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June 16, 2007

Jim Furyk


Q. Fabulous way to end it, Jim. Feeling good about the round?
JIM FURYK: I do. If I would have shot 70 and finished bogey-bogey. I probably would have been disappointed but come in there birdie-birdie, and it makes you (feel) good coming off the last green.
I felt like I played well today, hit the ball well, got off to a rocky start, but kept the ball in the fairways, from about 4 on, gave myself opportunities, and hit a few bad putts and hit a few good ones that didn't go in.
So I felt like after three-putting 16, I left a lot out on the golf course. I hit the golf ball I thought better. And 2-over par, everybody thinks that in the U.S. Open -- it definitely took the sting out birdieing the last two, and I was three back of the lead when I finished. So put myself in good position for the golf tournament.
I'm happy with the finish, and hopefully I can hit the ball the same way tomorrow and knock in some more putts and put some heat on those guys.

Q. How is the course playing?
JIM FURYK: Faster. The greens are firmer; it's a little faster, and it's just drying out. It's playing tough.
Yesterday the wind kicked up, the golf course dried out some and it played much, much more difficult than Thursday, as you can see by the scores. And I thought there were some unbelievably tough pin placements yesterday; I was a little surprised. It was a bear of a golf course.
And today it played tough, as well. We all know at U.S. Open, the golf course is going to get a little more brown and the greens are going to get more icey and it's going to test us.

Q. What was your mind-set coming off 16?
JIM FURYK: I was disappointed. I hit a good shot into the green. I put it in a spot where I should have been able to get there in two, and it's a hole you're trying to make par, especially with that pin placement. And I knew that -- I got to see Lee's (Janzen) putt break to the right, and I missed it more from the hole; and I didn't put a good putt on the 6-footer coming back, so I was disappointed.
At the time I was 1-over. I felt like I had 17 coming up with a short hole and a chance to get back to 6, and you don't expect to birdie the last two holes and get back to even par. So I was disappointed, but I wanted to hang in there and play well the last two holes. You never know what will happen.
The finish brightened up my day and made me feel like I'm back in the thick of things.

Q. You hadn't gone for the green on 17 this week, had you?
JIM FURYK: Yesterday they put the tee up but it was coming back to the right, and it didn't make sense with the wind conditions. Today there isn't much breeze out there. Yesterday they were on the back of the up-tee. Today they were five or six yards behind that, and I knew I had enough to get over the bunker, but probably not enough to get to the front of the green.
So I tried to play it a little bit left in hopes of getting a good lie in the rough and maybe get it up-and-down. With that pin -- you'll see guys, depending on where the pin is, depends on whether a short hitter like me will go for the green. With the pin being tucked close to the bunker, it's difficult to get a wedge in there close. I probably only had about four yards over the bunkers. So you're going to hit the ball behind that pin and leave yourself a tough putt for birdie. It was a play worth the risk. Even if you hit it out 20 feet, that's probably the best you're going to do.

Q. There's a lot of guys at 3-, 4-over.
JIM FURYK: If the lead is at three, it all depends. A guy could come from possibly five or six back, post under par, like a quick 68 or 67 and put a lot of heat on the guys in front of him but you never know.

Q. What will win the event; 3-over?
JIM FURYK: Not a lot of 67s out there usually in the U.S. Open. But a guy could come from far back with a round of a couple under par.

Q. Other than Tiger, there is nobody with major experience looking at the leaderboard. Having won a major, even contending, do you think you have an advantage having been in this position before?
JIM FURYK: I don't know. I haven't looked at the leaderboard and who is up there, and I really wouldn't concern myself too much about the guys. It wouldn't change the way I played or the way I wanted to attack the golf course.
And obviously with having Tiger Woods leading or close to the lead, you know he's the favorite and you all are picking him. And most of the guys that are playing against him have their eye on him.
So, there's a lot of good players. Geoff Ogilvy had never won a major last year, either, and he was clutch down the stretch last year. So there's a lot of guys with tournament experience and that are hungry.

Q. How different is your approach going to be now that you're six than if you would have come in at eight?
JIM FURYK: I don't know if it changes my approach on attacking the golf course, but it leaves me in a heck of a lot better mood and a lot more positive outlook on being able to catch the leaders tomorrow.

Q. Tiger was hitting the greens well today. When he's that on, do you feel like you have a chance to stay in it?
JIM FURYK: In the U.S. Open there is always a chance. He's a friend and I respect his game and the way he plays, and when he's playing well, he's difficult to beat. There is a lot of golf left out here, and Oakmont can jump up and bite anyone at anytime. And you keep hoping that you play well and see where it stacks up.
There is a lot of guys out here that think they can hit 16 greens and shoot 68, as well. Hopefully one of us can do it.

Q. Tiger said yesterday he knows how to win U.S. Open, and that's an advantage for him. Having done it, does that feed you, give you added confidence knowing that you've done it on a Sunday?
JIM FURYK: I think so. There is always a benefit to knowing you can -- you've done it before rather than thinking you can.
He's got the most experience of all. He's been in the hunt more than anyone; won more times than anyone. So he obviously doesn't lack any confidence down the stretch.
And he kind of has that ability like Nicklaus where he has to come up with a key shot or key putt and he has the nerves and the ability to go ahead and do it, and that's what separated Jack from everyone else.
He has more experience than anyone else, but there's -- he would be the first to tell you, also, the Tour is deep. There is a lot of talented players and you need to go out there and play well, get a couple of good breaks along the way, and a lot of things need to happen for a golf tournament to -- to end up the winner; a lot of things have to come into place, and it seems that much more difficult at a major.

Q. Last year you finished second, does this with the three-over and four-over crowd, does it have a feel of last year?
JIM FURYK: It does because of the scores. I haven't been involved in too many U.S. Opens where you sat at 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-over par and you're feeling good about the chances of winning the next day.
And the last two years -- it's been a different setup than we've seen in the past. And I guess it's easy for me to say that -- not enjoyed it, but I've liked it. And it's easy for me to say last year, placing second and playing well this year; but I do like the setups the last couple years.
Rarely do you see golf professionals shooting 74, 75 and coming off the golf course and no one is complaining the course is set up poorly. We've heard that in the past, and the scores aren't as high as they are this year.
So I think they've done a good job with the setups, and we're always the first to piss and moan and complain, and I've said it in the press that I thought Winged Foot was set up well, and I think they've done a good job at Oakmont. Hope it keeps up tomorrow.

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