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April 15, 2006

Jim Furyk


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Jim Furyk into the interview area. 3-under par, 68, 14-under par total, and as co-leader, he and Aaron Baddeley are AstraZeneca Charity Challenge Winners. They donated 50 thousand dollars to the American College of Rheumatology on behalf of Verizon Heritage, and 50,000 to the Physician Assistant Association.

This is your third time being in that position?

JIM FURYK: Yes, it's nice. I think that we are very fortunate to do -- we're very fortunate to play golf as a living, to do something we love so much. It's nice to know that all the cities that we go into we play, our Tour has a positive impact. To put all the millions of dollars a week we donate to that is great.

JOE CHEMYCZ: 3-under par 68 today, talk about your round and how well you played.

JIM FURYK: Well, I'm happy with the way I played. Conditions were tough today. The wind got whipping pretty good about the time Aaron and I were making the turn. It was a little difficult for me at first to kind of get a handle on which direction it was coming from. It seemed to be turning and swirling a little bit. And I misclubbed a few times. But I got a pretty good rhythm and figured out which way it was coming from. I got a good rhythm on the back nine birdieing No. 12. And a string on 15, 16 and 17.

I'm happy about the round. Aaron played well. And I'm excited about going out tomorrow on the 4th round in good position and having some guys trying to chase us.

Q. Did it feel -- did you notice that you and Aaron had kind of separated yourselves a little bit. Did you feel like match play a little bit towards the end?

JIM FURYK: No, not really. The reason -- had it been Sunday I think it would have had that feeling. But you couldn't win anything today, because it didn't feel like match play. You were still trying to get yourself in good position and still trying to play well.

Q. Does having been in this position and having won several events on Tour give you an advantage over a player who has not won, tomorrow?

JIM FURYK: I don't know about that. I think whoever -- again, there's still quite a few guys not that far back. I don't really want to say it's a two-man race. Whoever goes out and fires the best score tomorrow has the opportunity to win the golf tournament. I've had and experiences to pull on. He's won some tournaments in Australia and overseas. He's a good, young player. I know that not only with Aaron there but some good players at 11-under and 10-under par, I have to play well tomorrow.

Q. Did you wish him a happy anniversary today or did you even know that?

JIM FURYK: Someone said happy anniversary when we were on the 15th tee. We talked a little bit about it being his anniversary today. He got married during this tournament last year. We talked a little bit about it. But I had no idea. I didn't read the media guide this morning (laughter) I'm glad he remembered, that's the most important (laughter).

Q. When did you go to these button-front shirts?

JIM FURYK: This year. I was just approached by the company, Chilly Wear that makes them. It's a comfortable material. It's kind of like a moisture-wicking material. And the cut they have them, it's comfortable. It's a lightweight shirt and it's different so I decided to wear it.

Q. The history of this tournament says that it's tough for the 36 hole leader to go deeper under par. They seem to come back in the field. But you pushed it to 14. What enabled you to do that today?

JIM FURYK: Well, that's interesting, actually, if that would be the case. You'd think if the guy had it going good for the first two rounds, someone would have shot under par for the third round. But it could be the conditions, the conditions got tough for the day. I think calming down at the turn and starting to hit some really good iron shots on the back nine, where I hit good iron shots at 10, 11, 12, 13 -- the back nine, really struck the ball well with my irons and I gave myself a lot of opportunities. So just really playing the type of golf you need to around this golf course on the back nine. I hit a lot of fairways, put the ball in play and hit a lot of greens. And as we talked about the greens are tiny in spots. If you get the ball on the surface you're usually going to have some good putts?

Q. How much did you watch the leaderboard?

JIM FURYK: A little here and there. When I was warming up I saw that -- I want to say Heath had it going early, when I saw it, it was 7-under through 15. Ernie played a good round, shooting 6-under. But just looked like early on what I was noticing or about the time I made the turn was a lot of the guys around me and playing on my time were on even par, and guys that got out a little earlier, there were some guys that were 2, 3-under par, seemed to be the common -- I'm at a loss for words now -- that's what seemed to be happening there. I think the wind probably picked up and started getting steadier, steadier and steadier, and I think probably towards the end it may have broke a little bit there and started to let up on us on the last hole or so. But, yeah, I check out the leaderboards, but I don't spend a whole heck of a lot of time peeking at them. I had a feeling that Aaron and I were out in front a little bit and I knew where I stood in the event and was just trying to keep playing well and get myself in position for tomorrow?

Q. The conditions are similar tomorrow as today, what's realistic as to how far back someone could come and catch you guys?

JIM FURYK: I don't know. I wouldn't really -- I don't worry about that. I guess it has a lot to do with what Aaron and I go out and shoot, also. The goal tomorrow is just to get up and assess the situation. From what I've been told it's supposed to be windy again and maybe get some pretty big gusts late in the day, which obviously will be tough. But just go out and play as well as I can and fire as good a number as I can and try to win this golf tournament?

Q. Aaron's got an early morning service. Do you plan to sleep in? Do you have other Easter plans?

JIM FURYK: I have two kids that are under the age of three and a half, there's no sleeping in (laughter).

Q. Jim, what happened there on 18, just overclubbed it and then hit a bunker?

JIM FURYK: You know, if I went back in the middle of the fairway, I was stuck in between 7 and 8-iron. I hit the 8-iron, hit it absolutely -- couldn't have hit it any better than I could. I hit it right at the stick. It just -- it's just one of those shots I hit it as well as I could and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it. I got in a tough position in the bunker with my feet not really in the bunker and on the downslope, so I've got my shoulders and whole body angling down. I'm trying to help the ball up in the air, which is a tough shot. And I couldn't really change my feet or change my body in my setup because of the way the ground was, if you're understanding. The way the ground was pushing me to be on a downward motion, I couldn't contort my body in a position to get it the other way. I was just trying to get the ball up on the green 10 or 15 feet. And make sure, if anything, I blew it a little past the pin and didn't get cute. And I think in trying to help it up in the air a little bit, I caught it thin and drilled it right in the bank. I was fortunate it just popped up and left me an easy up-and-down from there.

It ended up in a weird spot. If it had been a couple of yards to the left or a couple of yards to the right, it probably wouldn't have been that hard an up-and-down. It just ended up in a bad position. That happens. The shots on the three previous turned out the way I wanted to. But that one didn't turn out the way I wanted to. I've kind of forgotten all about it, because I hit it the way I wanted to. If I hit a poor swing it would be burning me a little bit, but because I hit the shot the way I wanted to it's easy to say, oh, well, and move on.

Birdie at 1 and driver and a -- driver and pitching wedge to about 20 feet.

Birdied No. 5, I hit my 3-wood and hybrid in the left bunker shot. Bunker shot to about 4 feet.

Bogeyed 7, hitting a 5-iron in the front bunker and did not get it up-and-down, missed about a 15-footer.

8, drove it in the right rough and had to hit a little low cut 3-iron underneath that overhanging tree, hit a great shot on the front fringe about two yards short of the green. The pin was probably -- about 65 feet from the pin and I left it about 8 feet short and missed it.

Then birdied 12, driver and a 7-iron to about 15 feet.

15, driver, laid up with a 6-iron, hit my sand wedge to about 5 feet.

3-wood and a 9-iron on 16 to about -- probably two or three feet.

Then I hit a 6-iron on No. 17 to about 8 feet. Knocked that in for birdie.

We talked about 18 with the 3-wood and 8-iron.

Q. At the beginning of the week you said you got a couple of mud balls, the course was playing a lot softer. Looking at your yardage chart from previous years you hit the ball 315 yards. Are we getting close to it drying out where you're hitting those kind of drives now?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I think it's getting closer. There are still a few holes that are damp. 8 is still damp. The ball is not running that well. But for the most part, 18 is obviously very firm. You can see the irons sitting on those greens. It's not quite as fast as it was putting last year, but it's firming up quite nicely. I think a lot of that is the wind. A lot of sun on it, but also the wind on it is helping that and it will be firmer tomorrow.

Q. You've been almost perfect from inside 10, 12 feet up until today. You missed a couple on the front. Are you still feeling pretty good about the putter going into tomorrow?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I know I've won tournaments where they said I didn't miss a putt from -- I was 28 of 29 from ten feet and in. Those are pretty misleading stats, because you've got to think that -- all the tap ins that you have. You hit a putt outside 20 feet and knock it up 6 inches and tap it in, that counts. It scews that average pretty well. When I see some of those numbers they're staggering. But when you're the guy that's playing well, you say I didn't really make that many 8 footers this week.

I'm happy about the way I'm putting and playing. Most of the aspects of my game have been really good this week. It's tough to get in a position where you have a chance to win a golf tournament and feel like you're not playing well and putting well.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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