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April 14, 2006

Jim Furyk


TODD BURDNICK: We welcome Jim Furyk, the clubhouse leader, 11 under, 131 for two rounds. A nice finish, there, Jim, that was quite a putt

JIM FURYK: Thanks, I hit a pretty decent iron shot. I expected it to be in the middle of the green at worst. You want to finish on a strong note, get it up there close, 2 putt and get out with a 4, and have a pretty good day.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk about your front nine. You've had four birdies on the first 7 and a little bit of trouble on the back nine.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, good birdie putt at 1, hit the ball pretty solid the rest of the way, with birdies on the par 5s, 2 and 5. A good birdie on 6, 7, had it rolling pretty good. And then hit two bad pitch shots on 8 and 9. An iron at 8 that was a touch thin, and came up just a couple yards short of the green. I hit a fat pitch shot and missed the putt. 9 is a great little short hole. I positioned it well off the tee, and was trying to take an away, drove in the corner, got it up in the air too much, and it sailed away and got through the green. And again hit a poor pitch shot. I thought the putt was going in the hole and it missed. And a couple of bogeys in a row. And I just wanted to start out the back nine solid. There are tough holes on 10 and 11. I wanted to hit good shots and put the ball on the green, and stop the bleeding at that point. I just missed birdie at 10 and parred 11, kind of calmed down, and played good on the back nine.

Q. You feel pretty good about the way things are going for you at this point?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I ran into a little tough spot today with a couple of bogeys and was able to fight through it and play solid starting out the back nine. I had a couple of putts back there that could have gone in but didn't, still birdied 15 and 18. And I kept a good day going out there. It's easy to kind of keep things going when you're rolling in a bunch of birdie putts, like on 5, 6 and 7. I got in a little bit of a tough jam, which usually happens at least once a day, definitely a few times a week, but it was nice to fight through it and keep it going.

Q. How about the weather today? Was there a lot of wind to deal with?

JIM FURYK: No, it was the only place you really start to feel it a lot is out there on 17 and 18. You feel it somewhat otherwise, but you're protected pretty good. And it wasn't windy for here, put it that way. There was a light breeze. It picked up a little bit as the day went on. But it wasn't a bad factor. I remember all the wind we had the first couple of days last year, and much tougher conditions.

Q. A lot of talk about you come into the tournament, I think, ranked 7th or 8th in the World Rankings. A lot of talk about the Big 5. How important would it be for you to get up to that level, and how close do you think you are?

JIM FURYK: I think the World Rankings are somewhat important and somewhat worthless, all in the same sentence, if that makes sense. What I mean by that is they're important, because that's your entry into a lot of great golf tournaments. As long as you're in the top 25, 35, I guess it ends up as long as you're in the top 50 in the world you're pretty much in every golf tournament you want to play in. So that's what's important. But I don't think the guys in the top 5 are really worried whether they're 2, 3, 4 or 5, it really doesn't matter to them. And therefore it's nice to be ranked in the top 10 in the world and I'm happy for it, but that number isn't what kind of guides me or what pushes me to go out there and work hard and practice. I'm trying to compete and just trying to win golf tournaments and trying to get better is what drives me. It would be nice, I think, for someone like a Tom Lehman or guys that David Duval, at one time or another have had the tag of being No. 1 in the world. That would be nice. Vijay had that tag for a little bit. It would be a good feeling. But past that, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, I don't really think it means a lot to any of those players. I think Phil would take all The Masters you could give him and he could care less about the No. 1 is what I'm getting at. It just so happens that the guy who is our No. 1 wins most of the major championships. But it's not something that number isn't really that important to me. If I'm playing well, that number will take care of itself.

Q. Is winning majors most important to you at this stage?

JIM FURYK: Winning golf tournaments is what's important. I would still much rather finish 7th than 9th, and that's better than 15th or 20th. But I think coming out and trying to win golf tournaments is what we all compete for. That's what we all play for. And I'll put a special asterisk next to trying to win a major championship, which I've done once. But that's definitely more special than winning a golf tournament one of the other 39 stops on Tour or something like that.

Q. A couple of these guys like Tiger and Phil say now that their goals are majors, that that's what they set their schedules for and all that. Do you see yourself some day being at that stage where you say that's the way I gear my year?

JIM FURYK: If I was sitting with 58 wins or 32 wins, whatever they have respectively, somewhere around 50 and the 30s, I'd probably be telling you the same thing. If I told you that, even though I've had a decent career and ten wins, you'd probably think I was pretty darn arrogant. I'm focusing on trying to win golf tournaments. I'd like to get in the position where I had 20 wins or 25 wins or something like that.

I definitely build a schedule around the tournaments that I feel I have the best opportunity to win. And I also build my schedule around how I'm going to prepare for the four major championships and how I want to prepare for The Players Championship and try to get ready for the bigger tournaments. I want to make sure my game is in that I've had a little bit of rest, but I've played enough golf that I think I'm sharp by the time The Masters and U.S. Open come around. I'll plan my schedule around it and I'll pick and choose my events like this one and like Doral and Riviera, and the courses that I think are very good, places that I think I can compete and have a chance to win. And I'll sprinkle in a few others in.

Q. You've talked about several of those that are places that have a lot of wind near the coast. Do you always play well

JIM FURYK: I never really root for it to blow. If you're five, six shots back, you might hope it was maybe a little bit of a tough day, so that you could maybe make a little more ground easier. I kind of take it as it comes. If it's nice all weekend, if it blows and gets that way, that's okay.

Q. Your shot making, it doesn't

JIM FURYK: I've had success in the wind. I'm not opposed to it. I never sit back and root for ugly days where I'm going to have to work that much harder.

Q. How about changing clubs and getting used to your new equipment, what's that like?

JIM FURYK: It's a depends on how you go about doing it. In my situation yeah, I've known for quite a while last year that I was no longer going to represent the same company. And I'd known for most of last year that I was no longer going to represent the same company. So I spent a lot of time preparing for that move and trying to make sure that the equipment I played suited my game very well, instead of just waiting until the end of the year. I had that luxury to know. Some guys don't. They may get cut or get dropped or thinking their contract is going to get renewed and it doesn't, and they're stuck. I had the luxury of being able to look around, trying other companies equipment while I was at home and picking a good fit for me. So the golf ball was a very, very easy transition. It's something I put in immediately, right off the bat at Mercedes, the first event of the year finished third. I had no issues at all. I worked the irons in we worked on a set out of LA that wasn't quite right. It wasn't until Bay Hill this year that I got the irons in play. The driver just kind of I think it surprised everyone. He made a few drivers on a whim and gave them to me, and I ended up loving one of them and ended up putting it in play all week. The irons is what we really needed to work on. It took time. I'm very particular and I'm happy with the company that I represent, Srixon was not only very particular, but very patient with me. I went out and hit some shots and showed them what I liked and didn't like. They would come back and rectify those problems. I think I have equipment now that's the best I've played in my career, because they've listened so well and because they've built clubs for not only me, but the other guys on Tour.

Q. At your level, what's the difference between a club that's okay or you like, versus like the driver that you just picked up and immediately fell in love with, what's the nuance that you're looking for?

JIM FURYK: Well, like I said, the driver you're saying all equipment or what was the difference in that driver?

Q. The driver and the irons. At your level what's the difference in feel?

JIM FURYK: It could be a different in feel, but it's really all about the confidence and knowing that I want to get up there and hit a shot and whether it's good or bad, I want the ball to go where I expect it to be. Does that make sense? I don't want to be out in the middle of the fairway hitting a shot and wondering if it was my equipment or me. If you played equipment five years or a certain set of irons for five years and you hit a bad shot, it's pretty hard to blame it on equipment, concerning you've won tournaments and hit shots. You put something brand new in and you're hitting squirrelly shots, you wonder if it's me or the equipment, what's going on. You don't want to be in that position.

For me it was a confidence level of knowing that in the irons it was I expected the ball to be in a certain trajectory and I expected it to curve certain ways when I made certain swings, and have the ball where I expected it to be. When I hit a bad shot, saying that was a bad swing. I hit it over here and that's where I expected the ball to go.

As far as the driver, it was something that gave me a few extra yards, and it was something that I think with a lot of the new technology in drivers right now, drivers are getting the ball is coming off faster, coming off quicker than it did, say, ten years ago, but drivers are getting harder and harder to work, to hit right to left, hit it left to right, high and low. A lot of players of my generation and the younger generation are kind of taught to tee it up and just let it fly. And they hit it high and long and hit the same shot over and over again. But then there's other guys, like Justin Leonard, he's a couple of years younger than me, and Chad Campbell and the guys that work the ball, hit it right to left, left to right, hit it high and low and hit different shots with it. And I was able to do it with this driver. When I hit it over in the left rough, I pretty much know I made a bad swing. I trust it and I believe in the club.

TODD BUDNICK: Go through the clubs.

JIM FURYK: 2 I hit a driver and a hybrid, pin high, left of the green. I hit an average pitch shot to about ten feet and knocked it in for I guess it was 8 feet. I was cutting myself two feet, there. Made that for birdie.

No. 5 I hit a driver and a hybrid just short left of the green, pitched up to about six feet that's 16, SHOTLink wasn't close there. That one was six feet, I promise you. I knocked that in for birdie.

No. 6 I hit a driver in that right fairway bunker. I hit a 9 iron to about 15 or 20 feet behind the pin, knocked that in.

On No. 7 I hit a 6 iron to about nine feet and knocked it in for birdie.

Bogeys on 8, 9. I hit driver, 7 iron just short, kind of left a chip shot, oh, I don't know, 15, 18 feet short. I hit a terrible shot.

No. 9 I hit a 3 iron and pitching wedge over the green and pitched up to about 15 feet and missed it. , both bad pitch shots.

I birdied 15, driver, 6 iron and my gap wedge, which is a 50 degree wedge to it was about 15 feet.

Then I made a bomb on 18, I hit a 3 wood and 8 iron on the back fringe. 55 feet, ten inches. Made a bomb on 18.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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