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April 19, 2015

Jim Furyk


JOHN BUSH:¬† We'd like to welcome our 2015 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing Champion Jim Furyk.¬† He won for the 17th time on the PGA Tour.¬† He closed with an 8‑under 63, which is the best final round by a winner in this tournament's history.
Jim, what a thrilling final round.  Welcome back to this winner's circle.  It's been a few years.
JIM FURYK:¬† Yes, it's been a little over four‑and‑a‑half, to be exact.¬† I'm well aware.¬† I had to talk about it a lot over those years.¬† And I think that dropping the putt and getting excited on 17 there was a lot of pent‑up frustration.
I can't think of a more fitting place to kind of break that streak and get another win under my belt.  This is my favorite event.  I love being here.  And outside of winning another Major championship, this is the perfect place to do it.
Really if you want to go through the round, it was pretty simple.¬† The first five holes I really didn't play that well.¬† I hit some good iron shots but I really was‑‑ I can't say I was leaking oil, because I never really got started.¬† I hate playing in the rain.¬† I never felt comfortable with my hands on the grip.¬† I made some just awful swings early on and I kind of‑‑ 1 was okay, but I hit it way right off of 2.¬† Hit a tree and dropped.¬† And I probably only hit the drive 150 yards.¬† I was trying to lay up down the left side.¬† Hit it way right, hit a tree, kind of snuck through.¬† I got a nice lie in the rough and hit a 9‑iron up over the trees greenside, and hit it two feet and made birdie.¬† One good shot and made four.
Tugged it way off left off of 3.¬† It was going to definitely be blocked out behind some trees.¬† It hit a tree, kicked right onto the fairway.¬† Knocked a 5‑iron up there about 20 feet, and almost made a birdie.
Hit it left of the pin on 4.  No excuse for that.  No one hits it left of the 4th pin today.  I had it 25 feet left and knocked in the putt for birdie.
And then tugged a drive off of 5.¬† It was headed for the lake, and I hit a tree and dropped short of it.¬† Laid up and hit a nice wedge in there.¬† And missed the putt to make par, and I was scratching my head, I felt like I was about 2‑over and I was 2‑under.¬† I really got some good breaks early.
And then the putter really just stayed hot.¬† I didn't see a lot of putts go in on Thursday.¬† Didn't see a lot of putts go in on Saturday, but I filled it up today.¬† I didn't leave many out there.¬† And when you get those days‑‑ when I got off to that start and saw that I really wasn't playing that well, I was a couple under, and I started seeing putts go in, and I made a bomb on 8, I started thinking that this might be the day.¬† It might be the time we get in the winner's circle.
I just knew the whole day I was grinding in the back of my head trying to figure out what I needed to do to strike the ball a little bit better, and made a little setup adjustment.¬† After hitting a bad iron into 11, I hit a 5‑iron into 11 that I really made a‑‑ I don't know how to say it, a sissy swing, just very conservative, very unaggressive swing, I guess.¬† And left it on the front of the green and three‑putted.¬† But I felt something in that swing.¬† And to be honest with you in looking back, even though that was my only bogey of the day, it really helped me out in that I knew that I had to be aggressive the rest of the day.¬† I knew that one bogey wasn't going to kill me, but I knew I had to keep the pedal down, had to be aggressive and I really felt something in my setup there that was causing all the bad swings.
And from that point on I felt like I really struck the ball well.  I had a lot of confidence.  I didn't hold back.  I wasn't conservative.  Everything was aggressive.  And I hit a lot of shots at the pin, and still stayed hot with the putter.

Q.¬† Over the last four‑and‑a‑half years you've provided some perspective on the close calls you've had.¬† Were you hiding some of the frustration from the outside world?¬† Were you more frustrated than you let on?
JIM FURYK:  (Shaking head no) Yes.  (Laughter).
Yeah, I was frustrated.¬† I'm not real good at‑‑ I'm just not real good at sharing my emotions, if that makes sense; never really been.¬† There's very few people in the world that I can.¬† So I'm good at definitely hiding it.¬† And I was frustrated.¬† And I was getting to the point where‑‑ I was getting to the point where I was starting to get to the point where losing hurts a lot more than winning feels good.¬† And I was starting to believe that.¬† And I didn't want to, but you have the lead and see someone beat you a bunch of times in a row, and I won't say it was a negative attitude.¬† I always did feel like I was going to win a tournament again, that I was going to win again.¬† And I believed that in my heart.¬† But I was starting to feel like this game is beating me up, and the losing hurts a lot more than winning feels good.¬† I think I just forget how good win go feels.

Q.  You said it's tough for you to tell people about your emotions.  Are you more happy right now or relieved?
JIM FURYK:¬† Happy.¬† Happy.¬† I had a little span back there at Tampa and‑‑ in 2010 when I won in Tampa, I said I was happy, but I was more relieved.¬† And then to come here and win, win The TOUR Championship, that was more joy.¬† For one reason or another, this is‑‑ it's really notrelief at all.¬† It's zero percent relief and 100 percent joy.¬† It felt really good.

Q.  Piggybacking on that a little, because of the frustration, because of the previous playoff that you won here in somewhat similar circumstances, someone makes a putt on 18.  Did you feel like, I'm shooting 63 and I'm still having to grind a tournament out like this?
JIM FURYK:¬† You know, I played with Kevin yesterday and I really was impressed with his game.¬† I see a lot of‑‑ we have a similar style in that it's not power oriented.¬† It's ball control, put the ball in the fairway.¬† It's a good golf course for him.¬† But I was impressed with how well he played.¬† And any time he got in a little trouble or needed to hit a good shot, I felt like he did.¬† I really believed that looking up at the board he would birdie 17 or 18 coming in, and that there probably was going to be a playoff.¬† I won't lie, I was kind of rooting for it not.¬† And my playoff record pretty much, I can sum up and say it sucks (laughter).¬† I think I had won the last two, because it was at this event.¬† So it still stinks.
So I think in my mind I was really saying, well, the playoff record wasn't so great, but you won the last one here and I just had a feeling‑‑ I've had the feeling before and not won the golf tournament in the last four‑and‑a‑half years, but I really had a lot of things go right today.¬† I needed to shoot a low number, but in order to do that‑‑ the 7‑under I shot on Friday was about as easy a 7‑under as I've ever shot.¬† It could have been‑‑ boy, if I had putted like I did today, it could have been anything.
Today, that was one hell of a 63, because I didn't hit it like 63, I promise you.  But I scrapped it out and knocked some putts in and scored and got the ball in the hole.  And that's how you win golf tournaments.

Q.  On your first playoff hole, Jim, how far were you?  And you took a pretty aggressive pass to the pin, how far were you and what club did you use?
JIM FURYK:  The guy just made birdie and hit it three feet.  So he wasn't backing down, so I felt like I needed to knock it in there.
I was 170, and I was exactly three yards farther than I was the first time through.¬† I felt like on the first time through the wind was mostly down.¬† It had a little lift in it, but it was mostly down.¬† And I got caught right in between clubs, between an 8‑ and 9‑iron.¬† And I just felt like if I tried to hit the 9 hard, it might ride with the wind, and I brought left into play.¬† So I tried to hold off the 8‑iron a little bit and kind of cut it to the middle of the green.¬† And I didn't make an aggressive swing, I kind of limped it out there to the right.¬† This time I was about three yards farther, but I felt like the wind direction had changed, and that it was kind of quartering down and left.¬† So it was going to play a little longer.¬† I felt like it gave me the green light.
First time through I got in between clubs.¬† The second time through I thought it was ‑‑ just laid an 8‑iron up there to the right, and let it fly and let the wind bring it back to the pin.¬† I made an aggressive swing and it came off exactly how it would play.

Q.  You said this was your favorite event.  Would you mind expanding on that.  And your thoughts on Harbour Town Golf Links?
JIM FURYK:  I love the golf course.  I base most of my events around the golf course.  It suits my game.  It suits my style.  I tend to either play really well here or miss the cut.  And it's because if you're not placing the ball exactly where you want it, if you don't have control of the golf ball here, it's going to eat your lunch.  If you do, if you put the ball in the right spots, you're going to have short irons into the greens.  You're going to have some good looks for birdies and you can shoot some good numbers.
My game when I'm playing well, is based on really control, and hitting a lot of fairways, and I'm comfortable working the ball left to right, right to left, high, low.¬† I'm a lot more comfortable now later in my career doing that than I was early.¬† This course calls for a lot of different shots.¬† You see a lot of guys that are good ball‑strikers like Boo Weekley, that play well here year in and year out.¬† You see Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, they're all in that same kind of profile.
And I just love the golf course.  As I said on the 17th green afterwards, if I had designed or build a golf course for me, I'd want it to be just like Harbour Town, if that makes sense.
I love the island.  I think the folks here are fun.  I sat on the 18th green.  There's a lot of events that feel like a party atmosphere, but this is kind of a classier party than some of the other ones we see.  Weather is starting to get warm.  Everyone is having a good time.  It just has always had a good vibe and a good feel for me.
I feel like a lot of folks say, it's good to come down here and decompress after the Masters.  I understand the comment.  I think sometimes that gets played out a little too thick, and the reason why is because I think it takes a little bit away from this tournament.  I don't come down to decompress.  I come down because I love the event.  If I felt the golf course was terrible and I didn't enjoy being here, I'd be decompressing at home, if that makes sense.

Q.  At a certain point you hear guys say they wonder if they're going to win again.  You said you didn't doubt that.  You didn't sit around and think, have I won my last tournament?
JIM FURYK:  Well, if it ever crept it, I've had too many close calls and been in position too many times for me to believe that it wouldn't happen, if that made sense.  I won't say that doubt crept in, but in my heart I really believed I'd win a tournament.  And I believe that in '12, '13, '14, last three years, I believed it for sure.  I wasn't playing great in '11.  But the last three years I played solid golf and had a lot of opportunities.

Q.  Obviously you came in here 10th in the world.  You're still super competitive every time you tee it up.  But does this kind of breaking down the dam, does it change, I don't know, your expectations or what you believe you might be able to achieve?
JIM FURYK:¬† No, no.¬† The year will tell.¬† When I won in Tampa in 2010 and I said it was a relief, it allowed me to kind of relax and go play golf and win here and win The TOUR Championship and have a great year.¬† I had my best year ever.¬† I won't look at this this way.¬† I'm not going to‑‑ 16 Tour wins or 17 Tour wins, 17 sounds a hell of a lot better, to be honest, but it doesn't make me a different player or person.¬† I'm too, I was going to say "mature"; that's the wrong word.¬† I've been out here too long to start putting expectations on myself just because I won a golf tournament.
I would trade‑‑ last year was one heck of a year, but it was frustrating not getting over the hump.¬† And I've always said I'd much rather have a little lesser year, maybe not as good a year and win a tournament or two.¬† Just winning golf tournaments is what gets me out of bed in the morning.¬† It's why I still want to compete and play, is to wake up on Sunday with a chance.¬† But it's not going to change the way I play or my expectations for the year.¬† I'm just going to try to keep competing and try to put myself in position to win a championship.

Q.¬† Could you get a little more technical on how was that bad swing on 11 with the 5‑iron.¬† How did you make a correction to then basically hit everything right‑‑
JIM FURYK:¬† As technical as I could get is probably as non‑technical as what you're looking for, to be honest with you.¬† It had a lot to do with my posture and my setup.¬† My bad habit is to kind of‑‑ I stand so close to the ball, it's easy for me to kind of get slumped over.¬† Kind of rolled it in my back really bad in an athletic stance.¬† I tried to get a little bit better posture, where I could go ahead and make a turnaround in my spine, if that makes sense, where I felt like I was kind of picking the club up a little bit.¬† And that is going to lead to either, if I hit it solid, it's going to go left, or I have to reroute the club underneath, and that's what I did on 11.¬† The light bulb went off, okay, I was hitting those shots left.¬† I hit that shot where I dropped it under, I think I've got an idea what it may be.
And the swing on 12 was kind of the key.  I was going to get in that good posture and let it fly, and I was praying that it went down the middle and then I could trust it the rest of the day.  And I let one fly off of 12 and down the left center, exactly where I wanted to.  In my mind I was like, that's it, I've got it, and let's try to build on it, build some confidence for the rest of the day.  I knocked it in stiff on 12, stiff on 13 and made birdies on both of those.

Q.  I heard Jordan Spieth say after the round that the way you putted today made what he did at Augusta last week look kind of pedestrian.
JIM FURYK:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Q.  I don't know if you're buying that one.
JIM FURYK:  I'm not buying it.  I watched him, too, on TV.

Q.  Right.  But when you saw the pairing with Jordan, was there any added motivation for you today to be playing with him?  And can you comment on what that was like.
JIM FURYK:¬† I thought it was a great pairing.¬† Obviously he's the hottest player in golf right now.¬† It's so hard after a big emotional win like that to kind of turn around and dig deeper the next week, to have him shoot 9‑under and then 3‑under, 12‑under in two rounds and get himself in position was pretty amazing.¬† And he is right, I made a pile of putts.¬† I haven't had a day like that putting in quite a while.¬† It feels good, to be honest with you.
I've had some great practice sessions all week on the putting green, where I was starting to feel good about my putting, but then Thursday I didn't really putt all that well.  Friday I got it going and made eight birdies, but I hit the ball so good, I actually left some out there, believe it or not.
And yesterday I hit some good ones that didn't go in, but I hit some other that I wasn't quite sure of the line, and I was kind of scratching my head.  I just kind of kept with what I was doing, same routine, really working on the same thing with my putting, and this morning it clicked.  I got off to a good start, seeing some putts go in, and I felt good about it.

Q.  That 8th hole, obviously coming off a couple of birdies, you must have felt like from the approach, hey, I can put this close, and then I guess it didn't get as close.  And then I guess that's the one where you made the bomb.
JIM FURYK:¬† It is.¬† I actually got a funny number there, if I remember.¬† I was in between clubs.¬† I was 208.¬† Even though there might have been a touch of breeze at the time down, I hit 5‑iron.¬† I knew I couldn't get the 5‑iron back there.¬† If I hit that shot well, I probably hit it about 20 feet short of the pin.¬† But the green's a lot fatter in that position.¬† It didn't make sense to try to squeeze a 4‑iron back there.¬† So I hit the 5‑iron, I didn't hit it great.¬† I didn't hit as solid as I could have.¬† After I hit it, it was on good line.¬† If you go back and watch the tape, I'm waving my arms, like, get up, because I knew it was short.
When you walk out of 8 with a 4, it's a good score.¬† And I was on the front the of the green, straight up the hill, make sure I hit a good solid putt and get it there.¬† Knocked one in the middle, I was chuckling at that one, because I made a bunch of putts, and to have a 40‑plus‑footer go in was kind of fun.

Q.  You've got your charity event starting tonight.  In the back of your mind at all today, were you thinking, it's going to be a whole lot more fun in front of all those people if I win today?
JIM FURYK:¬† Yes, especially when it got to the playoff.¬† If I had played good today and shot 6, 7‑under, and lost by one or two, you know, you pour your heart out; there's nothing you could do.¬† To get to the playoff and come up short‑‑ yeah, I thought about that.¬† It would still be fun, but it would be a hell of a lot more fun to show up tonight with this jacket on.
JOHN BUSH:  Jim Furyk, congratulations.
JIM FURYK:  Thank you.

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