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November 8, 2006

Jim Furyk


RODDY WILLIAMS: We have Jim Furyk here in the media centre. Jim, welcome to the HSBC Champions tournament here in Shanghai, and welcome to China for the first time. Give us your opening thoughts on this tournament and also your first visit to China.

JIM FURYK: Well, yeah, it's my first visit, and I've only been here about 36 hours. So trying to get rested. But the facility here is quite nice and very impressive.

RODDY WILLIAMS: You come here on the back of a very good week, last week in at the Tour Championship, a great final round, playing with a lot of confidence at the moment.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I took some time off. In the last month prior to the Tour Championship, I only played one week. So I was a little rusty going in, but I got better as the week went on and played well on the weekend to finish in second place.

Yeah, I've had a very good year and playing well and hopefully I can continue that this week.

Q. I'm a reporter from the Golf Channel that has 15 million audiences and we will cover this competition from the very beginning to the end and we are the only ones to do this in China. First, would you like to say something to our audiences? And I would like to ask you a question, since you are ranked second in the world under Tiger Woods, what do you think of your difference with Tiger, and do you think some day you will replace him as world No. 1 player?

JIM FURYK: The first part is what do I think the difference is between Tiger and myself?

I guess the first part of that was to say hello to the Chinese audience. Golf seems to be a booming sport and vastly becoming a popular sport here in China, so thank you everyone for tuning in and watching us play.

Second part, being ranked No. 2, I think it's a nice honour, but it's not really a the ranking isn't really what drives me as a player or most players. It's a nice honour and it's kind of like an added bonus to the year. But trying to win golf tournaments and trying to win major championships I think is what drives the best players, not really the ranking that they have.

As far as the second part of that question, or the third part, I think the difference between Tiger Woods and the rest of the golf world is you've had players that have jumped up into the No. 2 spot and have tried to challenge Tiger. Like Vijay Singh over took him for No. 1. Ernie Els has made a run. Phil Mickelson has made a run. The difference is Tiger has been able to maintain that level for a much longer period of time. He's been in that spot for the last close to ten years; where everyone else has a good year or two and makes a run at him, but then falls back and then makes another good run and falls back. He's been able to maintain that level for a longer period of time than anyone else.

Q. Is this the first golf course you've played in China, and after your Pro Am, what do you think the difference is of this course compared to the courses you play in the U.S.?

JIM FURYK: There's really not that much difference. The grass here resembles a lot of the same grasses we see in the southern part of the United States. It's obviously a very new golf course, I think only two years old. So it resembles a lot of the golf courses that have been built in the United States in the last 10 or 15 years. It's a newer style of architecture but it's a very nice course.

Q. And have you heard of Shanghai crab? It's in season; have you tried it?

JIM FURYK: I have not.

Q. Would you like to try it? (Laughter)

JIM FURYK: I have not. Yeah, I'd probably have to if I went to Shanghai for dinner, could I find that on the menu very easily? I'd probably have to try it. I'd give it a try.

Q. I am a journalist from Golf Week Beijing, and I wonder if you will will take the Vardon award because you had an average score of 68.96 maybe; your performance in the PGA tournaments is very steady; how do you achieve that? In past years, Tiger has got six of the Vardon awards, so how do you think about that?

JIM FURYK: Well, it's a nice honour to end the year. On a side note, Tiger would have won the Vardon this year had he played enough rounds. He was ineligible because he was about five rounds short.

But it's a nice honour. I think it's a testament to the year and how consistent I played throughout the year and I think in order to be consistent, you have to be prepared all year. So I played well, but I also showed up for every event with a lot of practise and was, I felt, prepared to play well every week; maybe I didn't play well every week, but I felt my preparation was good this year.

Q. I wanted to ask you, you have had a fantastic year, you're No. 2 in the rankings and I'm sure you've already started planning for 2007. What do you think you have to do different to break that final frontier that is beating Tiger Woods to that No. 1 ranking or beating him consistently; what will you be doing differently in 2007? And what are your thoughts on Paul Azinger as the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team?

JIM FURYK: Well, I'll start with the second part. Paul was a wonderful choice. He's very feisty, he's very passionate about the Ryder Cup, and I think he'll bring a pretty feisty attitude to a team that needs it right now.

Usually I wait until the season is over and then I kind of look back on the year and think of the things that I want to improve on. This year seems to never end, so I really haven't had time to sit back and think. The one thing about this game, and I think the greatest thing about this game is no matter how well you're playing, or even as the best player in the world for Tiger, we're all trying to better. We're always trying to improve.

And as good a year as I had, I still have a lot of things that I feel I can improve on and get better, and that's what I'll be working on in the off season and the early part of next year to try to have a good season in 2007.

Q. You played with Tiger at the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup together, is he one of your best friends on the golf course, and have you heard anything from Tiger regarding his visit to China in the past?

JIM FURYK: We are good friends. I heard about this golf tournament for the first time last year at Dunlop Phoenix in Japan because we both played there and we were paired together for a couple of the rounds. He had just come from the HSBC. So that's where I first heard of the golf tournament. You know, we are friends at home.

Q. And second question is you have a very unique swing, and you never have a coach other than your father?


Q. Is that what you like to stick with, or you just never bothered to go for a different coach?

JIM FURYK: My father was a golf professional when I was younger. He was a club professional. And then he went into sales and sold golf equipment for a living, so I was fortunate as a young player to have good equipment and good instruction, and equipment that always fit me.

I think I was fortunate, also, that I'm not very mechanically inclined. I obviously don't have a very mechanical swing. I was fortunate that we figured out that I was better off to play by feel and trust what came naturally, and we just tried to refine that and I'm lucky he let me do that.

Q. Regarding your golf swing again, do you feel like after you turned professional in the past ten years on the Tour, more than ten years, is there any part that you find that you need to have much of a swing change?

JIM FURYK: I think that my on the first note, it's interesting, when I first got on the PGA Tour, because my swing looked a little bit different when I went to the press room, that's what I spent most of my time talking about. As I became a better player and as people got used to me being on Tour, we quit talking about it. But now I find when I come to a country for the first time, it's like stepping back in time for me. So it's been years and years since I've talked about my swing, but it's understandable because I'm in China for the first time.

I think my swing has slowly changed. This is my 13th year on the PGA Tour, so it's probably slowly changed over time. But very, very little. I think I basically have got my swing is very similar to the way it was 13 years ago. I've just refined it and improved upon it but I think at a very slow pace.

Q. Since you've come to China for the HSBC Champions, what's your impression of China and any difference between what you expected before? And my second question, as we know you will be in the same group with Mr. Liang Wen Chong, maybe he has the most potential of the golfers in China, have you heard of him and what do you think of him?

JIM FURYK: I've seen the same, but as far as what I would think of him, I've never seen him play. So I'll have a better idea of how his game is or what I think of his game a couple of days from now, but I'm sure he's a very good player.

As far as what to expect from China, I've kind of learned from my travels not to form any opinions until I get there. Nothing is really ever what you expect, and I didn't know what to expect. Obviously we are pretty far away from the city, and I was very impressed by how nice the hotel was, by how wonderful the group I traveled over here with was and I thought the architecture at the club was very nice. It was probably a much bigger facility than I expected right off the bat. But it's very impressive.

Q. Did you see any part of Shanghai city at all?

JIM FURYK: We went into the city last night for the gala dinner. We were across from the river from The Bund, and I've heard that's the hot spot in the city, or so I've been told for different restaurants and bars. I've heard that's the place to go.

Q. I wanted to know, now that you've played this course this morning, what's your impression of this course and what do you see as its challenges? And also, at what age did you first break par, please.

JIM FURYK: I first broke par in a tournament at age 15.

The challenges I see on the golf course, one is the greens. There's a lot going on on the greens as far as there's a lot of movement, a lot of swales, a lot of humps and bumps on the greens. If you're not able to hit good iron shots and get close to the pin, putting will be very difficult.

The second would be, I think some of the driving areas, there's some interestingly tight driving areas where bunkers are right in the landing area. You can kind of play it safe or attack the landing area and try to hit it to a narrow area. But you have to drive the ball very well here and I think the greens are very difficult.

Q. I have two questions. The first one is you have accompanied Tiger to the Ryder Cup this year but still failed, so somebody said that the Americans are doomed to fail in the Ryder Cup; how do you think so? And the next question is, somebody says that you look more strict during the competition when you play the golf, so do you think you are a strict person in most occasions in your life?

JIM FURYK: A strict person?

Q. Serious.

JIM FURYK: A serious person. And the first question about Tiger and I playing together, but you're saying the U.S. failed, we lost. Is that I guess I didn't understand the first question.

Q. Somebody said the Americans are doomed to fail in the Ryder Cup.

JIM FURYK: We're doomed to fail in the Ryder Cup? (Laughter) I think it's I don't think we're doomed.

Q. It was related to something like the American lack of teamwork spirit, but for the European it is opposite.

JIM FURYK: I think the fact that I think we haven't played well and have played poorly and haven't won. But I think the reasons that have been given are probably unfair to the U.S. Team, and for that matter, unfair to The European Team. I think that they have played better than us and they have played well, but I don't think in any manner that they are more of a team or actually get along any better than us. In fact, at times maybe just the opposite but they have out played us and played better than us.

As far as being serious, I think at times I get I don't smile a lot on the golf course. I actually don't bang a lot of clubs and get all that upset on the golf course. I have a very even level. So, yeah, I get I don't know if accused is the right word, but I get tagged as someone that's very serious. I think with golf I am. Outside of golf, I think I've lightened up a little bit and I'm a little bit more easygoing. But you know, I think everyone is relatively serious about their occupation.

Q. So smile a lot! (Laughter)

JIM FURYK: I would say deal with it, how's that? (Laughter).

RODDY WILLIAMS: Jim, thank you very much and best of luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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