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May 5, 2015

Jim Furyk


THE MODERATOR: Like to welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room. You're coming off a fourth-place finish at the WGC Cadillac Match Play. Recently had a win just up the road at RBC Heritage. Talk about your game coming into the week, and this is a home game for you as you live in Ponte Vedra.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I feel like my game's in good shape. I think that obviously with the win, the finish, we had a hectic week here in town afterwards. So to get back out to San Francisco, I was a little worn down, a little tired to start and got a lot of rest early in the week, thank goodness, because I needed it for the weekend to get around 36 two days in a row. But felt like I played plenty well enough to win, just had a great match with Rory and I kind of tipped my hat at the end with the 3-2-3 finish. I feel like at the time maybe I look back, the putt at 14, I kind of made a mess of 12 and handed him a hole there. But was able to birdie 13, 15 and 16. Didn't get the putt to go at 14, but that putt, a moment here or there in the round, maybe I could have had him more than 1-down going to 16, but I got to tip my hat to the finish; it was pretty good. My game, I feel like it's in good shape. There's a lot to do at a home tournament. I was saying that earlier, that it's nice to be in your own bed, it's nice to be home, wouldn't want to do it every week, because there's a little bit that goes along with it as well, as far as getting ready to play here at home. Friends, family, I'm leaving here and headed off to the Wives' Association to their function, the charity event for the kids. So there's more that goes with it. But I love the fact that I'm home, enjoy it. I played well here last year; that was my best showing in THE PLAYERS. So hopefully I can build on that.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions.

Q. Last year they had the situation with the greens and everything. From what you've been able to tell, they tell us that it bounced back, but have they bounced back well enough?
JIM FURYK: I really haven't been out there, to be honest with you. I could be worthless for the interview. I've played it once since last year's tournament, which is pretty typical for me. It was an outing right before I went to Doral. Golf course was in very good shape at the time, for coming through the winter months and being in, say -- it would have been in late February, probably, that I played. So still had the opportunity to be somewhat cold out, the golf course had a lot of grass on it, the greens looked, at the time they were, they had a lot of grass on them, they were quite grainy. They still hadn't started prepping like to cut them lower. But they were nothing like last year. Last year was kind of that one-off where they had an issue with chemical or something like that. The greens have always had plenty of grass on them. I think if they have ever had an issue, it's the amount of grain they had. I think that chemical was probably trying to thin them out a little bit, and you would have to ask someone in agronomy, because I know just enough to be dangerous, but probably don't know exactly what's going on. But I think they were trying to get some of that grain out and make it a little bit smoother, better putting surfaces and it just went awry.

Q. You were talking with Jeff Prosser about how this Pete Dye course is visually intimidating, but the more you get to play it, you're able to realize that there's more room out there on certain shots. Do you feel like your experience now and the way you've been playing up until now gives you a really good chance if everything works and putting, et cetera, to win this week?
JIM FURYK: I did say that about the golf course. I think that's a typical trait of Dye golf courses, especially -- even more so on his newer designs. This might have been kind of the start of -- like I don't look at Hilton Head and visually --

Q. Not even the same course?
JIM FURYK: It's not the same look. But the Crooked Sticks, and it was maybe on the front end of that as well, Kiawah, here, New Orleans, you stare out from the tee box, you look at the fairway, you look at the first fairway and it looks like it's about 10 yards wide. You get out there and you look around and you go, you know, there's actually plenty of room out here. And then you look at the green and it now looks like it's eight yards wide and you go, wow, you hit a shot up there and you look around and you go, well, actually there was plenty of room up here. Visually, though, it's deceiving. So as much as I've played around here and as much as, as many golf tournaments I played here, I know where to put the ball. I know that there's ample room. I'm not going to drive it into the little necks and areas I shouldn't. So there's ample room to hit the ball. It's not a place that I've really ever been that comfortable, to be honest with you. Pete's golf courses never -- I listened to Steve Elkington here at this event stand up and say in the interview room after he won and say, I get Pete Dye golf courses, I know exactly where he wants me to put it and I understand what he wants from the golfer. It's just something that I've just never been that comfortable. Kiawah's never given me a nice comfort zone. New Orleans is not one of my favorite golf courses. And this one, I've grown to get used to it and I've grown to like it over the years. When I first moved here, I'll be honest with you, I did not like this golf course. I was adamant about it. Didn't enjoy playing it. But I played here all the time to kind of get used to it, if that makes sense.

Q. Nice practice facility?
JIM FURYK: Nice practice facility. So I got used to it and it's kind of grown on me over the years, and it really doesn't -- it's not like a place that favors a bomber or it really should suit my style of game. It's just a different look than I grew up with, so it's taken me awhile to get used to. So that being said, if I play well, last year I had a really good opportunity to win the golf tournament. I would like to go out and continue my play and do the same things I've been for the last few weeks.

Q. What is your attitude toward this tournament? How has it changed since mid '90s when you started to where you are now?
JIM FURYK: I don't think my attitude's really changed that much.

Q. Not the course so much but how you place the tournament?
JIM FURYK: Yeah I don't think my attitude about the event has changed. It's always had the strongest field in golf. It's a giant event and it's our flagship. So now being on TOUR for over 20 years, I realize how important it is to the PGA TOUR. I probably have gained an appreciation for the scale and where it fits into our TOUR's schedule and the world of golf. But this was always a giant event, whether I was a rookie on TOUR and couldn't get into it, because I wasn't a top 125 from the previous year, to now playing in it for a bunch of years. I think this will probably be my 20th, if I'm right. It's, in my opinion, the fifth biggest event in golf.

Q. Tim made a comment on Sunday that it's gotten better year after year. Is that the case? And if so, how?
JIM FURYK: I think from a player's perspective, the move to May was significant. I think the golf course was not meant to be played on overseed, it was not meant to be slowed down, so that it just became an aerial attack. So I think from inside the ropes, the biggest difference really was probably the move to May. I think outside the ropes, it's been a giant leap as far as the fan experience, the just corporate America, the villages, the experience that the fan gets on television, on TV, has increased significantly, and that show has been incredible for the TOUR and for the tournament itself.

Q. 12, 13 years ago could you have ever envisioned that David Duval would not be playing out here anymore, that he would be on TV and not actually on the golf course? And as a follow-up, how do you think he will do in that role?
JIM FURYK: I would say no, I probably wouldn't have imagined that. But this game is -- we all realize that -- I had wrist surgery in 2004 and kind of came to the idea that, hey, maybe I hit my last shot. Maybe I'm going to have to find something else to do. You start thinking about those things. So there's no guarantees, which is one of the beauties of the sport, actually, as well. As far as his job on television, actually I was talking to him about it yesterday a little bit, and I don't watch a lot of television, as far as -- I do, but not golf. I don't watch much golf on television. But when I see David, because he's a friend, I always watch. I'm just kind of curious to what he has to say, what appearance, look. I think he'll do phenomenal. He's a bright guy. When he speaks, he seems to have thought things out. He's methodical in the way he moves around a golf course, he's methodical in the way that he speaks and talks. He's got some deep thoughts, as well, just about life in general. But the way I look at it, if he wants to be really good at what he does in television, if it's in his heart and that's what he's -- he's going to do great at it. I like what he's done so far, and he really doesn't have that much experience, so I think the sky's the limit. If he really wants to be good at it, he's going to do a good job.

Q. Having played here hundreds of times over the years, what were your thoughts about the tree on the tee box at 6 and is there any part of you that's sad to see it go?
JIM FURYK: I definitely wasn't emotionally attached to it. (Laughter.) It's not as bad as the Eisenhower Tree at 17. From that one, I said it was just a shame that it's been there for all those years and it's a shame from a perspective of the history of that golf course, but damn, I was happy to see that one go, because I hit that thing at least twice a year. Once they jacked the tees back, I couldn't get over it. So, Eisenhower must not have been able to hit it out of his shadow because we were flying that thing by 90 yards when the tees were up. But again, he was using like gutta percha and probably hickory shafts. The tree on 6, I don't hit the ball that high. It never really bothered me. It visually was there. It drove some guys, like a guy that launched the ball high, it drove them absolutely nuts. They had to hit a different shot off the tee. But it just never bothered me. So I honestly haven't -- that tree fell after that round I said I played in February. I haven't seen it since. But it will probably have a better look. I wouldn't be surprised if we showed up next year and that tee box were about 20 yards farther back, either, which I don't necessarily think needs to happen, but wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Q. The last four winners here have been, have finished at 13-under. I was wondering if you thought that was a trend or mere coincidence?
JIM FURYK: I would say coincidence. But you just, winning scores, there's always a pattern as far as you look at certain tournaments and it seems like somewhere between 8 to 12 wins or somewhere between 14 and 17 wins. There's a number that you usually need to get to. But that's also barring nothing crazy in weather. You look at the scores at say like New Orleans this year were really low with -- I'm assuming they had ball in hand a lot of the week and it was wet and ball's not running off into trouble. If it gets real windy, scores are going to be high. It really just depends -- our scores are so much on the setup and the conditions of weather that it's hard to really predict. But you know about what you have to do here.

Q. Not to cut your career short or anything, but could you ever see yourself doing TV?
JIM FURYK: I don't know. How is that? I don't know. I have a lot of friends that ask me about that, if I would be interested. I did, I've done about eight hours four different days at about two hours at a time when I had my surgery. I did four hours here and one year at Kapalua. I don't remember if I was hurt or if I just didn't make the event and I was over there at the house. And I did a little bit of ESPN, as well, there. But it was interesting. I enjoyed it. It was really simple talking about two golf courses that I knew a lot about, that I had played a ton of tournament rounds on, that -- I had won over at Kapalua a couple times. I had played here so many times. So to talk about the golf course, they lobbed me up questions and I was able to answer them. But I don't know. I'm not sure. The one thing -- it's interesting, I think I would love the challenge, it would be interesting to try to go into a whole different area and try to be successful in that. The one thing that scares me would be the travel. The one thing I don't like about my job right now, the only, the one and only thing is the travel and being away from my family. So, I don't see that happening probably before my kids go to college, if that makes sense.

Q. Do you think much about the Hall of Fame?
JIM FURYK: Well, I'm kind of forced to, because you all ask me about it, so a little bit. A little bit. But more so probably because I'm asked about it than sitting at home. I don't lay awake in bed thinking about what needs to happen or anything like that. Just go play.

Q. When was the last time you were asked about it?
JIM FURYK: Well, I'm guessing. I haven't seen the tape from when I won at Hilton Head. But actually now because you all asked me a lot about it, I have a lot of friends that ask me about it. So after winning at Hilton Head someone must have made the statement on there that it was another step or I was bound or whatever it was, and so I have 50 texts coming in about the Hall of Fame and the win. So something was said on the air about it.

Q. Did you just blame the media?
JIM FURYK: Why wouldn't I? (Laughter.) That's what we do.

Q. Do you, Phil has talked about 50 is a target for him. Do you have any number targets that you ever set?
JIM FURYK: For wins?

Q. Yeah.
JIM FURYK: One of the things I've done in my career -- I'll be boring here. One of the things, I never really tried to identify my goals. What I've always said and I always told you is I want to get better, I want to keep putting myself in position, I want to see how many I can win. I never wanted to put a cap or a number on it because I never wanted to limit it, if that makes sense. You never know if you're going to have 2010 and rattle off three wins. And I would have loved to have followed that up in '11, '12, '13 and '14 with a number of wins. I always thought a cool number was 20 because it was kind of like a life-member type deal. There was a couple guys, I want to say like Crenshaw got caught on 19 and maybe Kite and Hubert and there was a bunch of guys right there that -- Davis struggled to get that 20th for a long time when he won. And so I just always thought it was a cool number. But I never really -- I wasn't going to judge it by that. I never really looked at it. So I didn't think 17 was going to be so damn hard to get, I know that. (Laughter.)

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thanks for your time, Jim. Good luck this week.

JIM FURYK: Thank you.
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