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July 25, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to thank Jim Furyk for coming in. Okay, you come in the midst of a great year, 7 Top 10s so far second in the US Open, and Top 12 in the British Open. A couple of opening comments about the game?
JIM FURYK: My game seems to be in pretty good shape. The last couple of months have been successful. I've had some opportunities to win events, but it's been a pretty solid year. Obviously, I haven't won an event yet, and the Golf Channel was real nice to remind me of that, it's been a year since that. I reminded them it was only ten months.
But other than that, I'm happy with the way the year's gone. I had a little bit of a dry spell through March, you know, April, beginning of May. But I played real well at Colonial, one of my favorite events and kind of jump started the summer. So it was nice to kind of get back in the flow of things, and it's nice to be back here in Canada where I won last year. And I always have good feelings being the defending champ.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, we'll open it up for a few questions.
Q. You mentioned Colonial, I know you liked Hamilton a lot. Compared to this golf course, do you think there's a lot more players that have a chance to win this week than on a course like a Hamilton or Colonial?
JIM FURYK: I don't know if it changes the amount of players. But they have a lot of talent, lot of depth on tour, And a lot of players can step up and win any week. So I don't think -- it's a different style of course, it's a much more vast. The fairways are wider. It's a totally different style of golf course.
But a lot of that is, you know, this one's relatively new. I'm imagining it was built in the early 90's, it was built on farmland. There wasn't a whole lot of trees in the area, so the obstacles, the penalty is going to be much different.
You know, a course like Hamilton was probably built a hundred years ago, I venture, or close to that. And trees have grown up and it's had a lot of time to mature, so it's just different styles. But I don't know if it necessarily brings more people into the mix.
Q. This course did garner itself a bit of a bad reputation for now. What's your take on that? Is it well earned?
JIM FURYK: What do you mean?
Q. I mean, like last year Bill Paul couldn't get anyone to come up and look at it. And after '02, a lot of players complained the fairways are too wide.
JIM FURYK: We're playing a different course than we were in '02 as well. I heard some of the same things from the players in '02. But, you know what, it's fine. I wouldn't -- I'm a big fan of traditional older golf courses. But this is, you know, if I had to pick between here and Hamilton, I would have wanted Hamilton, and I love that golf course. But I don't think this is a bad golf course in any means. I think it's fine.
I think it's just a totally different style. I think different types of players will like this one compared to Hamilton, if that makes sense. But I don't think it should have a bad reputation, if that answers your question directly.
Q. Which type of player do you think will favor this one?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think you can be a little bit more -- you don't have to hit the ball nearly as straight as you did at Hamilton, and there's not as much of a -- the rough outside the fairways and the rough around the greens is quite thick and quite penal. But the landing areas are quite wide, so you can tend to be a guy that rears back and lets one fly here and probably do quite well.
Q. President's Cup coming up and, with that, comes each captain making their captain's picks. Number one, could you talk a little bit about how you never seem to win that one with whoever you select?
JIM FURYK: Oh.
Q. There's always controversy around that. And number two, I wonder if you would talk about would you want to be in Gary Player's shoes with Mike Weir as a possibility to go on to the International Team and being from the host country?
JIM FURYK: Where does Mike stand in?
Q. Right now he's 17th.
JIM FURYK: Okay. The captain is a -- the person that gets named the captain of the Ryder Cup team and President's Cup team, you know, it's an honor. Obviously for a Jack Nicklaus or a Gary Player, those men. Obviously it's different than the Curtis Strange, the Hal Suttons, the guys moving up. They're both in there third time around. But obviously, they enjoy it and they appreciate the fact or they wouldn't keep accepting the job again. But it is a little bit of a no-win situation for those guys.
Being a Gary or a Jack, it definitely has its advantages because they won't get criticized quite as much as a Ryder Cup captains do for their choices, probably because they've earned it, if that makes sense, over the years. But yeah, it's difficult.
They also have a little bit more fun if they get to pair up matches against each other. Where they put two sheets together in the Ryder Cup, so, it's a little bit of a no-win situation no matter how you choose. They'd probably love to have four picks rather than two. But even if you had four, you're leaving the fifth guy out, if you have two, you're leaving the third guy out.
As far as having Mike, I think that his strong finish at the British Open definitely would help his chances. You know, in the past Gary hasn't always taken 11 and 12, he's gone down the list to take the South Africans when we were playing over there. And I would think Mike is a serious choice.
I would see him as -- I'm trying to -- I would see him as a very serious choice, put it that way. I'm not going to -- I shouldn't say I'm not a betting man because I play the golf for a living. But I would think that there's a good chance that he might get chosen. How's that?
Q. Do you want to make that call?
JIM FURYK: What's that?
Q. Do you want to make that call?
JIM FURYK: I think Mike's game favors that. He's got a real good game for a golf course like that. It's not a bomber's paradise. It's for a guy that can work his way around the golf course. The two of us have similar games.
Would I want to make that call? Sure, I want one of those jobs one day, that would be great. You all can rip me when I make the wrong choice.
Q. Tournament organizers here seem to have gone above and beyond to try to make life as easy as possible for you guys to get over from the British, and yet still a lot of names had to drop out. Is that what they're going to have to deal with, or is there anything else that organizers can do to land more?
JIM FURYK: That's actually what I've been doing for the last two hours. So I'm supposed to be here at 1:00 o'clock for the Pro-Am, and they had a bunch of gentlemen and ladies in a room in the clubhouse talking about how the Canadian Open is going to be better and better and asked a few players to attend. I thought I was going to be there for 15 or 30 minutes and I was there for two hours talking about this same question.
To answer the question about the charter, obviously, it made life easy for those of us who took that option. I was able to get here at 12:30 on Monday morning or Sunday night, and get a good night's sleep, and basically save a day. I was productive on Monday. I got to get some work done. Came out here and practiced for a couple of hours to kind of get the -- just get loose, basically, and try to get the stiffness out from the flight. I was able to be productive.
So Tuesday was a very productive day where, usually, I would have just been getting here Monday, and been scrambling on Tuesday. So it made it a little bit more, and get over the jet lag. So as a player, I appreciate the fact that they went out of the way to do that for us. It was a very smart move on their part. Probably got a few extra guys. Played a few extra guys who may not have previously because of the travel demands.
As far as this event growing and becoming bigger. You know, the schedule has been asked a lot of me, and I was talking at the press conference a couple of weeks ago. And the way I look at it, the eight biggest tournaments on tour are the four majors, the Players Championship, and three of the biggest eight events in the world are lumped right around this event. The U.S. and the British to here, to the World Golf Championship to the PGA. The two majors are the World Golf Championship. So it puts us in a difficult spot.
But, you know, there's a lot of recipes for success on the PGA Tour, and as a player, I kind of -- we have three players in the room, and, actually about five players in the room, but Olin Browne, and Billy Andrade, Richard Zokol was up there, and a young guy from Canada was there that got a sponsor exemption.
But Billy and I kind of talked about, in our eyes what makes a good tournament. Why do I choose certain events. Why do I want to go to certain events, and what topped all three of our lists was golf courses. You always go back to the great golf courses.
You know, Riviera has no trouble getting good fields. Colonial usually a good field. Pebble Beach usually has a hard time getting a good field. Players want to go to a wonderful, good golf course. Westchester's the same way. Cog Hill in Chicago. US Opens aren't played at bad golf courses. Major championships aren't played at bad golf courses. There may be a few in there that I won't mention, but most of the time, major championships are played at wonderful, great, old golf courses.
So I think rotating this event around the country, checking out places like Shaughnessy and Hamilton and Royal Montreal, and putting up a great event.
The other things that I pick on for things that I like the reason I go, I want to play against the best field, and I want to play for bigger purses, that makes sense. But I play in some small purse events because I love the golf course, and I skip some big purse events because I don't like the golf course. Pretty easy to look on the schedule every year which ones those are.
So golf course is number one. And you know what, if you get a great golf course, and you put up a pretty big purse, no secret, you usually get a good field. And Wachovia would be a perfect example of that. We talked about some of those issues and things from a player's standpoint.
You know, I don't think this event -- this event 20 years ago or 30 years ago probably had a feeling about it as it was the fifth major. The Lee Trevinos and the Jack Nicklaus and the Tom Watsons, maybe it doesn't have that feeling right now, but it doesn't mean that it can't. It seems to me like the RCGA has been on a good track right now to maybe garner some of that respect back and get back where they want to be.
Q. In reality, given the schedule and everything else this year, do you think you would have fit in this event if you weren't the defending champion?
JIM FURYK: Not sure. I'm not sure. I would have defended. You know, not knowing anything about the golf course. Had it been at Hamilton, yes? Had it been at a place Royal Montreal, I would have gone and tried to make my best effort to get there, because I respect the golf course. Not knowing anything about this golf course and not knowing anyone that's played it before since the tournament, would have been pretty difficult to make that assessment.
So probably would have had a lot to do with how my year was going, how well I had been playing. How my body felt, and how healthy I was, how tight I was. But I don't, you know, probably could have -- to be honest with you, it probably could have went either way at that point.
I wouldn't say, yes, I would definitely be here. I won't say no, I definitely wouldn't be here. It would have probably been a call on how I felt.
JIM FURYK: Absolutely, yeah, I said last year after I finished. The first question when I got in the media room was "Are you coming back next year?" And I was like why wouldn't you if you're the defending champ? And they said this is where it sits in the schedule, And I kind of chuckle today. Yeah, you're in a tough slot, but definitely coming back. It's never a question.
Q. Have you played four events in a row very often?
JIM FURYK: Sure. Sure, I do it once or twice every year. So this will be -- I've never done it -- I can't remember the last time I played four on one off and then another four right behind it. That would feel a lot better, maybe, with three or four on, four on, two off, and maybe three or four on, something like that. But putting the one in the middle the eight out of nine weeks. And you know, hopefully it's eight out of nine weeks because that would put me in the Tour Championship at the end of the year, and I guess the point system can be pretty volatile. So hopefully that's the case.
But, yeah. I do it a couple of times once or twice every year of my career, I played three or four in a row. I don't mind playing three or four in a row, but I'd like to take a break, like a two-week break.
Q. Two questions for you. I just read that you started putting soft-handed at the age of 7, and do you still use that grip and how did you get your start in golf?
JIM FURYK: I can answer both questions with the same answer. My dad was a golf professional, a club professional when I was a kid. So I got my start through him because he was involved in the game and interested. And he was at a Pro-Am when I was real young, and before I really played any golf. And got the chance to talk to Gary Player and Arnold Palmer on the same day and asked them if they could do anything different in their careers what would they do? And they both said they would start putting soft-handed. It was difficult to switch in the middle of their career, but they felt it was a better way to putt. So my dad started me that way.
But it was also kind of like the growing fad, like the belly putter or something is right now. But I still missed my fair share, but it was better.
Q. You talked about the Canadian Open being in the midst of three big ones. Is it possible for you to try harder some weeks than other weeks? Or are you one of those guys that just about every time you go approach things the same way and try to do the professional thing all the time? I noticed yesterday when you were doing your own book, and doing yardage?
JIM FURYK: If you're going to show up, you might as well try hard. There are weeks that you obviously feel better about your game or you feel more healthy than others. But I would have to expect that '99% of the guys that show up are giving 100% every week. If I wasn't going to give 100%, there would be no reason to come. I might as well stay home.
Q. But it does take more of a toll on you, does it not, if you're still grinding away and trying to win on the weekend, and then playing again and playing again?
JIM FURYK: Yeah. The better you play, the hardier it is to play more events. You know, if you're Tiger Woods and everyone's pulling and tugging at you 100% of your day and you're in contention, and over 75% of the events you play, it takes more of a toll on your body and on your mind, especially than missing the cut and having a weekend off and going to the next week. The better you play, the harder it is on you, if that makes sense.
So usually the guys outside of Vijay, usually the guys that, you know, there's a lot of guys that play well year in and year out, and they probably don't play more than like 22, 23, 24 events. Vijay plays in the high 20's, I play about 25 to 26 events a year, which is quite a bit. But you don't see a lot of -- Tiger Woods couldn't play 30 events. Just, he would want to shoot himself by about the 25th one, if that makes sense.
Just more is drawn upon his time, and it takes a lot more out of you being in the hunt. That's when you get tired and worn out. And when you're going to go four events on, one event and four events on, there is a matter of pacing yourself. Making sure you get enough rest, making sure, you know, being in the heat, being in tournaments keeps you sharp.
I think you need to kind of pace yourself along the way. Doesn't mean you're trying any less. But if I took three weeks off and then came out to this event, you would see me hitting more balls, being on the putting green more off, short game. You'd see me out more than maybe you would have this week. But I've played last week, and I'm playing the next two. My game should be relatively sharp from last week.
So I think you maybe approach your practice a little bit different or the way you approach the events. But right now it's 8 out of 9. I'm more worried about pacing myself and making sure that I'm sharp for all four of those events. That I'm not running out of steam. There is a major championship at the end of the four. Once these four are over, I've got a week off to recharge. But I've got to go four events in a row again. Kind of the new playoffs, and a lot of attention, a lot of pressure on those events.
So usually I've never had an issue with not practicing hard enough. Usually my issue is I grind myself down to whereby the time Saturday and Sunday come around, I'm worn out. If that makes sense. I have a tendency to overpractice.
Q. How are you going to approach those? Do you approach it the same way you would a normal tournament? Or do you look at it long range like over the four tournaments? Or do you know? Is it so new to you?
JIM FURYK: I think it's so new. I think right now you approach the regular season, the events that we've played for the first say seven and a half months. I think you approach those, quit looking at the points, quit worrying about where you stand, just go out there and play well. Take care of your business and try to get your game in shape and play well. If you play well enough, the points will be fine. Then they're going to reseed all of us and squish us all together and it will be kind of a shootout.
There's been a lot of criticism, I've read, of the FedEx Cup right now and the playoff system. I don't think we're going to see the rewards or the fun of it all until that month comes. Then it will be quite interesting and fun. It will be different. You could have a guy dominate the entire year and end up finishing 8th, which I kind of think stinks. But it's a new way. It's just a new way. I guess if I started in tenth and ended up winning, I would think it's pretty cool. It will just be unique.
But I think it's going to be a lot of fun for the players, but more importantly, I think it's going to be a lot of fun for you all, and a lot of fun for the fans. It's just going to be a whole new idea. But when the PGA ended from the last 40 years, everyone forgot about golf. Now we're going to have a month where people are going to be thinking about golf. It's going to be good for our sport and good for the game. It's going to be different. I think we all have to get used to it.
I'm going to approach those events the same way I usually would. The goal is to go out there and play well, to go out there and earn points. The only way can you do that is by trying to finish as high as you can every tournament, and that's what we do every other week. So I would treat it like I would any other week.
Q. (Inaudible) the players are going to end it after the FedEx Cup playoffs after the Tour Championship. Stephen Ames was talking yesterday about how he plans to actually play some of the Fall events just to keep the momentum going, keep his game in shape. I was just wondering if you or if you've heard of any other players who are planning to do that?
JIM FURYK: I would think they are. I would think they are. There's still six events. I think guys are going to play. You know, as far as -- but it's hard for me to answer what everyone else is going to do. I haven't really talked -- I don't really talk -- when we talk schedule it's like, Hey, what have you got coming up in the next few weeks? We don't say, What have you got coming up in September? Most of us scratch our head and try to figure out our schedule at that point.
So I plan months and months ahead, but I never talk to anyone that way or try to figure out what they're going to do. Do I think if the tour ends in mid-September, very few guys are going to shut it down in mid-September say, because September is the President's Cup, and say, that's it. I'm not going to play October, November, December, I'm going to show up January 1. You would be too rusty. So my goal is to probably play a few events through those months just to make sure that I'm very well rested because then I'll be worn out end of December.
But also, you want to keep some, I don't know if momentum's the word. You have to remember which end is the club head, which end is the grip, and knock the rust off every once in a while so January 1 isn't quite as hard.
Q. Did you say whether or not you sold anybody in that room at lunchtime today, and what impact you might have had on them?
JIM FURYK: I don't think anyone's job was to sell. Just giving ideas and opinions. You know, I don't think anyone's job there was to sell. It was just to discuss the tournament and come up with, for us as players, you know, you put three golf professionals in a room, and, oh, the three dumb guys in a room with smart people. So my idea was just to get my perspective and what I think about golf.
That communication doesn't happen very often from tournaments to sponsors to even the tour at times, to know what exactly we're thinking and what we're feeling and how the players feel about things. That's, again, only one part of the puzzle. But the communication is good. Put everyone in the room to talk about the issues and probably understand each other a little bit better, only good can come of it, is what I would say.
THE MODERATOR: Jim, good luck. We thank you for your time.
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