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March 23, 2006

Jim Furyk


TODD BUDNICK: Thanks, Jim Furyk, the other co leader in the clubhouse at 7 under, 65, for stopping by.

Jim, your first opening round in the 60s, 11 starts at TPC Sawgrass. A nice way to start off today.

JIM FURYK: Bad way to start off the other days. Yeah, I was good way to start the week. I think I didn't know what to expect. I was a little surprised. I didn't know it was supposed to rain this morning, so it softened up the greens after a couple of days of wind we had and made scoring a little less difficult today. Scores are probably going to be relative good. It was nice to jump out and shoot good numbers.

TODD BUDNICK: You parred the first 7 holes, and it wasn't until 8 and 9, 20 footers, that got you going.

JIM FURYK: I think that was part of the key of the day, just to start off that day and stay patient. I missed a couple of pretty relatively good birdie putts on the first 7 holes but hung in there, stayed patient.

And I had a week last week where I really thought I struck the ball pretty well but never really got a whole heck of a lot out of it, didn't knock any of the 15, 20 footers for birdie that turned an average day into a good day.

On 8 and 9 I think you have written down 21 and 23 feet. Those two holes, those were my longest putts of the day and knocked those in and I gained some confidence and really got going on the backside.

Q. I guess the dinner agreed with everybody last night, you and Davis Love?

JIM FURYK: A couple of us, at least.

Q. Are you the type that in the early rounds plays with a good rhythm if somebody else in the group is playing well? Do you pay attention to that or does that affect you in any way?

JIM FURYK: I guess you'd like to say no, that it really shouldn't have much of an affect. But it's nice to see then again if you're struggling with the putter and the guys you're playing with keep knocking it in from 15, 20 feet, sometimes you're going to get more frustrated that you're having a hard time knocking the putts in.

I think for the most part it's one, Davis and I are friends, so we chatted quite a bit out there. And 2, watched him start off very well, where he was hitting the ball really crisp, hit the iron shots close, knocked in a few putts. It's nice to see the guy doing well, and I think you can feed off that at times. But ultimately, you try not to let the other guys affect how you're playing, but it's nice to see someone having a good day, and I think it helps you a little bit.

Q. Are you saying you're happy with the start because you didn't try and do anything stupid or aggressive or are you happy because you had to scratch around to keep it level through seven?

JIM FURYK: I'm not happy about the score. And I actually hit the ball pretty well on those holes. I think I only missed a fairway and might not have missed a green there, I'm not sure, fringes, probably. So I wasn't really scratching the ball around. There's times when you can get off to a start like that, look up on the board and see guys getting off to a good start and making a bunch of birdies, and it's hard to stay patient. You want to go out and try to force things and try to make some birdies and kind of get ahead yourself and it just forces the matter. I stayed patient and just let it happen. And it was nice to see those two putts on 8 and 9 go in and get a good jump start for the day.

Q. Over the years how technical have you been? Are you a guy who does a lot of videotape, looking at videotape, analyzing stuff?

JIM FURYK: I'm not a technical player. My swing is unique and it's unusual, ugly, whatever you want to call it. It's always I've always worked on my swing and worked on my ball flight a lot through feel. I tried to be, early in my career with my father, I tried to work on some mechanics and I'm not comfortable, I'm not really a mechanically inclined person to start with. It just never worked for me. And we work on things through feel, through ball flights.

When I was real young I'd come home and tell my dad I was hitting a hook, he said go hit balls the next day and hit high slices and work your way out of it. I know enough about my swing as far as mechanically and how it works, but for me to work through problems a lot of time. It's through my setup and feel, rather than mechanically. I think no one way is right or wrong. And a good teacher is able to take their students and work with what works best for them. Like Harvey Penick with Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw, totally two different mind sets and style of play. One is not right or wrong, it's just how your brain functions.

Q. Is it simpler for you that way that you don't have a lot of complicated thoughts swimming around in your head a lot of times?

JIM FURYK: Well, I try to simplify it. I don't know if that makes it simpler or not. I don't think Tom Kite is out there on the tee confusing himself. He's probably working on I'm always working on maybe one thing on my set up and one thing on my swing, other than rhythm and tempo, trying to keep the thought in mind. And I'm sure if you're a mechanical player, you can't get too caught up on too many things going on. Maybe you do when you're not playing well. But golf has a way of when you're playing well it seems so simple and when you're playing so bad it seems so difficult. And you tend to cloud everything and make it harder than it is.

Q. Has there been a pattern to the early starts in this tournament you've had in the past? Was there one thing in general that was going on that prevented you from

JIM FURYK: No, I wouldn't say I tend to drive it bad or putt bad, one particular part of my game that wasn't good. I have put myself behind the 8 ball. I probably played a few solid rounds to start the tournaments out, but I never jumped out and shot a real good number like today. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason for it. My low round in this tournament might only be a 68 or something like that. 67. That was a long time ago, too. It's so long I forget about it. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason. But there's years where there aren't a whole lot of 60s shot on this course. I think about the year that David won, Duval won, there probably weren't too many rounds in the 60s because how hard it was playing.

Q. What will be your mental approach tomorrow, more aggressive or

JIM FURYK: Just the same way. I want to get a feel for how the golf course is going to play with the conditions, the wind, whether it rains a lot today or tonight, will the course be firm, will it be soft. You know, it's so early in the tournament right now, you're just still jockeying for position and go out and play the best you can.

I felt like I played relatively aggressive today. But you have to pick and choose your spots around this golf course. You can't go out there firing at the flag, because there's a lot of places it will jump up and bite you. You pick and choose your spots where you want to be aggressive and you play intelligently on some of those other holes. I'm not saying you play away from the flag, but there's a few pins that I know better than to go out after here on this golf course.

Q. How did living in this area, do you prepare for this tournament any differently, and also what's the best you've shot on this course, just playing the course?

JIM FURYK: I don't know actually what the best score I shot is.

Q. Is today the best?

JIM FURYK: It may well be. I honestly don't know. The golf course today played so much different than what we see on a regular basis. I prepared a little differently for this tournament in that I went and played Bay Hill, which I haven't done since, I think '99 is the last time I've been to Bay Hill. So there's been seven years since I played there, six events that I didn't play before coming to this tournament. So I think it was a big help. It's a difficult golf course down there. The greens weren't maybe as hard or as quick as they've been in the past, but it's good preparation coming to a big event.

Q. When is the last time you played here, TPC?

JIM FURYK: Weekend before Bay Hill I played

Q. Was the course closed then or was it open?

JIM FURYK: It was open through either Saturday or Sunday and then they closed it down for the last week. I know they played on it on Saturday, I'm not sure if they played on it on Sunday. And I played I think I played both those days before going to Bay Hill. I didn't play 18 holes you but I played parts of the golf course on both of those days.

Q. What did you hit on 17 today and what are your thoughts about that hole in general as the next to last finishing hole?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think that when I played it on an everyday basis, it's a pretty benign and simple hole. With the golf tournament here, the greens getting firmer, and being in a different circumstance, the hole becomes a little tougher, there's no doubt about it. Today it was 145 yards to the pin. There was a little wind in our face and from the right. So I kind of hit like a three quarter 8 iron, kept it under the wind and hit it probably five or six feet, five feet. It was a good shot. The finish here with 16, 17 and 18, I might not necessarily think those are the best three holes on the course, but they definitely they're definitely the three holes that have the most drama on it.

TODD BUDNICK: If we can get the strokes leading to those birdies, starting with 8.

JIM FURYK: 8 I hit a hybrid club, my 1 or 2 iron to 21 feet four inches, and knocked that in for birdie.

No. 9 I hit driver. I laid up with that hybrid club and got a little behind the trees and I hit a gap wedge to 23 feet and knocked that in for birdie.

11 I hit a driver and that same hybrid club, might be the only three times I hit it so far, but I knocked it on the green. Looks like I had about 16 feet for eagle and I had a good putt, it didn't go in, tapped it in for birdie.

13 I hit a 7 iron to nine feet, knocked that in for a birdie.

14 was playing ridiculously short. I hit driver and a gap wedge to 14 today, which I was shocked. I've never driven it actually where I put it there anytime playing that hole. I hit that gap wedge to about 12 or 13 feet and knocked it in.

16 was a driver and that hybrid, again in the I hit it in the left bunker, to about four feet.

And 17 I hit an 8 iron to just under five feet.

Q. The wind is supposed to howl tomorrow. Is it more important maybe to get off to a good start, because tomorrow the scores are expected to go way up?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, it's nice. You can look at it two ways. Tomorrow is going to be a difficult scoring day, so it's great to go out and play a good round today. But if you played a mediocre round today, you play a good solid one tomorrow you can pass a lot of people.

The reason this golf course is so difficult in the wind is it needs to be played in the air. You can't really hit a lot of low shots and run the ball up on the greens, you have to fly the ball on these greens. Putting the ball up in the air with that wind makes it difficult.

End of FastScripts.

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