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December 14, 2007

Jim Furyk


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room, Jim with a bogey free 5-under par 67. That included birdies at 17 and 18. Jim is at 9-under par currently through 36 holes. Talk about your day if you would, please, and then we'll get some questions.
JIM FURYK: You know, I guess I'm pleased with the round. I shot 5-under par. Tiger played a heck of a round out there at 10-under. I went in there with the lead today and shot a good number, and I'm pretty far back. So my hats off to him. Hell of a host (laughter).
You know, I think the golf course was playing a little bit easier today because of conditions. It was a little warmer. It was a lot less breeze than there was yesterday, and I think the scores were quite a bit lower today, and that was the reason.
I felt like actually I played better yesterday to be honest with you. I hit the ball better, I had a lot more confidence in my swing yesterday. But on the back nine today I was really able to basically hit the ball in the hole. I didn't do that extremely well early on. I missed a bunch of birdie putts early the first part of the round, and I made some loose swings for about the last 10 or 12 holes and was able to just kind of plot along and score well and get the ball in the hole, and I'm happy with that this time of the year.

Q. How do you know when you're playing well? Is it just getting started by just getting it on the fairway and things go on from there?
JIM FURYK: Well, I just think when you're playing well you have a confidence about yourself. You feel like you're not looking at the trouble, you're looking at the middle of the fairway, you're not looking at bunkers or hazards around the greens, you're looking at exactly where you want to hit it and you have all the confidence in the world that you're going to hit it there. You feel like you're going to knock putts in. If you miss the fairway or you miss the green or you miss that putt, when you're playing well it doesn't phase you because you know you're going to hit the next one if that makes sense. If you're not playing well you lose a lot of confidence and you know in your heart something is wrong so you try and figure it out.
I had some good swings today and played really well in some areas, and there was other times where I wasn't feeling that comfortable with my swing, and I was able to get the ball around in those situations. That's what you've got to do.

Q. Is it demoralizing to shoot 67 and lose five shots, or have you gotten used to that with some of the things that Tiger does?
JIM FURYK: Demoralizing is like -- no, it's kind of the -- part of an event. I think the conditions, like I said, were pretty ripe today. There was a lot of 67s. A good round usually is -- when you play really well it's when you separate yourself from the field. I've always said that in the media room. Today he shot I think five shots lower than anyone else in the field. That's a good round.
I would consider that a great round. He shot 62 and there's four 63s and 64s around it then it's a good round, don't get me wrong. But when you're able to separate yourself from the field, it's a fantastic round. I don't really -- when you say demoralizing, that's an overstatement, but it's got no effect. Whether it's Tiger or anyone else, there's nothing I can do about it. He played a heck of a round and my hats off to him, and we all need to figure out how to try to put some pressure on him and catch up the rest of the week and do the best we can.

Q. At this time of year are you trying to just get around and make a number, or are you trying to find the swing and get preparation ready for January? Which is more important at this point?
JIM FURYK: I think they kind of go hand in hand, really. I wouldn't separate the two to be honest with you. I would feel like of course I'm trying to -- I think both. I want to go out there, I want to -- it's been a long time off. I want to go out there and play some rounds, really start feeling -- like I said, I want to feel better about my game and my swing every day and try to improve, but on the other hand, I want to score, I want to get myself in contention, and test my game under the heat if I can, and they kind of go hand in hand. I would like to accomplish both, and obviously if I could play well enough to compete in this tournament, I would accomplish the first part. I'd feel pretty good about my game.

Q. Trying to make up shots against Tiger is always hard. Do you think it's easier playing with him tomorrow, or would you rather not be paired with him?
JIM FURYK: I don't think anyone would say they didn't want to be paired with him. Even if they didn't, they wouldn't say it (laughter).
Yeah, it really doesn't matter to be honest. Playing in front of him might be a touch more difficult at times because you have more distractions. You have a gallery running up, and playing behind him is really easy because everyone is -- there were some people that hung out to watch us play today, but obviously he has the bigger crowd. It's not a distraction. When those people are running up to catch a shot coming in, there's always players ahead that can feel or sense that heard coming their way at times. But really, it doesn't much matter to be honest with you. I like his company, I enjoy his company. It's probably always a little better to have your eye on the guy that's leading. It doesn't much matter either way.
I guess if I would have missed my putt on the last hole Zach would have played with him, so I would have much rather made my putt and played with him.

Q. You haven't played in seven weeks, he hasn't played in ten weeks. Do you think that might be a new training trend?
JIM FURYK: Doubt it. It doesn't seem to affect him. When he had his surgery on his knee years ago, he came back and won his first event. But no, it doesn't seem to affect him. The great players, Nicklaus could always take a bunch of time off and he could -- at home he could find a way to prepare to be ready to come out and play, and Tiger is able to do that. I can feel comfortable coming out to play, but I'd much rather kind of get some tournaments under my belt. I feel like being at an event I get three times as much done, and I know more about my game playing in a tournament than I do at home if that makes sense. But I can prepare at home, and I've had some time off and hurt my wrist end of 2000 and didn't play for over two months, close to three. I guess it was a little over two months, and came back and won Mercedes, and didn't really expect that. It's all about your expectations.
This week I didn't really expect a lot. I came in hoping to play well and wanting to play well but keeping an open mind. I hadn't played in a while, and that attitude has probably helped me be in the position I'm at. If I came out here pressing and trying too hard, I probably wouldn't be sitting here and wouldn't be this many under. I guess my goal is to continue with that and not put a lot of pressure on myself, not expect -- I'll say I want to play well but not to go out there and force it and just let things happen.

Q. Kind of a look-ahead question. You mentioned Kapalua and I think there was one or two Hawaiian Opens in there. Seems like for the most part your wins have come May and onward. How much stock do you put on getting a victory out of the way as early as possible in a new season?
JIM FURYK: The earlier the better. Yeah, most of my -- in March throughout, when it was the first week of March, I won Mercedes and Sony once each, but yeah, I guess most of them would have been from May on. Obviously most of them came in the summer months rather than -- well, the three in Vegas. But all usually warm weather venues. I like the heat in summer to be honest with you. I don't know what it is about it, but I like the hot weather and I like a lot of the golf courses we play. We go to Colonial, Memorial, Westchester we used to go in the summer, even though I haven't won there, Flint in the summer, hot weather. Get me in the 90s, a little humid, I'm usually pretty happy for some reason. Everyone else is miserable so maybe that's why I'm happy, who knows.

Q. A couple weeks ago Nicklaus was talking about juniors today and how there's just getting to be way too much, too much pressure, too much singleness of purpose about just golf. Growing up with your dad, what do you think of what Jack had to say, and two, when did you just stop all other sports and just play golf?
JIM FURYK: College.

Q. That was the first time?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, that was the first time I ever played year-round to be honest with you because I grew up in Pennsylvania. I'm sure he had the same thing in Columbus.
I agree. I don't think the kids have to start when they're three and go into a training regimen. It's happening in all sports right now, not only golf. By the time they're freshmen in high school they're expected to pick a sport and year-round train and work out with a team for 11 months of the year getting ready for their sport. It's actually a shame, I believe. But that's the way things are going.
I've read a lot of reports on how kids are getting injured more often because of that, because they're stuck in one sport and not doing a lot of cross-training, so pitchers are stuck with one motion rather than playing football or basketball or other things. Yeah, I see it a lot in golf.
With our kids, and I'm fortunate, what I'm really appreciated with my dad is -- well, first of all, he kept me out of golf early on. He helped me, he taught me, but he kind of not pushed me but just held me back a little bit so I didn't get too gung-ho about one sport, and I played football, basketball, baseball. I quit baseball my sophomore year of high school and I played basketball the whole year through.

Q. (No microphone.)
JIM FURYK: I grew up in Pennsylvania and everyone thought I was way behind because I lived in Pennsylvania and not Texas or Florida. Trying to grab a college coach's eye being from Pennsylvania at the time was a lot harder. It's not any longer, and you know what, it still snows up there. I don't think you -- no, I really don't. I think a kid can play -- there comes a point in time where you have to start -- for me it was baseball. There came a point in time where I said, okay, if I don't prepare in the spring and I'm playing baseball and then I just show up in the summer and try to play against these kids that are playing 12 months a year, I'm going to be behind, so I needed to quit playing in the spring. But I really enjoyed having three months off in the winter or four months off in the winter and getting away and playing basketball. I was in great shape.
When spring came along and it was March 1 and it started getting warmer and had good days, I was so excited to go play golf. I really appreciated that. First year of college was a shock to my system. I was done playing golf. I wanted to be done and we're still out there practicing and it's 80 degrees.

Q. Getting ahead of myself, talking about the Ryder Cup, not the next one, the one after that. If you've thought about it, is there someone who would be --
JIM FURYK: Where is it? I haven't thought about it other than obviously it's in Europe.

Q. Is there a prohibitive favorite, or is there someone you think would be in line to be a captain? Who's next in succession?
JIM FURYK: Oh, wow, we are getting ahead of ourselves. I guess you'd go back on the list of who I thought was going to get it this year other than Zinger. I haven't thought of it. I think you'd make a list of all the guys that are about 44 right now, 43 and older right now that have Ryder Cup experience. I don't know if winning a major is a prerequisite. It seems to be. You go back and you look at all those guys and put them in a pot and how they go ahead and make that selection, I'm not exactly sure.
Well, just off the top of my head, I feel like if I start mentioning names I'd be missing people, if that makes sense. I'd need a list of guys on TOUR that are at a certain age and older, and I'd probably pick out a few good candidates. Corey obviously is someone that comes to mind.

Q. How old are you?
JIM FURYK: 37. I'm not ready yet. If I had to campaign, I guess eight years from now I'd love to do it (laughter).

Q. Is it easier to get back into the rhythm when it's --
JIM FURYK: It's a little quicker, although pace of play hasn't really been that fast this week. It's kind of felt slow, but this golf course does not lend itself to playing quickly. It's very severe, it's drastic. You can go in there, hit it -- it's kind of a hit or miss golf course. You can make a bunch of birdies, but there's a bunch of catastrophes out there, as well. It lends itself to rulings and guys are putting over ridges and what not. It's not a golf course you play quick. Some of the walks between greens and tees aren't the shortest, either.

Q. (No microphone.) Can we get you to do the same thing for this weekend?
JIM FURYK: (Laughter) we all feel you put Tiger off, but no, I'm definitely not one of those bulletin board type material guys, that's for sure. I thought it was -- if you look at the question, I'd love to see the entire interview because he started out kind of just saying, well, we've got our swagger, we're playing good. And then his quote was, "yeah, I'll guarantee it." So I think the question was would you guarantee it. In the middle he wouldn't say, yeah, I'll guarantee it. I think someone asked would you go as far as guaranteeing it or something like that. I wouldn't say it was a setup, I think the question was maybe a little bit more tame. I enjoy the banter. I like Tom Brady. Of all people Tom Brady going to call him out in the end zone was pretty humorous, and they picked on him a lot during the game. Every time a big play happened I was looking for who it was, and 27 usually seems to be running backwards on a lot of plays. I felt -- in a way I felt a little bad for him, but I guess he said it, so you've got to live with it.

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