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February 14, 2015

Jim Furyk


THE MODERATOR:  We would like to welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room.  Jim, bogey‑free 63 today.  Obviously a new tournament low 18 for you.  First 54 hole lead since 2014 RBC Canadian Open.  If you could, take us through your round today, please.
JIM FURYK:  I think it's only been four events since the RBC Canadian Open.
You, obviously, excited about the round.  It was a lot of fun out there.  I really had a bunch of kick‑ins today.  Probably four times today I hit it inside three feet.  So that really kind of jump started the round.
So it was a little frustrating on the front nine.  Missed a couple short birdies on 6 and 7, but I made up for it on the back because I made a pile of putts and the ball seemed to go in a lot more.
So, I enjoyed it.  I felt like I ‑‑ went out this morning on the range.  And actually didn't hit it very well on the range this morning and that kept me pretty focused on the golf course.
I hit a couple errant shots with the driver on the range this morning.  And so stepping out there on 9 tee and 10 tee, I was really focused into what I was doing.  It seems like sometimes when I'm just feeling a touch off is when I played some of my best rounds because of that.
I've really hung in there and focused well and I hit the ball great on the golf course today, and a bunch of fairways, a lot of good iron shots and had some wedges that were clicking where I hit the ball I think on number 4, 11, 18.  There was another one in there, where I had tap‑ins today.  So that was a lot of fun.

Q.  What's your best round at Pebble?
JIM FURYK:  Today.  Absolutely.  Today.  I don't know what it was before that, but probably I wouldn't even venture a guess.

Q.  Did it feel like your best round at Pebble?
JIM FURYK:  Oh yeah, absolutely.  Absolutely.  But I also haven't seen this golf course in these conditions very often as well where the greens are rolling pretty well, they're somewhat receptive, but they're not the ball's not spinning back off greens.  There's no wind out there, perfect weather.
So in the 20 years I've played here, I may have seen five days this nice in the last 20 years.  To string them together five days in a row has been pretty amazing.

Q.  You mentioned that you generally‑‑ that you hit a few bad shots off the tee on the range today and it made you focus more on the course today.  Generally speaking, does that normally have a‑‑ have that same effect if you hit, if you don't hit some, if you don't hit good shots on the range it makes you focus a little bit more?
JIM FURYK:  I tended to play some of my best tournaments when I was really close to being on but just a notch off.  I was hitting the ball pretty well but it wasn't perfect.  That's when I tended to play my best.  Because my focus is so good.
When I'm hitting it, when I got a lot of confidence and I feel like I'm clicking and firing on all cylinders with my swing, sometimes we get a little greedy, we try to hit a shot that we shouldn't try to hit, get a little lackadaisical at times and make a bad swing from loss of concentration.
So, yeah, that's happened to me in the past.

Q.  For accounting purposes, if you have seen maybe five days like this in your 20 years, does that mean we're up to 10 now?

Q.  Okay.  Secondly, just a touch of breeze into on 18.  Your strategy there is to play it as a three‑shotter regardless?
JIM FURYK:  There's a reason for that.  I can't get there.  I don't think so.

Q.  Have you tried?
JIM FURYK:  I have in the past, but never when it's into the breeze.  So, yeah, I played well all day.
Honestly, I didn't even look in my book when I got to 18.  My idea there was to hit a conservative tee shot and play it as three‑shot hole.
But well, I don't know, I guess I look at it 260, if I hit it up the left side and hit it pretty good, I might have a go at it.
I'm not sure what Nick hit in.  I would be curious to ask him if he hit three or 5‑wood in there.  I was playing with Watney and he hit it right there on the front fringe in two and he's obviously, he's a good 30 yards longer than me off the tee, maybe 40.

Q.  Can you speak ‑‑
JIM FURYK:  If he hit 5‑wood, maybe I had a chance.  But if he hit 3‑wood in there I wouldn't have sniffed it anyway.

Q.  Talk to a little bit just the way that you don't have to overpower this course.  You just keep it in places where it needs to be and kind of equalizes where you ‑‑ maybe a course where somebody hits it long could just overpower it whereas this course may be a little bit more equal in that regard.
JIM FURYK:  Most of the courses we play on the TOUR.  We play some long golf courses, but as long as they're firm and fast and the ball is rolling, I'm comfortable.  It's not really the length of the golf course that bothers me.  I think, for me, it's the mindlessness at times.  If it's long and open, and you can ‑‑ and there's not a lot of rough and there's no penalty for hitting it crooked, you can bomb it, find it, hit it again.  That obviously doesn't do me any good.
I'm looking more at the shot value than the length, if that makes sense.  Like, I love Akron and it's a pretty long golf course.  It's a place that I've had a lot of success and ‑‑ but it's not a mindless long.  You got to really place the ball off the tee and put it in good positions.

Q.  Given the last time your shots really counted was late September, what is your surprise or pleased level of being in this position first time playing golf in four months?
JIM FURYK:  The last event I played was the Grand Slam in mid‑October and again, I wasn't overly prepared for that one.  I didn't play very well.

Q.  Do you mind if we don't count that one?
JIM FURYK:  Well, it's you're article, you can count whatever you want.  It was competitive though for two days.  Well, not really for me, but for the rest of the guys it was.  For Rory and I, it wasn't competitive.  The other two guys, it was.
I think that ‑‑ yeah, I came in here very open‑minded and I didn't really know where my game stood.  I haven't played in three and a half months.
I didn't particularly have a great week of practice last week.  I played a lot of golf, my scores weren't that good.
I felt like my practice sessions on the range and short game and that were pretty good.  But my scores when I played weren't very good.
So I really didn't know where I stood to come out here.  The mindset was, I was going to be very patient and see where I was and go kind of play Pebble and L.A. and reassess and have the week off to go get ready for Doral and Tampa.
I guess I'm pleasantly surprised.  I don't know if ‑‑ I wouldn't expect to be 18 under par after three days, I'll promise you that.  But I also didn't expect the weather to be like this either.

Q.  How much golf did you play from the Grand Slam until getting here?
JIM FURYK:  In spurts.  There was times I would go sometimes a whole month where I played when I had to.  For say an outing or for whatever it may be.  And that might only have been once a week for four weeks.  That was sometimes the white tees in a scramble for that matter, if I had to.  Whatever it may be.  I didn't practice.
And then I would go for spurts where I actually did have a club in my hand quite a bit and worked on some parts of my game.  I was trying to get ready for Tiger's event and wasn't feeling ‑‑ it was kind of a crash course.  Started a little too late, tried to cram a little too much in and wasn't feeling great going into there.
Then shut it down again for most of December for the holidays, which I do almost every year.  Once his event's over, I shut it down.
Again, might only have a club in my hand a couple times the month of December.  But then really worked hard in January.  Once I got to about January 3 and got the holidays behind us I really worked hard.  Was at the golf course quite a bit.

Q.  Understanding the scoring conditions are good out here for everybody, but can you quantify what it means to have the experience you have on this course?  You played here probably as much as anybody in the field.  Is it worth strokes, is it worth what, what is it worth?
JIM FURYK:  It's worth a lot of strokes.  Absolutely.  Without the wind‑‑ you always know coming into Pebble Beach that it's one of your very good opportunities to score and shoot a pretty good number in this tournament, if the weather is good.
But you're praying this, if you get one bad day out of three, please don't let‑‑ please don't have it on Pebble, because in the windy conditions, this is the most difficult golf course to score on and shoot.
So the conditions really weigh in here more than the other three.

Q.  I'm sorry, I misspoke.  Your experience on this course over your 20 how many years?
JIM FURYK:  How does that help?

Q.  Yeah what is that worth tomorrow?
JIM FURYK:  I feel like everyone in this field's played Pebble Beach a lot.  You got ‑‑ it used to be called ‑‑ it's now the Callaway Invitational.  Throughout our careers a lot of guys have played this golf course and I guess if I were sitting here in my rookie year or second year I hadn't played it a lot.
But now 22 years deep, I've played, you know, probably a hundred rounds around the place.  So, to the point where I never play practice rounds here at Pebble.  I go play the other two, because it is less crowded and I feel like I can get more out of playing over at Monterey Peninsula.
It helps.  I mean there's definitely a ‑‑ you learn a little, a few things, 14 green's tricky, you learn a few things around the way, where you can miss the ball, where you can't.  You definitely can save a shot or two by knowing the golf course and seeing it over the years.

Q.  What kind of year do you think you had last year?
JIM FURYK:  Good.  Very solid.

Q.  For someone who didn't win last year, I think your golf's first six million dollar man worldwide without winning?
JIM FURYK:  Well, there's a great record.  I was looking for that one.

Q.  No, but the number of chances you gave yourself, I would be curious‑‑
JIM FURYK:  I was also golf's first million dollar man without a win and I hated that one, too.

Q.  Can I finish my question?
JIM FURYK:  No, I'm on a roll here.  Everyone's laughing.

Q.  How do you stack that up with years where you might have won maybe a tournament, but didn't give your self as many chances as you did last year.
JIM FURYK:  It's tricky.  It's really hard to put into words.  I've been asked a lot about last year and I look back at 2003, 2006, 2010, those were some of my best years.  I had multiple wins in all three of those.  I got to No. 2 in the world in 2006, I won my only Major in 2003.  Player of the Year in 2010.  Those are the three years that really stick out.
I want to win golf tournaments.  That's what gets me out of bed in the morning, that's what keeps me competing.  But I played so well and I did some things last year that I really had never done in my career before, as far as consistency and playing so well for so long.
It's disappointing not to win, but I still, it was a very ‑‑ maybe I won't call it a great year, but it was a very, very good year last year.  I'm proud of a lot of things I did accomplish.
But that being said, ultimately, I want to win golf tournaments and that's what's most important to me.  And I think maybe at times last year I put ‑‑ I sat here and looked at y'all and said, you know, I'm not going to put pressure on myself, I'm just going to go out there and try and play the same way.
But I think that, on Sunday, it's just hard not to.  It's hard not to look you right in the eye and say, I want to win golf tournaments, but it's hard to go out the next day and try to play the same way and not put extra pressure on yourself.  I think we're all going to do that.  We all expect a lot of ourselves and we all put pressure on ourselves on Sunday, but I think that the way maybe I was doing it in the past was a little counterproductive at times.

Q.  Could you find yourself putting more pressure on yourself in the various chances you had later in the year as opposed to earlier?  Now that we're getting to the end and ‑‑
JIM FURYK:  I didn't have that many good chances to win early in the year so I guess it might be a moot point, if that makes sense.  I played solid, but I'm not sure ‑‑ I wasn't really in the hunt until I probably got eight, nine, 10 tournaments under my belt.  Then I had some good opportunities.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jim.
JIM FURYK:  Thank you.

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