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December 16, 2007

Jim Furyk


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Jim Furyk in, Jim with a 1-under par 71 this afternoon. You closed the door to within two at the turn. Just talk about your day. It was good at the beginning and then not so good later on.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, the front nine went as good as I could have expected. I hit a bad shot at No. 2, I hit my 3-wood way left. I've been fighting a left shot all week. I hit that one in there, made bogey on the par-5, pretty disappointed, but then a good up-and-down at 3 and then off to the races, birdie 4, 5, 7, 8 and had a good look at 9.
Tiger had a couple loose shots, little three-putt, kind of gave back a couple shots there, and all of a sudden it was looking good, tight. And then I turned around, and the back nine obviously not what I was expecting and hit two really good shots at 10, hit a wedge in there, I thought I hit it in there stiff and hit about five feet behind the hole and it was quick and I started thinking too much about making it and I go four feet by and missed it coming back.
That's kind of the story of my back nine, missed good birdie putts at 12 and 13, missed a little putt at 14 for par, about a six-, seven-footer, and then did the same thing at 15 again. I wouldn't mind dynamiting 15 to be honest with you.
Again, I'm fighting that left shot, and it's also causing me to hit it fat once in a while. The shots I hit on 15 and 18, I'm trying to hit the ball hard, both times I have borderline not enough club in my hand on 15 and 18, but I'm trying to press the issue and use the club I can get the ball close with.
On 15 I'm four back with four to play. I think that's what it was at the time, four back with four to play, so I'm thinking about stiffing it and trying to make birdie. I hit it fat in the water and did the same thing on 18. I knew Zach had made birdie there, and I knew I had to make birdie there, as well, and I'm trying to hit it hard and I hit it fat again.
It was a good, positive week as far as I probably didn't expect to come in and play as well as I did and do so many good things. I'm disappointed in getting sloppy in spots, sloppy in the first round for a couple holes and the third round for a couple holes, and then today for half of the back nine I was pretty sloppy. Attitude probably wasn't as good as I needed on the back nine. I talked yesterday about staying patient, not pressing the issue, and after 10 I think I started pressing the issue a little bit, and then it bit me, as I mentioned it could.
JOE CHEMYCZ: What did you hit there at 15?
JIM FURYK: 6-iron.
JOE CHEMYCZ: And at 18?
JIM FURYK: 8-iron.

Q. After seven weeks off you mentioned that you actually played better than maybe you thought. You have a couple weeks to get ready for the next tournament. Is that enough time for you?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, it'll be fine. I worked hard actually to try to get ready for this event, and there were some things that were bothering me before I got here and I was working on my swing a little bit with my dad, and there's some things that my putting that are bothering me a little bit, as well. But right now I'm in a much better position than I expected. I'm going to take a little time off the next four or five days. I'm going on vacation with my family, and then before Christmas and after Christmas I'll start gearing up and I'll be ready to go.
The time off over the next few days will get me thinking about it a little bit, and when I get back I'll be excited again to prepare, and after Christmas is over I'll get that out of the way and have almost a week, so I'll feel good about it.
That's the good thing about coming here versus taking time off. You learn so much more about your game while you're in a tournament. I had to hit good shots at 15 and 18 and I didn't do it. I'm going to go back and think about those shots, what I could have done better, what I did wrong. You couldn't get that experience at home.
It definitely put me -- I'm in better shape than I expected, but I'm also disappointed because I had a really good opportunity today, and you don't start six down to Tiger very often and cut it to two, so I had a really good opportunity and wasn't able to take advantage of it.
He played great on the back. He shot 4- or 5-under on the back, so it would have been tough to catch him, but I would have still liked to have done a lot better, done a lot better on the back nine.

Q. You said you were pressing a lot on the back nine. Can you talk about how much it takes out of you to cut the lead to two on the front nine mentally, how much does that take out of you?
JIM FURYK: Not so bad. I was a little upset with myself at 10 for -- if you miss the five-footer, fine, but making bogey after hitting two good shots is disappointing. I think what you have to do the right way is you have to turn around and be tough right after that. I birdied 11, I hit a good shot at 12. Tiger had a really tough six-footer for par and I had a really good birdie putt up the hill that I didn't make. He was making par on 13 and I had another good birdie putt and I didn't make it.
I think had I gotten a couple of those to go in I probably would have settled down, but those not going in I started pressing on 14 and 15 and on the way in, and when you start doing that -- like I said, you can make a bunch of birdies or you can go the other way, and I went the other way.

Q. It's almost amazing how you guys could play so well after such a long layoff but I guess you can't use the word amazing anymore with Tiger. How does a guy like that just blow away the field?
JIM FURYK: It's not like he was sitting on the couch eating Cheetos or anything (laughter). I know that he's -- in order for his game and to hit the ball as well as he is, he's obviously the best in the world and has more talent and also a harder work ethic than most people, but he and the great players, Nicklaus, have the ability to take that time off and come back. But I would be surprised if he walked in here and said he didn't do much preparation or didn't work hard to get to that spot. I'm sure he prepared at home and he wanted to show up at his own event and play well.
At times it's a little bit -- I took time off, but I worked hard for -- I started about three weeks ago, kind of a little light for the first week, but the last two weeks I actually played quite a bit of golf and prepared pretty well for the event. I think you get more preparation in one week of tournament than I did three at home. He did the same. I'm sure he prepared well and his game was pretty darn sharp.

Q. As a follow-up to that, it's a different story when you're playing in a tournament instead of just practicing. So to take it to that next level does make it pretty special, doesn't it?
JIM FURYK: It does. I'm not in any way shocked, though. As I mentioned, the best players in history have always been able to do that. The pressure that he and say Nicklaus are under and the microscope they're under, they take time, they get away, they get away from golf, but they're able to come back and they know how to prepare themselves and get ready.

Q. I'm trying to think of the last time you guys have been paired together in the last round of any tournament. I would have been curious if there was a difference starting six shots behind. Is there a feeling of nothing to lose as opposed to being a little closer?
JIM FURYK: I think the only way I look at it is sometimes you're six back but there's 20 guys between you and the lead. There's a little bit more of a hopeless feeling. When you're six shots back and it's only one guy, albeit it's Tiger, a lot can happen. 3-under or 3-over, a couple two-shot swings, and all of a sudden it's tight. When you're a lot of shots back and there's one or two guys in front of you, it's a lot different than when there's 20 if that makes sense. I think it gives you a little bit more glimmer of hope.
I said my goal was to go out, really focus on just myself, play as well as I can. Hopefully get myself into the position I did going to the 10th tee, and I think -- I'm disappointed in some of the mechanics and poor execution. I'm also disappointed in not worrying about my game as much as I should have down the stretch and trying to hit some shots that maybe were -- they were aggressive but maybe trying to do some things a little over the top and pressing the issue a little bit.
But when I look back, if I had to do it all over again, I'd do it. But that's the reason for -- you put me out there and say just shoot the best score you can, I'm probably hitting 5-iron on 15 and I'm hitting 8-iron at 18 and I'm hitting away from pins and putting the ball 20, 25 feet and trying to make it from there. If I had to do it all over again I'd hit the same shots, I just wish I could execute it better.

Q. There's been a lot of talk today about Rory pulling out. Any thoughts on that?
JIM FURYK: Well, I don't know -- it's tough to give an opinion because you don't know the circumstances behind it. I feel like -- I'm not sure -- what was the reasoning behind it?

Q. (No microphone.)
JIM FURYK: I'm sure he was headed there tomorrow originally. I guess -- that's a tough spot you're putting me in, Doug, and I'm stumbling badly (laughter).
I would say there was still probably a little better way to handle the situation, maybe shaking some sponsors' hands or something to that effect. But it's difficult to -- without knowing the whole situation, just showing up today knowing that Rory wasn't there, it's hard to make a critical comment or a comment backing him without knowing all the information. If he was hurt, I guess I probably would have liked to have seen him hang out, maybe rub some elbows, ask what he could do for them, to show, hey, I feel bad. But it is what it is.
I've been in situations -- I got DQ'd in South Africa on Friday night for something I did Thursday that I didn't know about. The officials came over as everyone knows. They said, hey, make sure you don't do this. I said, I've done that six times already this week. We talked about it and I got disqualified, and I asked what could I do. I actually played out the last two days as a marker.
Because of that, the South Africans have basically adopted me, which has been nice. I had to pull out this year, which I feel bad, but I know when I go back they'll always remember that and they thank me for it. I get a lot more credit than I should over there because of that. I think the way probably is to hang out a little bit more. Again, I don't know the situations, and I hope he's fine and everything is well and we'll get over it.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Jim, thank you. We appreciate it.

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