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May 2, 2015

Jim Furyk


MARK STEVENS:  I'd like to thank Jim Furyk for taking his time to come in after his win today.  Jim, you're going into the final four, if you want to talk about your thoughts going into tomorrow, and your thoughts on today's round and we'll take some questions.
JIM FURYK:¬† Well, obviously excited tomorrow, have an opportunity to try to keep it going, try and win a match in the morning and see what happens.¬† So just take it one at a time.¬† I'm not sure, I guess I'll play the winner of the Casey‑McIlroy match.
As far as today's match, it really could have been a lot different story I think early on.  Louis played a more solid front nine than I did, he gave himself a lot more opportunities, his iron shots were better.  He hit the ball better than I did early on.  I wasn't able to convert on the putts.
The greens were shaggy this afternoon.¬† I found out after about 7, I asked if they'd mowed them in between rounds and they said they did not.¬† And it made a lot of sense, because we really struggled.¬† I left probably four 20, 25‑footers in a row short out there, of the hole.¬† Two feet, one foot short.¬† He wasn't able to convert on a lot of putts, but it gave him a 1‑up lead at the turn.
Kind of in the morning match, I played the back nine.  Was able to birdie 10.  Snuck by when he missed a birdie putt at 11, and then I just played very well on the way end, made a bunch of birdies.
And when I got up I just kind applying the pressure, and he hit a couple of bad shots and that ended up being the match.¬† I feel fortunate I kind of played mediocre golf on the front nine at even par.¬† And was able to kind of get out with 1‑down, and just played good enough on the back nine.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
JIM FURYK: ¬†14 was a big hole, being 1‑up, and 12 was big with the wind there with birdie, good driver to about four yards short of the green.¬† And Louis tugged one left on 14 into the hazard and had to eventually concede the hole.¬† I was on the green about 15 feet for birdie and I just went straight to 15.¬† It was a big‑‑ I was pretty much 1‑down for a lot of the match, evened it, then got 1‑up, 2‑up within a few holes, that was a big boost on 14.

Q.  What's it like to pretty much empty your suitcase?  You never made it to one quarterfinal?
JIM FURYK:  It feels good.  I don't know what to say, other than I think I have only made one quarterfinal.  I've played pretty well at times and got beat.  I feel like last year I think I made it to the final eight last year.  And I had a really good match with Rickie and I had him down, and he came back and beat me I think on the last hole.  It feels good.  I wish I would have done it in Arizona, it would have been fun with Wildcat fans and all the support there.

Q.  How significant is it to make it to the semis for the first time, and has your approach to match play evolved at all, you've played it many times, has your approach differed?
JIM FURYK:  I don't know if it's evolved.  I think early on in my career I was probably more watered about every swing and every shot and everything being perfect and trying to play the perfect round of golf.  You realize at the end of the day you make a bad swing and lose the hole, it doesn't matter if you make 5 or 12, it's just a hole.  You move on and play.  And just the experience of playing really helps.
We all grew up playing $5 Nassau.  I didn't play $5, I played $2 or  $1 Nassau growing up.  We all grew up doing that, it's match play.
But to get in the tournament, under the gun and definitely the experience helps.  But I feel like I've been experienced for quite a while.

Q.  Can you talk about the feelings yesterday of finding out that you were alive still and making the transition to coming into today?  It was kind of surreal?
JIM FURYK:¬† Yeah, I felt like I had nine lives yesterday and I had Kaymer pretty much beat, I felt like.¬† Didn't get it down in two on 16.¬† He makes the birdie on 17 after I hit a good iron.¬† I missed a three‑footer at 18.¬† I could have ended the match on any of the three holes and wasn't able to.
And then he had me right where he wanted me on No.1 and 15‑footer for eagle and I'm over there in the left rough with no green to work with and somehow managed to get that to about two and a half feet and halve the hole.¬† And then birdied 2.¬† And then looked behind us and realized that Coetzee and J.D. have a playoff going, as well.
So it stinks not having‑‑ having your destiny in your own hands, and everyone in our group was in the same position.¬† We had to win and we had to have the right person on the other side win.¬† And George still says I owe him a big fat steak dinner.¬† I told I'd put a pretty good bottle of wine in there for him, as well.¬† I think his want list is going to go up.

Q.  This is a follow off that.  So with that shot from the rough, would that be your shot of the week, was that the most important shot you hit?
JIM FURYK:  It looked as though I had lost a match.  And I think if you put me in that same position a hundred times, I probably would have lost that match 80 times, if that makes sense.  I just happened to get one of the 20 and dug deep and it was kind of an open the face, swing hard and hope you guess right and it comes out.  And it came out exactly, couldn't have planned it any better.  So, yeah, that one saved me.
But still a lot of things had to happen.  One, I shouldn't have been in that position, but I put myself there.  And then, two, a lot of things had to happen, J.D. missed a four or five footer on No.1.  We both made bogey on 2.  And Coetzee wins it on 3, I believe.

Q.  Speaking of hitting bad shots.  I remember you were saying in Pebble that you played your best shot after you hit a few bad shots on the range.  Was this the case today?
JIM FURYK:  Well, I probably said that because I learned something from the bad shots, if that makes sense.  I made a bad swing and probably a light went off and said, oh, I realize what's going on.  Gave me something to key on for the day and gave me some confidence.
I've hit the ball really well all week, and today on the front nine my iron game wasn't crisp.¬† I didn't hit a lot of shots at the pin.¬† I felt out of sorts.¬† And I made a swing at about No. 9 and kind of the light bulb went off where my setup was poor, I started trying to work on that in the back nine.¬† I hit a 5‑iron to about two and a half feet on No. 10.¬† It's one of those one in 50 shots.
From there I had a lot more confidence in my golf swing today.  And making sure I wasn't aiming left and letting it fly.  I think before on the front nine, I think I was aiming a little left and holding on.  That holding on, it's not a decisive move.  And when I got my alignment fixed up, I let it go a little bit more and released the club.

Q.  What do you think is your best match play quality as a player?  And secondly, you've had a lot of experience playing match play.  Do you think galleries respond differently, react differently when they're watching match play versus stroke play in your experience?  How does that manifest itself?
JIM FURYK:  Yeah, I think they respond differently.  I enjoyed the folks behind 14 were gambling on who was going to win the hole between Louis and I, he was on the green in 4 and I was there in 2 (laughter).  Half the group was pissed off they lost their bet, they want their money back.

Q.  You heard them?
JIM FURYK:  I heard the discussion.  I heard it, damn it, I want my money back, I didn't know he was in the hazard (laughter).
I think they do react different.¬† And it's‑‑ it's not like a Ryder Cup where one side is cheering, back and forth.¬† But, yeah, it's a different type of cheer, different type of support, I think out there.¬† It's fun.¬† My best match play quality I guess would be when I'm playing I hit a lot of fairways, I hit a lot of greens.¬† I think it's applying a lot of pressure.¬† If I can get to the tee and if I can get up and get the tee and just keep pounding away and putting pressure on the other guy.

Q.¬† Did the missed cut at the Masters‑‑
JIM FURYK:  And probably my length (laughter).

Q.  Did the missed cut at the Masters serve as any motivation, or did you figure something out after that or was that an aberration that that happened?
JIM FURYK:¬† I hadn't missed a cut in probably a year and a half going in there.¬† I really didn't feel like I played that bad, to be honest with you.¬† I didn't get a lot out of the first day.¬† I played my heart out on Friday and I really thought I made the cut.¬† And then that afternoon, Friday afternoon got nice, and it was kind of a birdie‑fest on the back nine.¬† And before you know it I missed the cut.¬† And I was surprised when I finished, I was getting ready to play Saturday.
But, no, you know, the last time I missed the cut at the Masters, I won at Harbour Town in 2010.  And I had a great session with my dad in 2010.  I didn't drive it well at Augusta that year, and we worked hard on that.  We did a lot of the same things this year.  We went back on Saturday, and worked on my putting, worked on the driver a little bit to get ready for Harbour Town, and put them down on Sunday, and went up after the Masters, and kind of did the same routine, and I ended up winning the golf tournament.

Q.  I think the math was right, but you're the only one that has a loss, I think, at this point.  So you could have been leaving here on Thursday and not.  So can you just talk about what you think of it format.  Obviously it's a positive for you.  Does this make a lot of sense that you were playing well and you just got beat by one guy?
JIM FURYK:¬† I like it better than‑‑ I like the round robin format.¬† I like it better than what we did before, just for the fact that you've got guys coming from all corners of the world.¬† And to fly into San Francisco, play one day and right back out is kind of a‑‑ I like the idea that I had a bad day against J.D., I didn't play very well, and he played solid.¬† He got off to a good start and played solid the rest of the day.¬† Put it on me.¬† I don't like the idea that you might be able to slip up early once and still get in.
But I know there's guys don't like it, two guys are 2 & 1, one guy gets through, and one guy didn't.  Some folks had to go to a playoff, and a half should count for a half sometimes.  I think there can be tweaks, but I like the format better than in the past.  That's a little bit of a homer thing, too, because I've never made it this far.

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