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July 29, 2007

Jim Furyk


NELSON SILVERIO: We welcome Jim Furyk, 2007 Canadian Open Champion. Congratulations, first of all. It's your 13th career PGA TOUR victory and you've also moved to third in the FedExCup standings. Just general thoughts on your round today.
JIM FURYK: Well, it was a dream start really, to get out -- to start the day at three back, I have a lot of respect for Vijay and his game, and I expected him to fire a pretty good number today. So to get off to a good jump I thought was key. And I really had not played holes 1 through 3 all that well. I was always either even par or over par through those holes all week. And I'm knocked in a long birdie putt at 1 from about 30 feet.
Tried to punch one in there on two and just missed the green and pitched it up to a foot and was able to birdie three from about 15 feet. So I kind of got off to the good start I wanted.
You know, tough pin on 4 and to be able to fly a 5-iron back there on the fringe, have it release out, go in the hole, is obviously a special bonus.
So 4-under through four, I took the lead at that point in the tournament, and you know, you just dream of a start like that, basically, to have that happen and to put yourself in good position in the tournament. I was basically starting even with the leaders at that point.
So I wanted to kind of keep the pedal down. I wasn't able to birdie any more holes on the front side. I made five pars. But to go out and start the back nine solid with birdie, birdie, birdie, get out in front a little bit. And I tried to keep it down. I tried to keep making some birdies and playing hard.
And you know, obviously 18 was a little bit of a slip-up, and playing maybe a touch conservative away from the pin. I thought I hit actually a pretty good little second putt, but I thought it was going in and it leaked out on me. I'm glad it didn't cost me, and I would have loved to have closed the door there knowing I was going to win the tournament.
One of those times, it didn't hurt, it didn't cost me one, and it feels good to get a victory. 13th one was a lucky one for me.

Q. Can you ever in your wildest imagination imagine taking seven strokes to play one hole for an entire week?
JIM FURYK: I thought about it on the walk to the green. I was talking to Pat Perez, I said, you know, trying to go back through the rounds, "I think I birdied this hole the first three days." I looked at Pat, "Three 2s and a 1." He just shook his head.
Pretty special to play the hole 5-under on the week, but usually you do that on a par 5 and rarely or never see that on a par 3. A pretty darned good hole, too. It's not like a wedge or 9-iron shot. I was hitting a lot of 5- and 6-irons and maybe a touch more at times.

Q. What were you thinking while Vijay was getting ready for that putt on the 18th there; can you say?
JIM FURYK: Well, I was hoping that -- what I was really trying to prepare myself, after I missed the putt, I was walking off the green, I told my caddie, "Let's just prepare for a playoff. Let's be ready to go."
Obviously I didn't want to go out and play anymore. I wanted to win it out right. I was standing on the stairs and couldn't see his shot from the air, and knew where it landed behind the pin; and I knew he had a pretty tough putt because the hole was sitting on the front side of a crown and he had to go over the crown and down to the hole. It was not a putt that was going to funnel towards the hole or feed into it.
You know, I was just hoping that my 3-putt and my bogey on the last wasn't going to cost me. I really played my heart out today, and had it to 8-under through 15.
So, you know, coming down the stretch, I went out there with a pretty aggressive mind frame and you kind of flip; you get out ahead two or three, and you try not to -- my goal was to keep making birdies. When I got to the back nine -- my goal was actually to go out on the back nine and shoot 4-under and I made three and bogeyed 18. I felt like I was a shot or two off at the turn. I felt like if I go shoot 4-under on the back, no one will catch me and I'll run away from them a little bit. That was the goal, but everyone else made a bunch of birdies on the back side, too; a lot of places where you have short iron in your hand.

Q. Were you surprised -- you saw where Vijay's shot landed on the 18th green, were you surprised that did not spin back toward the hole?
JIM FURYK: Probably not from the distance, that it would spin back that much. My guess is he probably had an 8-iron-plus in there. The greens, if there was a breeze, it probably would have -- going back into him, which you think would help, but it just was not blowing that much today to probably put that much spin on it.
The greens, I wouldn't say they were firm, but they were at their firmest today of all week.

Q. You seemed to back off on a lot of putts today; were you having trouble reading the greens?
JIM FURYK: Last night -- I putted awful yesterday, I I'll be honest with you. I hit the ball beautiful yesterday, hit it as well as I did today, and putted bad. I never got many putts started on line. I knew as soon as I hit them they were not on line, and I spent a couple of hours on the putting green last night trying to figure out what was going on.
I think that I was aiming left. My feet and my shoulders, even my clubface at times were aiming left. I had a sensation yesterday that I was pulling quite a few putts, and I had that a little bit at the British Open. Last night on my putting green with my caddie, I thought it was in my aim and address and setup and alignment. The hard part today was trusting. The reason I was backing off was I wanted to keep finding a spot on the green to aim over and keep trusting that that was the right spot, because when I step up over it, I felt a touch close even though I was square. So backing off of it was just really to keep assuring myself that I was aimed properly.
And we were waiting a lot -- Pat's really quick, and probably driving him a little bit nuts because we waited a lot on the back side. You know, it wasn't like we were in any situation where -- like we were in a situation where we had to worry about getting behind or anything like that.

Q. So it was more you that you were concerned about than the greens themselves?
JIM FURYK: The greens out here have a lot of movement. The hardest thing for me, when the putt was right-to-left or pretty straight, I didn't have much issue aiming right. You feel comfortable.
When I had the left-to-righters, and I felt like I was aiming right, I felt like I was going to miss everything low. And coming in, I had a lot of left-to-right putts. I had a little one at 15 that was left-to-right. My par putt at 16 was left-to-right.
I had a big left-to-righter on 17 and I hit an awful put and kind of lagged it down there.
Then 18, slow putt left-to-right. That was kind of my nemesis for today was getting those left-to-right putts and then down the stretch, that's all I had. That's kind of the extra care I was taking.

Q. You said coming into the week that if you had not been defending champion, you might have thought twice about coming back. You obviously haven't learned your lesson; will you be back next year?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I'll be here. Wasn't the first question this year, but still got asked. (Laughter).
I never said that I wouldn't be. I said it would have been a difficult spot on the schedule. I think a lot of times where this event falls on the schedule, it would be, again, how my body was feeling; if we're going to Royal Montreal or Hamilton or one of those classic courses, it would be -- that its reputation precedes itself that you know is going to be fantastic -- (looking at son, T.J.) aahh, that was me about 30 years ago, that's the problem. If it's one of those courses, I would do all I could to be there unless for some reason I felt horrible and my body wasn't feeling good.
I really feel like you should always come back and defend your championship. And I had a lot of people thank me for coming back this week, which to me is kind of like, I appreciate it, but I feel like it's thanking me for something that you should do, if that makes sense.
So I will come back and I look forward to -- I haven't been to Glen Abbey in quite a few years, so I look forward to going back.

Q. I know you didn't play with Vijay today, but can you recall many times in the past where you and him have battled down the stretch during a golf tournament at all?
JIM FURYK: I'm sure we have, yes.

Q. In Charlotte?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, actually in Charlotte, it was Vijay and myself and Sergio in a playoff. Vijay won that playoff.
I want to say at Kapalua one year we might have been battling it out down the stretch. Charlotte's the one that probably sticks out in my mind. I tried to forget about that one since I lost.

Q. Secondly, how long did it take you to feel comfortable on this golf course? Because as you said, you seem to always play well on those additional courses like Hamilton; did it take you a few round to really get comfortable?
JIM FURYK: A couple rounds. The wind switched around a lot. Yesterday, Saturdays's wind was opposite of what we played Thursday and Friday. By that time, I had four rounds around where I kind of knew where to hit it, where not to.
I made sure I came out on Tuesday late and I played all 18 holes, got a good idea for where I wanted to put the ball and then I used the Pro-Am as kind of my check reference. You're going to make a few mistakes, and I honestly felt like I knew where to hit it and how to play the golf course through two rounds.
It's not -- a lot of it is trying to learn the slopes on the greens. I spent a lot of time on Tuesday night kind of mapping out, charting the greens a little bit and trying to figure out where possible pin placements might be, and it's relatively straightforward off the tee. You should figure out where to go, but the greens have a lot of movement and they had some interesting pins this week. There are not a lot of flat spots on these greens. There's a couple of greens where you can't really find four pins. So there was some interesting pins on sides of slopes.

Q. First one is, the computer, sometimes I don't trust it, but I think it said that 3-putt you had was the first one of the tournament; would that be correct?
JIM FURYK: I think it might have been, yeah. Only one I can remember, put it that way.

Q. The other one is, three deuces and an ace, they are going to name this hole after you or do something. Obviously you've never had a hole like that, par 3, but what hole before this is the one that you always said, "I kill this one; I own this one."
JIM FURYK: I think as soon as you start saying you own it, it's probably going to jump up and bite you. Probably never say that. There's no hole that I look forward to every year, but I think you get on a roll in certain tournaments.
Like one year at the Memorial, I birdied No. 10 at the Memorial all four days. I didn't even play all that great in the tournament. And that was back in '95 when that was a pretty long hole at the time. It's not a hole you think you birdie all four times. It's not like I looked forward to playing it every year but that year after you birdied the first two or three days, you step up on the tee and feel good about it. You have some good vibes in that hole. That's kind of how I felt -- I got off to a slow start on Thursday and knocked a 6-iron in there and knocked a 15-footer and got back to even par.
Friday, I made a bomb. The pin was top left and I was back right, had a 35-, 40-footer over the hill and I knock that one in, just one I'm trying to get close.
And yesterday I was 1-over through three, and I knocked it in there about 15, 18 feet, knocked it in after missing a bunch of birdie putts and able to get back to even par. I had good feelings on the hole all week. Had a pretty good club in my hand and trying to slide one back there into that bottom hole and have the ball feed towards the hole and get a birdie putt, happened to go in.

Q. Did you see the ball go?
JIM FURYK: No, I could see the reaction of the people. When the ball hit it, looked like it was online in a good spot and you could see kind of them growing enthusiasm, and then everyone arms up in the air and cheering. Couldn't see it go in, but we understood directly from the reaction what had happened.

Q. You probably don't realize it, but Vijay played that hole in 15 strokes. So that was an eight-stroke swing between the two of you on that hole. He was bogey, bogey, bogey, par.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, that is a huge turnaround for one hole. 15 to 7, yes.
There's a couple holes I didn't play very well. 2 bit me all week, but I ended up making two bogeys and two pars. I drove it perfect on 10 four days in a row and only made two birdies, which is a short par 5. There's a few holes that I probably didn't do as well as I could have. But yeah, that's a huge turnaround for one hole.

Q. Getting back to the commitment you made to this tournament last year, you seem to have taken it above and beyond in some respects with talking to sponsors and being kind of an ambassador for the tournament in a way. Does that -- do you feel a special commitment to this tournament and it's future?
JIM FURYK: In some ways, yes. I was talking about this on the 18th green. I think are a lot of it was playing with Garry West and Jim Kinnear (CEO Pengrowth) on Wednesday and Jim Basillie. Their enthusiasm, meeting those people, having Jim and Garry, obviously the president of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, golf is a big part of his life and to be the president of this organization was a big part.
So I know in my heart that every event is working their hardest and trying their best to become the biggest and the best event they can be. But meeting the people and playing a round of golf with them and hearing their sincerity, you get that special -- that personal vibe, and you get to talk to the people that are directly related to it and how important it is to them; then I think it means more to you, if that makes sense.
So I didn't really do anything all that special. They asked -- Bill Paul asked me if I would go sit in in a lunch-in and spend a little bit of time, and I ended up sitting there for a couple of hours listening to what everyone had to say. It wasn't really anything special that I did. You know, we had quite a few players there and we gave our opinions on what we thought, and a lot of the businessmen in there also did the same. It was interesting to see kind of a different side of a tournament.
Really, I think I got involved and I stayed as long as I did because of Garry and Jim Kinnear and Jim Basillie, because they were really interested and it was from the heart from them. I met them and thought a lot of them, and so that makes it special. You just have that personal involvement.

Q. Being the defending champion and just being here, did you sense out there today and this week that you did have an affinity with the crowd and the people and you feel that sort of growing when you come up here now?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I really did. Like I said, I had hundreds of people cheering the repeat; I had hundreds of people thanking me for coming, which again, I don't really think was necessary but I appreciate it.
And yeah, I really -- in places that I've won in the past, I really have felt a good connection with some of the fans, and that's happened for me in South Africa. A lot of the Americans don't go over and play Nedbank, and I feel like I'm adopted over there for that event. I had that feeling this week with the Canadian fans. It's a big sport in this country, and there's so many wonderful golf courses in this country; it's understandable why. Yeah, I really felt a lot of support out there, which is always fun.

Q. Trying to think if I can ask you this question and not put you off, so bear with me. I think a lot of people, the level of golf you've been at for so long would be surprised to hear you've only won 13 times and I don't mean that with disrespect; but have you felt yourself that you should be winning more given out often you are in the Top-10, over the last few years especially?
JIM FURYK: Well, I'm sure Tiger feels like he should have won more, even though he's won 50 or 60; and Vijay has won probably 40 events; and Phil has won in the 30s; I'm sure they all feel like they should have won more events. And I definitely feel like I've let my share slip through my fingers. And I don't think I would be the player that I am if I didn't feel that way.
You don't want to slight the other person that beat you, because they obviously got it done and you didn't, but yes, I probably feel like I should have won more events. But it definitely makes it -- and this last year, I've had a lot of close calls and a lot of ones that stung and a lot of ones that hurt. But it makes getting over the hump and winning a tournament like today that much more special, if it makes sense.
The goal for all of us is to win golf tournaments. I didn't work all my life to finish in the Top-10 all the time, and didn't dream of -- I didn't dream of having 14 Top-10 finishes and making a lot of money when I was a kid. I dreamed of winning titles and holding a trophy.
I still feel like I've got quite a few good years ahead of me. So I'm hoping I can pick up that rate for a few years here. It was nice in 2003 and 2006 to get multiple wins in a year, and this is the first this year but hopefully many more to come -- I guess I don't talk this much because I've got something going on here right now (coughing).
Yeah, I'll proud of the fact -- I think in some respects, if you compare it to Tiger or Vijay or Phil, 13 doesn't sound like a lot but there's a hell of a lot of guys out there, 13 sounds like a lot to. For me, it is what it is. That's the number I'm on and I can't blame anyone else for it being bigger or smaller but me.
NELSON SILVERIO: On that note, Jim, thanks again and congratulations.

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