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May 2, 2008

Jim Furyk


DOUG MILNE: Jim, thanks for joining us here at the Wachovia Championship. Nice playing today, 5-under par 67. A couple comments on the conditions of the course and maybe how things differed from yesterday.
JIM FURYK: Well, it was nice to get a nice morning tee time. I played about probably six holes where it was pretty benign out there, where there was really no breeze, a little moisture on the greens. But the wind picked up at that point, on about 16 for us.
The difference today, I think the greens are starting to dry out a little bit. Yesterday they were still pretty receptive, still pretty moist. The ball on some holes today has a little bit more release. You're not seeing the ball stop as much today, especially downwind, as we did yesterday.
Hopefully we dodge the rain tomorrow, but it'll keep firming up this afternoon and into tomorrow before that.
A little firmer greens today, a little breeze. I'd expect the scores to be probably just a touch higher today.

Q. How was 17 playing today with the pin placed where it was?
JIM FURYK: Well, with that front left pin yesterday, which is a very difficult pin, they had the tee up. Today the tee was back, pin probably was about 14 on, six right, so it's still towards the front. If I remember, it was playing about 202. The wind is in the player's face and to the left, so -- it's kind of jockeying around. Sometimes it's hurting more, sometimes it's going more left and just a little bit of hurt. But a good shot would be to kind of take it at the pin and try to hold it and hit a nice soft cut. But it's just a hard hole with that amount of club in your hard; in order to hit a good shot there you just have to basically carry the front bunker and let it hop up to the pin. Flying anything back towards the pin it's going to take off to the back of the green.

Q. With your U.S. Open pedigree last year and Olympia Fields and all that, the difficult golf courses --
JIM FURYK: Pedigree? I feel like a dog or something. I was bred.

Q. This would probably fall into that same category. Why is it that you seem to do better on the tactical type tracks versus dump and chase? Saying that, you did fine at Doral, too, which is more wide open.
JIM FURYK: I'm pretty comfortable any style. First three of four wins were in Vegas shooting 25- to 28-under, so I'm comfy there, as well. But I think everyone enjoys playing golf courses that are difficult, as long as it rewards good shots.
The first time I came to this event, I was injured in '04, and I think that might have been the first year they had this event, '04, '03. I missed the cut in '03, I missed the tournament in '04, I lose in a playoff in 05, win in a playoff in '06 and then I missed the cut. So I'm either in a playoff or going home on the weekend it seems like.
You know, I enjoy the golf course. I think when it plays firm and fast, you really have to work the ball off the tee to get the ball in the fairways. Some of the greens are very, very severe. You've got to hit crisp iron shots and put the ball in a place to play from. It's just a tough, fair golf course, and they do everything first-class here, and it's no secret why it's, if not the premier event on TOUR, definitely in the top five.

Q. It working the ball a lost art like everybody seems to think, extinct?
JIM FURYK: It's not extinct. You know, it's the whole chicken and the egg theory. A lot of times I think we play a lot of courses that don't call for that shot, and I think my generation gets criticized a lot that they used to hit more shots back in the '50s, '60s and '70s, and they absolutely did and they were better shot-makers. But I think the conditions that they played in, the style of courses they played, the setups that they played and the equipment that they played called for that to happen. And now with the way our courses are and the way our equipment is, I mean, balls aren't really meant to curve a lot, drivers aren't meant to curve a lot, and they're making shafts now that aren't meant to curve a lot. It's tough to get up there and work a tee shot at times.

Q. And you're a master craftsman compared to like the 25-year-olds.
JIM FURYK: Well, it's just a different style of game. I didn't come out here when I was first on TOUR at 23 and 24 and hitting all these different shots. I learned as I got older and played. But that was more -- when I grew up, I wanted to hit different shots. I wanted to hit cuts and draws and hit the ball high and low and hit different shots.
You know, the course is -- if I would have grown up in Tucson where I went to school playing a desert golf course, like a target golf course, I'd have hit everything high and bombed it. I did that pretty much as a kid anyway, see how far you can hit it, hit it high, bomb it, go chase it down, bomb it again. In order to play here and play in the tournaments I needed to play well in, I needed to learn to maneuver the ball and tried to learn that from guys that were better than me and had more experience than me early in my career.

Q. What's been behind your recent uptake starting with Doral? You had sort of a fallow stretch for you for a few months.
JIM FURYK: Fallow?

Q. Unproductive. It's a farming term.
JIM FURYK: I didn't know that. You've got to speak in really plain language. Maybe not like Boo, but help me out a little bit (laughter).

Q. I was trying to use a less blunt term.
JIM FURYK: You got the thesaurus out for that one. Fallow?

Q. F-a-l-l-o-w.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I wasn't real happy with my productivity at the end of last year or early this year. I really felt like early this year I was striking the ball pretty well, but my short game was pretty poor, to be honest. Not only my putting, but I wasn't getting the ball up-and-down, I wasn't pitching the ball close, my wedge game wasn't as sharp, and that's one of my strengths. If your short game is not good, you're not doing well from 100 yards in, and it's hard to put up scores no matter how well you're hitting the ball.
I've kind of worked on that pretty hard for the last couple of months. It really paid off at -- where I really noticed it was at Hilton Head, where I kind of struck the ball pretty mediocre at times and was able to finish 4th, and I got the ball up-and-down and knocked some putts in. It was one of the first weeks where I really felt like I got a lot out of what I did this week.
That's kind of what I did today. I got a lot out of my game today. I got the ball up-and-down and knocked in a bunch of putts, birdieing 18, 1, 2 and 3. They were good iron shots, but I didn't hit it in there six feet four holes in a row. I knocked in some putts. These greens are severe, so the putts here usually have a lot of break. I only had -- one of those putts was relatively straight on 18, straight up the hill, but the rest of them were breaking six, eight inches, a foot at times, and I knocked in some putts.
I think the difference in my game has really been my short game has been sharper and I've been able to score a little bit better.

Q. You were left-hand low for all those years and then at Doral you moved your hands together for a while, fair to say? Did I notice that?
JIM FURYK: No, I didn't change it.

Q. It looked like it was more of a one --
JIM FURYK: I've always been really close together with my hands. It's pretty much the same grip I've always used since I was a kid.

Q. When you're in your late 30s and you feel like your putting is going sideways for a stretch, does that send off any more of an alarm than it would --
JIM FURYK: No, I think we're all pretty streaky putters. We all get in ruts where things aren't going in. When you walk off the golf course at the end of the day, if you didn't putt that well and you didn't knock in a bunch of putts, if you were hitting good solid putts and you were around the hole all day, you can kind of live with it and feel like, hey, if I stay patient they'll go in.
What I wasn't real happy with earlier in year is I wasn't hitting a lot of real solid putts. I kind of had to figure out why and I think I've pinpointed it, and I think my alignment was poor. I was aiming improperly, and then I had to make an adjustment in my stroke to make up for improper aim. But it's always a work in progress, and I think if you look at the best players on TOUR, it's streaky on and off, and when you go on a good streak you hope it lasts for months at a time, and that's when you see guys packing up tournament upon tournament when you're playing well.
Just because you go bad for a while or go stale, I'm not going to lose any confidence.

End of FastScripts

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