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September 6, 2006

Jim Furyk


TODD BUDNICK: This is your first Canadian Open since I think your first trip here since '99, I believe.

JIM FURYK: Who's counting?

TODD BUDNICK: Second on the money list, having a fantastic year, one win, three seconds and three thirds. First off, talk a little bit about the season you're having.

JIM FURYK: I've been pleased. Obviously I've been high up in the money list. I've had myself in position to win a few times and was able to win at Wachovia. I've had a couple of disappointing losses. But the year has been real consistent. I think outside of '03 this would be my best year to date, and I've still got quite a few events left. So I'm hoping to finish it off real well.

TODD BUDNICK: You've had a chance to see the course now. It appears to be ones that are very similar to the ones you like to play on.

JIM FURYK: It is. It's an old traditional golf course, where you need to work the ball a little bit more off the tee. I like the old traditional green complexes here, it's really a nice layout. It's in good shape. It's unfortunate we've had so much rain over the weekend.

That's the one positive at that point. Your negative, yes, it's a difficult day, I'm not going to argue with you, coming in behind all those events is very difficult. Well, I personally don't like to take two weeks off before a major championship or a big tournament. I want to prepare for the Ryder Cup as well as I possibly can. I won Wachovia this year with two weeks off, right before it. And a family vacation in between. So it's not that it can't be done, but I usually tend to play myself into shape a little bit better. I'll play the week prior to a major championship if I like the course and the setup and think it's employ preparation. So I'm trying to think where that might have been this year. Westchester up in New York, especially when it was right down the road from Winged Foot is a no brainer. There's other places if I'm not comfortable with the golf course or that I don't want to go to a place that I really don't feel my game is suited for a course and use that as preparation. I'll stay at home and I'll prepare there. So everyone's got their own method and format. I definitely didn't want to take two weeks off and the way the schedule worked out I'm playing next week over in London for the World Match Play and I'll have two weeks on before the Ryder Cup and four in a row with the Amex right behind it. Then I'm going to take some time off, a couple of weeks off. I a week off in Vegas and a couple of weeks off and kind of wind down a little bit and kind of mentally get ready for The TOUR Championship.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: I don't know. I think that there's so many different ways to pair players and so many different ideas. Some people say you want to pair games. Other people want to pair personalities. Sometimes you want people with similar personalities and then I've heard opposites. You stick like Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia together. They're good friends, but their personalities couldn't be further apart, but it seems to work out well.

I felt like after playing in so many Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups I would have an idea what would make a good pairing, and I don't think I'm any closer. Certain teams tend to hit it off well. We should have a good jump on it, considering as an American squad we're posting a team every year, rather than every other year, like the International squad and the Europeans. We should be able to figure out who plays well together as Americans. We get along real well. We have obviously different styles of game, and he has a lot more power than I do, but we tend to think our way around the golf course similarly, and we read putts very much alike. And our attitudes out there are very much alike. I enjoy the banter and the talk and he's a friend and someone that I he's actually very witty and very funny. But yet there's not many people that have the opportunity to get close to him.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: Two questions back is a long time ago, I'm not sure I can remember that.

Q. The idea of playing four weeks in a row, you know where the tournament is going next year, the British, Canadian, Bridgestone and PGA. We think there may not be a great field (inaudible.) Is that right, wrong?

JIM FURYK: It's a difficult date, there's no doubt about it. I didn't realize that the Bridgestone and the PGA are wrapped right in behind it. So the British and the PGA are only three weeks apart? Wow. It's going to be difficult. I mean we've got two major championships and a World Golf Championship surrounding you, three of the biggest eight events we have in a year. So it's drawing a tough straw and then Greensboro is really in a they're really in a tough spot because now they're between a World Golf Championship and a major and then the big three or four events finishing the year. So that seems like a spot that guys will take off.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: Well, the one positive at that point your negative is yes, it's an a difficult date, I'm not going to argue with you, putting it in behind all those events is very difficult. Good golf courses like this will bring a field and you're also going to have, at that time, you're going to have guys chasing points, trying to make sure they get into whether they get into the race at the end or whether they get their point totals high enough that they give themselves an opportunity to get a win, to place where they need to place in points. So at that point towards the end of the year you're running out of events, and there's going to be guys that are chasing points, and are going to need points, they're going to be playing a lot of events at that time. So that could help. But I think that's probably where Tim was leading to. But it is a difficult site. For the guys that are sitting in prime position it's a difficult date.

Q. Jim, could you talk about the trip to Ireland that you just took? Top Secret. Was it just to look at the course or was there more to it than that?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think that it's no secret, I think it definitely served a bunch of different purposes. One was obviously for the guys to see the golf course. I have seen it before. I went the weekend before The British Open. I saw a totally different golf course, because it was dry and firm and fast then. I went and saw a very wet and cooler, and the golf course played a lot longer than what I saw before. It was a totally different place. I knew the layout, but instead of hitting 3 wood, wedge into the first hole, I hit driver, 5 iron, a little different story.

And I think the other part is the camaraderie, putting all the guys together. A lot of us weren't scheduled to play Boston, so to then turn around it was kind of a little bit of a free for all, having some fun and drinking some pints and we played some cards. We did what guys do. We had fun and enjoyed ourselves and I went fishing. I really had a good time. It's a pretty place. The K Club is in a really pretty setting. Did some barbeques I like to fly fish a little bit, there's a beautiful little trout stream right down there, or a river, as they call it, looked like an stream to me. We fished a little in there and just had fun. And I think being together is a big part of it, also.

There were a couple of guys I didn't know Brett Wetterich very well before I got there, and it's rare that I play on a team that I don't know someone. There were a couple of caddies I hadn't met before. But I got to know. I didn't know Vaughn Taylor that well. I knew him, I'd never played golf with him before, which is strange to say. I played some golf with Vaughn. He was my roommate over there, we had some apartments. And I got to know him a little better and I think that's key, so the guys don't show up uncomfortable.

My first Ryder Cup I was 27, I was relatively young, fourth year on Tour. I remember my wife and I hopped in a limo with Mark O'Meara and his wife. And I had to reach over and say hi, Jim Furyk. And hi, Alica. I didn't know Alicia at the time. By the end of the week it was a close family. It's nice to get a jump on that.

Getting back to the Tiger pairing (inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: No, I hadn't.

Q. How does that pairing work?

JIM FURYK: I don't know. I was paired with Freddie Funk in the first match and in alternate shot. And I was hurting, I was battling a rib injury at the time. I actually didn't expect Jack we only played 18 on Thursday, and 18 on Friday. And somehow that pairing came across that I was going out with Tiger in a fourball on Friday, and I was up getting treatment at the time so I said great. We went out and actually we did well. He basically whipped them. So coming in I made a par putt on one hole and we both had ten footers for par, and I knocked it in first. On the last hole I knocked in about a 6 footer for birdie to win the match. And that's about all I helped the whole day. The rest of the time I could have just watched because he played so well.

As the week went on I started playing better. And by the end of the week I was playing very, very well. But I was still hurting and battling, and I didn't expect to go 36 on Saturday. I expected to play one match with Tiger. And Jack looked at me and said can you go tomorrow? I said I'll be fine to play 18, but the guy that was treating me said that 36 probably wasn't a good idea and I'd be good to go for 18, I'll be ready, don't worry about it. He said okay, he walked down the hall a little later and on my way to the pairings, he told my wife be sure I'm ready to go two rounds the next day. To make sure I was ready to go two rounds the next day and she said okay. On the bus ride home he said you're playing 36 tomorrow, I said no, I told him 18. Well, he told me 36. I said okay, I'll be ready. That's kind of how it went. So I think how that pairing came about, I'm not sure, but Jack put us together and we hit it off pretty well and he kept us together.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: Not an issue.

Q. The pros and cons of that?

JIM FURYK: Not an issue. Four in a row, I played four in a row a lot of times in my career. I make it a point not to go any more than four. As a rookie I think I went seven once, and at that point you're sort of certifiable, pretty much, at least for me. I remember at Nationwide I played 13 in a row, and I was certifiable at that point, I needed a week off. Four in a row, it can be grinding for a guy that's winning or close to the lead in a bunch of those events it's grueling. But you still can take time off after it. You're going to see the guys play the PGA and the World Series, for sure. You're going to see a week off probably at Greensboro, as much as I hate to say that because I like the tournament and the people up there and they have a nice golf course that Davis has redone. And you're going to see guys go up in the three FedEx events and if qualified to go to The TOUR Championship. It's not that hard. Only 30 guys have to go four in a row. Four in a row is not an issue. It's two, one off, four in a row and throw in the Ryder Cup behind it in '08, it's an eye opener. You guys are saying, wait a second, four in a row and they're four of the biggest tournaments of the year, getting ready for this chase for the Cup, and then immediately hopping on a plane and flying I guess it will be here in the States it will be here it's '08, though, '08 where there's not a week off in between. PGA of America has raised an eyebrow there, and it's understandable, actually.

Next year, coming up to Royal Montreal we'll have a week off in between, which is kind of nice. It will be a break, kind of well deserved at that point.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: I'm happy with our team. The points are the points. No matter what system you put out there it will get criticized to some extent. It seems a little volatile. Guys would come from nowhere and all of a sudden be 7th on the list, and you'd be kind of how did that happen? It definitely took care of the guys that were presently playing well. And that was where they wanted to make the effort and it's not like they let us play for two years and then came up with the point system in the last six weeks and figured out who they wanted to be on the team. They put it out there and we all knew what it was.

I will say two years ago probably the least covered two years ago I couldn't have told you what the point system was. I'm sure someone wrote about it, but it was kind of a briefing over, and no one really talked about it until now, when it's getting closer, and everybody is trying to decide if it's good or bad. A year and a half ago I didn't actually know how the points worked. January 1 I'm not sure I knew, but as we let up, it became a bigger deal and I understood. But it doesn't matter how you make the points, somebody is going to be upset. We should have been aware of how they worked and you just go out and play your best and try to earn some points.

Q. (Inaudible.) How close are you to being the best that you can be?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think that there's no one that no one's going to say that I think this is about it, I've reached the top of the mountain and I'm looking down the other side. In this game there's always ways to improve. And I feel like I feel like there's definitely ways that I can improve and get better, and there's still a lot more good golf for me, and better than what I've played now. That being the case, if I look back on the Nationwide Tour, when I played the Nike Tour, the Nationwide Tour, in '93 I probably didn't envision myself being ranked third in the world and playing on five Ryder Cup teams and finishing third and fourth on the money list a bunch of times. I probably didn't look forward to that far I was really focused on trying to get better, trying to improve and trying to look around, as a young player looking at the best players in the world and what they were doing and how I could incorporate some of their things in my game and just trying to get better, trying to improve and really trying to win golf tournaments. That's all I really worked on. I kind of less the rest of it take care of itself. But we're greedy by nature. You get that first win on Tour and you don't sit back and say, boy, that was cool. You think I'd love to do that again. And you get your second win, and hell, I should have won a couple of others that I lost. And you kind of always want more. And keep trying to get better, and some day I'll be done and retired and sit back and think about it. It was a good ride. I'm proud of what I've done, but I still feel like there's a lot more to be accomplished.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: I think I'm going to beef up and get longer, I'm going to add about 40 in the off season. That's yards, not pounds. No, I think that that's obviously a joke.

You know, there's always the one big improvement I've pretty much made this year, I've putt better this year. Not every week. I putted pretty bad at the PGA and not all that well at the World Series when I finished third, but all in all I think my results have been better and I've been closer to the lead more often because I've putted better this year and done it more consistently. And I've kind of learned a little bit more about my putting and some of the things I want to work on and I want to keep working on those to be more consistent with it. There's a lot of avenues, for that matter. But I consider myself a straight ball hitter, but I'm still learning some stuff about my golf swing and my set up that, again, I consider myself a consistent player, but I think I can improve on that and become even more consistent. I think I can become a little more explosive as far as I'm still learning to hit shots that I haven't hit in the past.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: Well, I don't know if it's really I don't think the point system should it favors a younger or older team. The guys who happen to play well this year are the guys that ended up with more points. That shouldn't affect old or young. We have four rookies, four first timers, rookies is a hard word, because a lot of those players have a lot of veteran status. We have four first timers on the Ryder Cup this year. I don't think the number is all that out of whack. The first time myself and Justin Leonard and Tiger and might have been someone else who was a first timer, four out of 12 isn't that big a deal. We have 8 guys out of 12 that have a lot of experience. I think that's still a lot of experience. And a lot of our young guys, I guess breath wet Rick is early in his career, but you have Zach Johnson and J.J. and Vaughn Taylor who have been around quite a bit. Vaughn is in his third year on the Tour. Zach and J.J. have been around a while, especially J.J., he's been on Tour for quite a while. Those guys will be fine. A lot of it is just knowing what to expect. And being anywhere for the first time on unfamiliar ground, it's knowing what to expect. And I think guys like Tiger and Phil and myself and David Toms and DiMarco, we have to stand up and take the reins. Davis has provided a lot of leadership in the past, and he's not on this team. Someone is going to have to jump in and fill in for that spot and provide some leadership.

Q. Along those lines, you've played on a lot of teams (inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I think no matter how I answer that question, it still seems like a hit on The Presidents Cup. But you're saying there's a gap in if I acknowledge there's a gap, then it's like a hit for Vijay and Ernie and some friends of mine on the other side. But obviously if you an event that's been played since the '30s and an event that was started in the '90s, the history and tradition is going to be different. I think the way we are, the questions we answer, the reactions that we get, Ryder Cup are a little different than The Presidents Cup when we sit in the media room and do different things. But I think that in due time the events will be you'll have that history and that tradition, and it will be a very similar feel. I think the president cup has a little bit more in the past it's had a little friendlier feel. Very rarely do we get a guy on those teams that doesn't play our Tour on a regular basis.

End of FastScripts.

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