JIM FURYK:¬† I've had some stretches in my career where I've played really well through‑‑ say, like it was 2007, 2008, 2009 two of those years I had really good years where I did win and I had some opportunities, a couple opportunities a year.¬† I think 2009 and 2010 were very similar years.¬† 2009 and 2010 were very similar years.¬† I got in contention and played really well in spots and got beat.¬† And 2010, you get in contention to win three times.¬† I had three opportunities to win that year and I won all three tournaments, and all of a sudden you win the FedExCup and the Player of the Year and it wasn't a big separation from two years.
Sometimes there's not a big difference between a real solid year and a real great year.  Sometimes it's a shot here, a shot there or a putt going in or just being on the course and being comfortable and having the belief that something good is going to happen and it's all going to work out in the end.  Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

Q.  I believe this is nine Ryder Cup teams, never missed since your first, it's almost 20 years’ worth.  Where does that rank in your career accomplishments to do this again?
JIM FURYK:  I'm very proud to represent my country and to be fortunate enough to do it nine times at The Ryder Cup.  It's my favorite event.
I'll be honest, when I look back at my career and think about the things that I've done, honestly it means a lot to me.¬† You have to be consistent, you have to play well over a couple‑year span, and then you do that each and every time and be able to, I qualified for eight of those, and relied on a captain's pick for the last one at Medinah from Davis.¬† But I was in the mix and close.
To be in the mix that often, I'm proud of that record.

Q.  Can you talk about your difficulties you've moved behind and tried to learn from, where does the 2012 Ryder Cup rank in all that?  Obviously that was a tough day for everyone, yourself included.  Was that any harder than any tournament to move on from.
JIM FURYK:  I wouldn't say it was any harder and I wouldn't say it was any easier.  It's different because it's a team atmosphere and a team effort.  It was unusual.  Something happens, you lose a golf tournament and it's definitely a bottomless feeling.
I don't know, I always liked the fact that golf is an individual sport and you really don't have any‑‑ you're kind of the only hero and I was the only one to accept the consequences.¬† There's a different feeling about a team atmosphere, and some of my closest friends‑‑ my closest friends going up I played basketball with, and we won a section championship together and we did things in our school that we've never done before.
You always have those friends ships and those memories and those things that you've accomplished together, and it's the same thing in The Ryder Cup, whether it's Valhalla or Brookline or even some of the teams where we didn't win, there's still a close bond, because you're out there under pressure and pulling for each other.
To have that one kind of flip, I was probably the most disappointed to be honest with you, and Davis would never want it to be that way, but I was really most disappointed for him.  He did such a great job and I know how important The Ryder Cup is to him and how he always wanted to captain the team, and he had us in a great position.
Quite honestly, we just laid an egg on Sunday and The European Team got the momentum.  The first thing I went to is I was upset we lost, but I really felt bad for Davis.  I tried to tell him, and he felt bad for us.  That's the sign of a good captain, really.

Q.  Have you ever felt old or do you think about age?
JIM FURYK:  No.  When I look at the guys out here that honestly, I'm old enough to be their father I guess, and a lot of times I'm sitting in the family room and we're talking about, you know, there's been subjects, I look back and go, wow, that was a long time ago that things like that crossed my mind.
Yeah, I don't feel old really in my game if that makes sense.  I still feel like physically I'm in good shape.  I don't feel like things hurt or that I can't keep up physically.  But yeah, there's definitely almost a generation gap between some of the guys I'm competing against each and every day.
But I find it fun.¬† I think it keeps me a little younger, and it keeps things fresh for me.¬† It you know, I think I have that‑‑ I like to sit back and not really say much and kind of zing in every once in awhile.¬† Gives me a chance from a veteran perspective to be able to do that.

Q.  Are you doing anything not as well at this age?  It seems like your game is right there and everything.  Is there anything that you sit there and say, I wish I could do that like I did ten years ago or 12 years ago?
JIM FURYK:¬† That's going to happen.¬† I feel pretty good about my game.¬† You know, you have the battle scars as far as mentally; you have all the good moments and all the bad moments to look back on.¬† But physically I'm more fit and stronger now than I was when I was younger because I work out harder than I did before, and I hit the ball harder than I ever did‑‑ I was never a long player, and I hit the ball as hard or harder than I ever did.
Eventually there's going to be a day where I go, oh, shoot, I don't hit it as hard anymore.¬† Just hasn't happened yet but it's coming.¬† I think someone ‑‑ not in this room ‑‑ asked me back in 2006 if I thought the game had passed me by, and that was still eight years ago.¬† I kind of chuckled and said, no, I don't think so, yet.¬† It will happen some day but not today yet.
KELLY BARNES:  Thank you, Jim.

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