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April 12, 2006

Jim Furyk


TODD BUDNICK: We want to thank Jim Furyk for stoping into the 2006 Verizon Heritage. A pretty good history here, a second last year, and 10th before that, 15th before that. Let's talk about what you like about this course, here.

JIM FURYK: That's pretty simple. It's a great golf course. The last since they've redone the greens, this place has been very, very good condition for us. The greens are very nice. The transition from coming into really fast greens at Augusta to here, obviously there's two different style of golf courses, but with the greens getting so much better here in the last, I don't know how long it's been since they've done them, about five years, the transition is much easier. It's a good old golf course that you have to drive the ball straight, you have to work the ball both ways, you have to hit a lot of shots around here. It's not really a bomber's paradise. So a guy like me, I fit in. I like this golf course a lot. It suits my game well.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's talk about this season. You opened up with two top 10s in Hawaii, give us an idea how your game is going this year.

JIM FURYK: Pretty well. I had a time of four weeks, from AT&T, Match Play, Doral, that I didn't play very well. I played okay at I didn't play too bad at Match Play, but just the finishes weren't quite as well as I'd like. I played pretty well at Bay Hill. I just had a bad finish, on my 72nd hole that really kind of dropped my finish down, but I was in the top 10 before that. And I was good at The PLAYERS.

It's been a decent year, but I would like to have contended more, and put myself given myself a chance to win more tournaments. Other than that we're plugging along.

Q. Jim, 68 Saturday at Augusta, and then you came back the next day, were you trying to press or force the issue on Sunday or did you feel like you needed to?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I probably was. I'm not sure my game was in the shape that it needed to be, but I was definitely going out there with the mindset early on that I wanted to get it to 4 or 5 under par, and post a score and get someone thinking about it. And it just I actually didn't play poorly. I was 1 over through 12 or 13. I didn't play poorly, I just had one of those days where it just wouldn't go in the hole. I hit some good shots, couldn't turn it into a birdie. I had a couple of bogeys. I didn't do much that bad. And then I kind of got frustrated and 3 putted 14 and missed about a 3 footer on 17. And all of a sudden it was 75 and I kind of got done with it and scratched my head, and couldn't figure how I shot that high. It could have been I was trying to force the issue a little bit. I was a little frustrated, actually, on 68 because I didn't putt that well to shoot that 68. I had a very, very good ball striking that day. And I went out with much easier conditions than what the leaders played. I played in very benign conditions. And it was out there that morning to score. But I would have liked to have gotten in a couple of shots. There were a few shots on the back 9 on Friday, and left some out on Saturday. And Sunday didn't score well. I didn't manage to get the ball in the hole last week. It wasn't physical, it was just I inflicted some of my own wounds. And I hit some putts that didn't go in. And that's part it. In the end I was frustrated and that cost me a couple of shots, probably. A lot of it was my fault. But, a lot of it came from what you said, trying to force the issue and putting myself in the position where I could score?

Q. Do you have expectations this week or high expectations, rather?

JIM FURYK: You know, I really don't enter weeks where I go in and expect to play well. You look at an event where I've played well in the past, like Las Vegas. I don't go there expecting to play well or expecting to go and have a chance to win the golf tournament. But it's a nice feeling to show up at a course where I've played well in the past, I'm really comfortable on the golf course and think I know it pretty well. If my game is in good shape I have a chance to contend there. I look forward to those places. And this would be one of those sites. But your game has to be in good shape. I never go out with the expectation that rarely have I ever said before I tournament started that you're playing so good right now, I expect myself to go out there and finish in the top 5 in this tournament. I just take it as it comes and go out and each day play the best I can, and score the best I can, and try to put myself in position. And there's been weeks where I felt like I was just playing awful, Wednesday, and something clicked, early in the round Thursday I picked it up and end up winning tournaments that week where I felt awful. And I've had weeks I played great Monday through Wednesday and I missed the cut. You never really know in this game what to expect. So I just go out there every day as a new day and try to build some momentum from the days past and you get better and play as best I can.

Q. Do you think players that don't play Augusta might have an advantage putting wise this week because they don't have to make the adjustment on those greens?

JIM FURYK: I don't think the adjustment is that big, to be honest with you. The greens are different, it's a different surface. But last year it was very firm and dry here. Firmer and drier than it was this morning in the Pro Am. Yesterday wasn't so bad, but this morning there was a lot of moisture, I was picking up some mud on some shots. The greens weren't quite as firm. Last year, from what I remember, they were really slick and really firm. The adjustment coming from Augusta to here really wasn't that big a deal. And I think that might have been the year before was the rain delay in Augusta, so the greens might not have been their quickest, either. The greens here are quite nice.

The biggest difference is, even though they've tightened up Augusta, it's nothing like this. There is no place higher than Harbour Town, and no place that have greens much smaller than here. If you get the ball green high you have a good birdie putt. You get around this place hitting 12, 14 greens, that's a lot of good birdie putts, usually. You have a lot of opportunities. It's just harder to do than it is to say, and a lot of other places you can hit those greens and not really be that close to the hole and even though you have a green hit you're trying to get it down in two and get out of it with par and get to the next hole. It's still a little different style.

But it's a friendly place and I love the families coming here. And I wouldn't really call it a lot of guys say it's like they get to decompress after Augusta. I don't know I'd go that far. If I wanted to decompress, I think I'd go on vacation, rather than come back to work. But it's definitely a little bit more relaxing week. And I don't I mean that in a positive way not in a negative way. I think you can relax and still be competitive and play well. Obviously Davis does it well.

Q. How does the course look in general compared to years past?

JIM FURYK: I think it looks good. The only difference I notice right now is it's a little moist in the fairways. The ball last year was really chasing. I had marks on my yardage book, don't hit it past 310 or 315, because you get blocked out by the trees on 8. I was laughing, because I thought, "When did I hit 315?" The ball was chasing out so much that I was hitting less club off some of tees, and it's a little softer. But it's in good condition, the greens look great. Years ago, I remember back in the '90s, maybe around 2000, they had a little bit more rough on the golf course, and now they've tended to last year, I remember the guys, when it got firm and fast, and there's one inch rough out there all over the place the ball tended to want to scoot into more trouble. And when you missed the green the ball didn't kind of hang up by the green, it would tend to hang up by the green, it was hard to get it up and down. And the guys last year that I spoke with, I'll say a dozen to two dozen guys all raved about the setup last year and really thought that our staff and the people here at Harbour Town really did a good job setting this golf course up in the proper way and thought it was super. And it was a tough year with the wind, but I'm going to say 7 under par or something won the golf tournament. When it plays tough and all the guys tell you how great it is and how fair it was, that's what we're looking for is.

Q. With Wachovia coming up, obviously you had a great week there last year, the 17th hole there has been one of the hardest holes on Tour for the last two or three years, how difficult is it to play that? What's your approach when you go to that hole?

JIM FURYK: It's very difficult. One, it's long, so you're hitting a lot of club in there, sometimes much for a guy like me. I remember last year on Sunday hitting 5, 6 iron, but 6 iron in the playoff. And I guess tees are up, the pin was on the front left, but it had to have been down breeze a little bit, it was because 18 played back in the wind. There's days I'm hitting as much as 3 iron in there, if the tee is back, pin back and into the breeze. The green just doesn't really what makes it so difficult is the green doesn't really accept the shot. I think originally that hole was designed to be played from about a 90 degree different angle, and the way the green was sloped it receives a shot from that angle better than the angle we're coming from. So it's definitely an awkward looking shot, but also there's a lot of places on the green, when you're hitting a 4 iron or 5 iron or 3 iron to a firm green, there's a lot of places that actually slope away from you or slope towards the water, so that you can hit a shot that actually kicks further. And it's still a pretty good shot. It's a pretty big green, but very few level spots to land the ball on?

Q. Best shot is to cut it in there, which means taking it over the water?

JIM FURYK: Well, I would say, yeah, one, you're holding it against most of the slopes, but it's hard when you've got water short, left and long. It's hard not to talk your brain you want to hit a draw, because you want to start the ball away from trouble and drift it back in, but the ball tends to land on the green much firmer. So, yeah, the best way to go would be a cut, if you could. But you're not going to talk a lot of guys into that.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Jim.

End of FastScripts.

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