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June 16, 2006

Jim Furyk


Q. How difficult are those greens getting out there?

JIM FURYK: They're quite tough. I think that they're crusting up. They've got that white little glow or sheen to them right now. You can see the guys that have walked before you, you can see the indents from soft spikes and different things. They're quite tough.

I think Friday afternoon sometimes can be one of the worst afternoons because of the amount of traffic going through this golf course. There's 156 players today, there will be a lot less tomorrow, so usually the greens will recover a little bit and be a little better on the weekend.

Q. Were they bumpier than a U.S. Open green is in general, these greens, that you can recall in recent years? Obviously Shinnecock was a different animal altogether.

JIM FURYK: A lot of times it depends on the surface and also probably the weather we had coming in. Poa can be we play a lot of U.S. Opens on poa, Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines is going to be that way, Olympia Fields kind of redid theirs, but they'll be poa soon, Oakmont, Merion, all those greens are poa. When it's a firm surface, it usually can be pretty smooth. But I think probably the rain leading in here, when it gets soft, like when we're out on the west coast playing up and down California, usually February it's rained a lot, it's tough to keep it smooth for the entire week.

You know, everyone has got to play on it. Someone is making putts out there. Duval is making putts. It's possible, and they're not it wasn't any different on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday; we practiced on it, we expected it, it's really probably not the key feature. You can talk about a lot of other good things at this place.

Q. There's not a lot of guys at the moment at the top of the leaderboard that have won majors before, you, Phil. What does that do for you heading into the weekend knowing that there's going to be some blood and some carnage?

JIM FURYK: Well, there always is at the U.S. Open. I had to win mine my first one, one time. You know, it's nice to draw from that experience, but you know what, no one else is out there playing. You've got to worry about your own game. It's not like an intimidation factor or anything like that. It's nice for me, it's a good confidence boost. But in the long run, I still have to go out there and execute and play really well on a tough golf course, and it really doesn't mean all that much.

Q. How many do you think you'll have to shoot under par here for the week?

JIM FURYK: Depends on the setup, but if the course was set up Sunday like it was Thursday and Friday, I'd say no.

Q. At Olympia Fields you came close to setting the record low score. Here we're probably going to see a high score. What is it, the similarity between the two setups that allowed you to play to well at both places?

JIM FURYK: I think both golf courses, the way they're set up, probably suited my game as far as not being a power hitter. It's really although this golf course is very long on the card, the power really isn't even probably one of the top two or three important things on this course. It's all about getting the ball in play and putting the ball in the right spots and thinking your way around the golf course. You know, a golf course like Bethpage was a lot more about power when we played there.

Q. Do you feel in that regard you're very similar to Hale Irwin in his game?

JIM FURYK: I didn't get an opportunity I got an opportunity to play with Hale a couple times, but we probably only crossed paths for about five years or so on Tour. I don't know, I have a lot of admiration, a lot of respect for his game. What did he win, three U.S. Opens? If I win a couple more, then I'll start comparing myself, how's that? It may be a stout comparison at the moment.

Q. Can you compare your round from yesterday to today?

JIM FURYK: You know, I got it in the hole a little better yesterday. I was able to recover from a couple you know, I hit the ball probably very similar both days. I recovered from a couple mistakes yesterday and I wasn't able to do that as much today. I might have even played a little better ball striking wise, but I didn't play as well. I didn't get the ball up and down as well today as I did yesterday.

Q. Did it take a lot out of you? I guess these types of things take a lot out of everyone.

JIM FURYK: By Friday night, yeah, 18 holes around this course, I'm worn out. But that's why you get to sleep tonight, and I'll have a nice late tee time, so I'll get to sleep in, and I'll be ready to go. It's exhausting, both mentally and physically, because you can't get your guard down out here. You can't let your mind wander or float or all of a sudden you're going to double bogey pretty quick. I think we spend a lot of energy probably on the mental aspect.

Q. (Inaudible).

JIM FURYK: It is pretty easy. You're staring at a golf course that I really have a lot of respect for, and I've always liked Winged Foot. And then when you come and put it in a U.S. Open type setup, it's very demanding and very difficult. You pretty much know you have to have all your concentration when you step on the first tee, otherwise you're not going to play well.

Q. Did you get ragged on in the locker room for going on the DL over a toothbrush incident?

JIM FURYK: A touch, nothing I didn't consider funny myself (laughter). Actually I was taking after brushing my teeth, I was taking it was Aleve, aspirin, and I was hunched over and bad posture and threw my head back and pinched something in my neck and then it ran down my upper back. It took three to five days and I started feeling a little better. It's ironic. Kind of like out there, I saw the weather detectors run by solar power. I thought that was a little ironic, too.

Q. Is Winged Foot perhaps our hardest U.S. Open venue?

JIM FURYK: Our hardest? All the ones I missed the cut at were the hardest for me. You know, a lot of times it's how they set the golf course up rather than the course itself. You know, this is one of the I'd definitely put this in a pile of a handful, because it's not a golf course that you're worried about before you get here, oh, God, these guys could tear this place up. Winged Foot has got a tradition, and 74 and 84 has shown you're more worried about us getting around the golf course than you are shooting low scores.

Q. (Inaudible).

JIM FURYK: Today they were two shots easier than yesterday. That's all I know. I would say it is difficult, and I think a lot of it has to do with the wind conditions that we've seen. You know, 16, 17, and 18 could be the holes we were talking about that had the wind switched around because they'd all be into the wind and then they'd be brutal.

But we're playing 1, 2, 3 and 4 into the wind or into and left to right. They're all very long, 450, 450, we've been playing the up tee on 3, and it's still tough, and No. 3 has got to be over 450, too.

You've got a lot of long holes playing into the wind. 1 and 2 are some very difficult greens, also, some of the tougher greens on the course. Yeah, it's tough to get off to a good start. You know, you've got to go out there and grind it out. And the nice thing is you turn around and you have 5, which is a reachable sometimes 5 plays the same distance as some of those par 4s.

Q. (Inaudible).

JIM FURYK: I birdied No. 3, par 3, I hit a 3 iron today, landed on the front of the green, chased back to about pin high about 15 feet right of the hole and had a pretty big break to it and was able to sneak one in there.

5, I hit a good one off the tee and my hybrid about 25 or 30 feet behind the pin and came one down there about six inches and tapped in for birdie.

Four birdies yesterday, two birdies today. I said my round was different because I was able to escape more yesterday. It was probably the two birdies, now that I think about it.

Q. As opposed to other events, when you make a couple birdies you kind of relax a little bit, get in kind of a groove. How difficult is that here or can you do it at all?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think you get in a groove here by hitting a few drives in the fairway and putting the ball on the green and kind of knocking some putts up there close, tapping them in and kind of having some stress free holes. That's kind of the groove you get into at a U.S. Open rather than going out and making a couple birdies real quick and feeling good about your game.

If you can go out there and play the first four holes under par, I would say you would be feeling really good about yourself. A lot of guys are going to be over par early on, and I guess if you go out and make a bogey or two, you can pretty much realize you're pretty much even par with the field.

Like I said, you've got 5 coming up that's a reachable par 5 if you can get the ball in the fairway and just keep don't get impatient. Getting in a groove at the U.S. Open is hitting it on the fairway and hitting it on the green.

Q. Does it surprise you Tiger missed the cut?

JIM FURYK: I don't know what he shot, so I wasn't aware that he missed the cut.

Q. Two 76s.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I think when you have he's still the best player in the world, and he has taken a lot of time off. Yeah, I'm surprised that he didn't play better or didn't make the cut, but it's also understandable.

Like you said, it's a difficult golf course; it's a long time off. I've had some layoffs like that, and he's not happy to go out there and he's not happy to go out even with the layoff and just try to make a cut and squeak in and finish 15th or 20th; he's going out there and demanding a lot of himself, and it's tough to do after a long layoff.

End of FastScripts.

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