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July 4, 2007

Jim Furyk


Q. Do you see this tournament becoming a fixture like the Memorial?
JIM FURYK: Well, obviously with Tiger and his management group and being able to come to Congressional the first couple of years, I see no reason why this event won't be a great event on our tour for many, many years to come.

Q. How important is the course?
JIM FURYK: Well, the course is always a big factor. I can't speak for rest of the field, but when I choose the venues and the sites that I want to play at, the course is the No. 1 factor for me. And I'm looking at strength of field and down the line, purse and some other things.
But you know, I've played in a few events that don't have a big purse at courses I really like and I skip some places where they do some have big purses because I'm not fond of the golf course. The golf course is the No. 1 dictator in the events I go play and obviously you're not going to skip Congressional.

Q. (About local knowledge of caddie).
JIM FURYK: It helps. He plays here. He's a member here. Unfortunately -- well, I guess fortunately I still have to hit the shots. But you can have all of the knowledge you want, but you have to execute well but it's nice having him being familiar with this course.

Q. What do you like about the course?
JIM FURYK: It's a good, old, traditional golf course. It's a very, very nice layout, and I think we're fortunate -- you know, I'm real glad that we obviously can be here for a couple of years. We played a couple of years ago, and hopefully -- it's not every year but hopefully we can get back here.

Q. Plans for the 4th?
JIM FURYK: I'm not exactly positive. I have inquired. I know it's supposed to be -- inaudible -- they have extended that to the players and their families. I'm still trying to figure out what we're doing out there, let alone tonight.

Q. How different was Oakmont this year with the renovations they made?
JIM FURYK: Didn't mind the trees, but the trees really shouldn't come into play that much at Oakmont. There weren't that many shots out there where the trees really came into play and made that big of a difference because the rough was so high. When the ball is running through a fairway, it's not like it's going to run 20 yards through it. It's going to get caught up in the rough in U.S. Open conditions. It changed the look of the golf course and probably made the grass healthier because it doesn't have to fight the trees for air, for movement of air, for sunlight, for moisture on the ground.

Q. Did you like it better with the trees?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I probably prefer the trees just because that's what I'm used to growing up on. But I think Oakmont was -- you know, I think without the trees, it looked different. I kind of liked that feeling about -- it reminded you of being at Augusta and you look out under the tree and you can see so many different part of the golf course. You can't do that at Augusta when the tournament is being played, but when you're there the week before, you can look out and see all of the holes and you had that same feeling at Oakmont where you stand there at the pro shop and all of the sudden it's amazing how many different shots and holes you can see. That kind of has a neat view to it as well.

Q. When did you get in?
JIM FURYK: I showed up really late yesterday. I was trying to avoid the early rush, and it worked. It was very peaceful when I got here last night playing the back nine.

Q. What do you remember about Carnoustie the last time?
JIM FURYK: I haven't heard anything about it and how they have set it up. I haven't heard anything about it. I remember what it was like in '99. I like the golf course.

Q. What do you remember about it?
JIM FURYK: Oh, it wasn't set up very well, but I have a lot of respect for the golf course and I like the course itself. I'm sure that -- I'm getting that it will be set up in a little different manner. But however it is, just go figure it out and try to figure out how to get around the best I can.
Still, it's a great golf course, just some very narrow fairways the year we played.

Q. How have you seen the setup of the majors change in recent the years?
JIM FURYK: They are all so different. Obviously Augusta has made a big push with the added length and rough to get more difficult to make the scores not as low. That's been -- I don't think the PGA has really changed all that much. They have their years like when we went up to New York to play Oak Hill, the rough was -- wow, it was about two feet long. That was one of the more penal years. Other years, you see a lot lower scores.
The British I don't think has really -- they are the same. They have their years where I think more weather dictates, with the exception of say a Carnoustie, with that setup.
The U.S. Open has changed styles a little bit. I think the Masters -- U.S. Open, I'm not sure they have really made it harder, although the scores are reflecting that. But it seems to me like in the past, you heard a lot more complaining after U.S. Opens from players, and the winning score was 1-under.
Now the winning score is 5-over but you don't hear the complaining as much. I was speaking to a gentleman and his theory was we are just accepting it now. And I said, "Well, I don't know why after 50 years we have just started."
I have liked the setups better. I like the graduated rough. And I like the fans moved back from the playing so that when you hit an errant drive, a ball that's one yard out of the fairway is worse off than a ball that's ten yards off the fairway doesn't make sense. I've kind of enjoyed the setups but it's easy for me to say that; I've played well in the last two events.
I think the reason that I've liked it is before even par would win and half the field would walk off the course and were all complaining. And you all were waiting for us and sometimes praying on it, like at Shinnecock, because it was -- you were all having some fun because we were letting loose. Whereas now, you hear a lot less whining, but the scores are higher. So they must be -- I hope they are happy with their setup, because it seems like the players are happier.

Q. Does it let more guys into the fray that way?
JIM FURYK: I don't think so. I don't think that's true at all. I think that you're still -- I think what we all want as players is we want the golf course to be very difficult. We want it to separate the guys that are playing well versus the guys that aren't. But we want good golf shots rewarded. We want to hit a good golf shot and have it turn out and get rewarded.
I've played in a few majors where I felt like good shots were not rewarded and it seems a little futile out there; what's the point at that point. I don't think that the U.S. Open has got -- in the last two years, even though the scores were higher. I still think the fairways are there to hit. The farther you hit it off the fairway, the typically the rough gets worse. The farther away you hit from the green, the more difficult shot you have.
I think with Cabrera, he's obviously a good player, and having Tiger in there in the mix and last year you've got Geoff Ogilvy and Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie, you're looking at pretty strong players down the stretch. I don't think we've not separated the field.

Q. Speaking of futile, you got introduced to Carnoustie -- did that give you horror flashbacks?
JIM FURYK: I just remember the fairways being very narrow and we were hitting into a lot of crosswinds. You could hit pretty good shots, hit in the fairway, take a kick and all of a sudden you would be out in the rough somewhere. It was very difficult to get the ball in play off the tee.
I really like the golf course. I wasn't extremely fond of the setup, which most players I think would agree with, and that's why you heard a lot of the complaining. But you know, I assume that that will probably change this year, but the golf course itself was very, very good, and however it's set up this year, just go out and try to figure out how to get it around as best I can.
That being said, it's a very difficult golf course but it's a good golf course.

Q. The majors this year -- weather related issues at Augusta, Oakmont people perceive as being the toughest in the U.S. and Carnoustie being the difficult test in the world, and if lightning strikes at Tulsa and we'll be off and running.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, good venues. Obviously Augusta is not going to change. It's a wonderful course.
But yeah, Oakmont, Carnoustie, Southern Hills, it doesn't get much better than that really. What I enjoy is they are all kind of shot-maker's courses. It's not going to be about length, and that makes me happy. That makes me giddy.
You get maybe Torrey and Bethpage coming up, those are more down the bomber's alleys. I'll have the hybrid. I'll carry like seven of them in my bag. I'll have my 7-iron hybrid going there.

Q. (About Winged Foot last year).
JIM FURYK: Yeah, the story at Winged Foot was -- I keep hearing about the damn story at Winged Foot because I'm part of it. Everyone kept bogeying or doubling 18 except for Geoff. Yeah, I'll leave the stories to you all. I probably don't read as many articles as you all would think and I definitely don't watch TV as much as people would think or as much as I would like for that matter.
You all write the stories and try to report what is going on out there and if the story is the golf course, that's fine and if it's the players -- I think it should be a little bit of both. Obviously great venues and great sites, and there's a lot of great golf being played around them, so it's probably a little bit of both.

Q. Did you watch the Van de Velde thing on TV?

Q. Did you watch the replay?
JIM FURYK: I saw it live; that's enough.

Q. Have you ever seen anything like that in your life, and were you talking to yourself on TV like the rest of us were when he was doing what he was doing?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, everyone was. And he's handled it so well and so gracefully, and it was probably the best 71 holes in his career and the one worst most in his career all wrapped up in one. So he's had to live through it and he's handled it nothing but like a champion. Yeah, it would be -- I wouldn't be as graceful in handling that, I'll promise you that, and I applaud him for that.

Q. (More about Van de Velde).
JIM FURYK: I don't know. The second shot was so hard, because he was coming from such a severe right angle, and you have to realize, if you miss the 18th green to the left, if you fly the ball that far left of the green, there's a good chance you're going to go out-of-bounds. So coming from a severe right angle, he could even probably land the ball on the green, like on the front left and had it possibly go out-of-bounds.
So it was a very difficult shot. And I don't know, you'd have to ask him what he was thinking. I wouldn't want to hit the shot, I know that.

Q. Is there something that happens to you that makes you make choices or decisions -- for an easier way to play?
JIM FURYK: I've only been in a situation once in my career where I had a three- or four-shot lead standing on the last hole. And it was when I won at Olympia, and I hit 3-iron, 7-iron into 18. So I just wanted to make sure that I took every bit of trouble out of play and my 4-wood was going to get to the bunker.
So I asked my caddie what would keep us short and it was 3-iron. We hit about a 250-yard 3-iron down the fairway because it was rolling so much and I hit a 7-iron from about 190 and almost knocked it over because I was so jacked up.
I don't know. I was trying to make my 4 or 5 and get the hell out of there so I could drink a beer out of the trophy I guess. I think I was 4-up at that time.
I 3-putted. I didn't care, either.

Q. (About playing 17 at Oakmont on the final day of the U.S. Open).
JIM FURYK: The ball goes farther because of the dryness. I was hitting the ball far at Oakmont and I was a little surprised at the distance I hit it in.
But the 3-iron and the 7-iron weren't flown that far. They were -- it's because of such firm conditions. I hit the 3-iron still 210 in the air and it ran forever. I hit it where I was hitting driver on the practice rounds because of the difference in the course setup.
Yeah, was you get jacked up, you can tend to hit the ball a little bit farther, but I think we're all aware of and we've been in those situations before.
I think what got me at the U.S. Open, too, when I went back and looked at the tape, is I was told the ball flew back where it was. It did not. It took a huge, huge hop. It must have went ten yards on the first hop, which you wouldn't expect in that heavy rough, and that's how the ball got down there so far. I would have expected that rough to kind of swallow it up a little quicker than that, but it didn't. That's the way it goes.

Q. Going into 17, was there a leaderboard?
JIM FURYK: Well, there was one on 16 green. My caddie saw it after we hit our shot. There is no boards really ever on the tee boxes; they are always on the greens. So I putted on 16 and he still had the putt on 17. I was on the tee and I saw he had missed a putt because I heard the reaction but I had no idea if it was for 3 or 4.
It was a moot point. It didn't matter. Whether I'm one back or even, I was hitting the same shot. It was the right shot to play in my opinion.

Q. Does this week still have the feel of a U.S. Open or just a big, big tournament?
JIM FURYK: From what perspective?

Q. The quality of the field, the quality of the golf course, obviously it's going to be a little different because the USGA is not setting it up.
JIM FURYK: It does have some very penal rough out there. The fairways might be a touch wider than they were in the U.S. Open. The rough is difficult. The greens don't have the firmness -- you know what, the greens weren't that quick here when I played the Open. I think they were trying not to kill us last time we were here but they were firm. They are not firm and quick yet, but that can change really, really quickly if they want to.
I think the whole fact of having Tiger being the host has raised the whole level of this event, and the feel of it, and just the feel from the fans and the media. It definitely has a big feel to it.

Q. When is the last time you played Avenal?
JIM FURYK: I'd have to check the books. Sometime in 2000 something or other. It's been a while. It has not been in the last few years. So probably right around the turn of the century, like 2001, something like that.
It's a different style of golf course and it's meant to be a different style.

Q. Talk about 6, and what's your favorite hole?
JIM FURYK: It's a converted par 5. I think the hardest holes are 6, 10, 11, and possibly 18, but those 6, 10 and 11 are the three hardest holes.
My favorite hole -- 12, used to be 11. 12, it's just a pretty hole. So it's probably my favorite hole.

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