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July 23, 2008
JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome our two-time defending champion Jim Furyk to the interview room. It was a little hairy out there today with the weather.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I'm surprised we got as many holes in as we did, but I didn't play yesterday so I was happy to get around and see the golf course. It doesn't seem like there's been too many changes. I guess 11 green is different and some of the holes have added some length, but I guess as players we have, too. It didn't seem to be too much different.
It's really wet out there, a lot of standing water this morning, and there would have been no other way to play but playing the ball up. It's wet and it looks like we're going to get more rain, but hopefully it'll die down for us and dry up a little bit as the week goes on.
Q. I noticed the tape on your wrist there. Is that an injury or just because the past two majors have been won by injured players and you're looking for good luck?
JIM FURYK: That's a good point when you think about it (laughter). No, my wrist was just a little sore yesterday, and why, I don't know, whether it was from the hard ground last week or flight coming back. Sometimes you get some inflammation and such.
It was an old injury. I had surgery in '04, and it seemed to be fine today. But in talking to our guys in the trailer, just gave it a try and if it wasn't going to feel good I could peel it off.
But it was real tender yesterday and bothering me, so I decided not to push it and kind of take the day off, just kind of chipped and putted a little. It felt great today, actually. It didn't bother me a bit. Just kind of precautionary at this point.
Q. When you come here is it almost like you couldn't have picked a better time to come back here? You're coming off a great weekend, as well. Still looking for that first win, which is kind of odd to see you this late in the season without one. Is this tournament coming at just the right time for you?
JIM FURYK: I hope so. I hope so. You know, I've kind of had some spurts where I've played well this year and some lulls where I wasn't happy with my results. But my last two events have been pretty good. I finished, I guess, tied for third in D.C. and then tied for fifth last week. So I feel pretty good about my game.
Right now I want to keep getting some rest, start feeling a little bit better every day and get some rhythm. I played a little bit Monday and took yesterday off, so just trying to get the rhythm of my game and flight of the golf ball, getting a little higher. This is definitely a golf course where you want the bring the ball in high into a lot of these greens, coming into a week where I didn't hit it higher than about head high for four days.
So it's different, but I just want to slowly get my feel and my rhythm back and get the ball in the air. So far it seems to be fine.
Q. During your career you were able to win your national Open, and I know that's a little different obviously because that one is a major. But do you think you can identify maybe with some of the pressure that we all tend to put on our top Canadian pros and some of the things Mike Weir and Stephen Ames might be going through this week with the attention they face?
JIM FURYK: Absolutely. There's been a lot of fine players that have played in Canada, and right now your top two are Mike and Steven. Mike for years and years has carried the weight on his shoulders. He's expected to kind of carry the flag, and there's a lot of positives that go along with that.
It's great to be in a position -- when I was at Oakmont at the U.S. Open in my home state, I had a lot of people cheering coming up the last few holes when I had an opportunity to win. It's a great feeling to feel all those people pulling for you, but it's also -- there's a positive and a negative, and it's also when you're not playing well, it kind of feels like all that weight is on your shoulders, and it can be that much more difficult.
You know, I know those two guys really probably look forward to this week and would love to be champions of the Canadian Open, and it would mean a ton to them. I can understand how difficult that can be at times, as well.
Q. Was Oakmont a different experience for you than maybe the other U.S. Opens you've played because of the focus on you?
JIM FURYK: I don't know if there was a focus on me. Just being -- I didn't grow up that close to Oakmont, I grew up about a four-hour drive away. But being in Pennsylvania, my family is from Pittsburgh, I actually have relatives that live right there in Oakmont and in the area. My mom and dad grew up about ten miles from there.
I actually didn't feel a lot of extra pressure. I wanted to perform well because it was in Pennsylvania. But coming down the stretch, we have a chant in Pittsburgh, "Here we go, Steelers," and I had a "Here we go, Jimmy," coming up 17. It was a pretty cool feeling.
That loss stung as much or more than any other just in the sense that, one, it's a major championship; two, it was in my home state.
But to feel that emotion and to feel all those people pulling for you and not being able to come through, it was pretty disappointing. It stung more than others. But then on the hind side, if you're able to win one of those, it's sweeter than a lot of others.
Q. Some people mentioned that you've put on a bit of an open mike performance last night at the Pro-Am draw. I was just wondering what compels you to go out and do that after the charity fund raiser on Tuesday and the late flight coming over from the British? How come you do all that stuff?
JIM FURYK: Do you know the answer to that or no?
Q. I think I know, but I want to hear you say it.
JIM FURYK: Well, Monday was a charity event for Steve Duplantis, who passed away this year in February, a memorial. His father and family wanted to have the event, wanted to raise money for his daughter, Sierra, for her trust. They had a great turnout, a wonderful group. Tom Cochrane was the entertainment at night. There was a bunch of players, a bunch of caddies there, and it was actually just a really fun day. We had a great time.
The reason I played on Monday was because it was the right thing to do and it was because I talked to the family and I told them I'd be there. We tried to work out ways that we could raise some more money for the trust, and the Royal Bank of Canada stepped up to the plate and donated last night $50,000 to her trust. So I was there to kind of announce that and be a part of it and thank them for all they had done.
Q. Just wondering what the feeling among the American Ryder Cup players are to the absence of Tiger. Is it a feeling of -- is it a fear factor or is it just something that you have to pull together to overcome it?
JIM FURYK: You know, I don't think -- I really haven't -- honestly I haven't talked to any other guys that I thought were going to be on the team about -- the guys I've talked to, everyone is excited about being part of it, excited about it being in Louisville and knowing how much support golf has gotten in Louisville during the PGA, how excited the crowds are, how many people have shown up. They've sold out a year in advance for the PGA Championship, where we go to LA to play Riviera and they didn't sell out at all, let alone a year in advance. So I think it's going to be wild and crazy and I think guys are excited about being there for the Ryder Cup.
But as far as -- the fact is he's not going to be there, he's not going to play, and there's nothing we can do about it. It's nothing that we've really dwelled on or talked about. Obviously per man everyone would love to have him playing and love to have him on the team, but it's not going to happen so we have to figure out a way to do it without him.
I'll miss having him there from a playing standpoint, from a leadership standpoint, from a friend standpoint. Actually from a partner standpoint I'll miss him because we were partnered up quite a bit. But there's nothing we can do about it, and I'm sure we'll talk about it as it gets closer. Not having the best player in the world on your team is -- of course we'd love to have him, but it's not something we've talked about yet.
Everyone right now is -- there's probably about five guys or so that have locked their position and points-wise probably won't slip out. But no one wants to put the cart before the horse and start talking about the team where you're on it sort of thing.
Q. One of the strengths of Paul Azinger as captain, a lot of people are saying if anyone can pull the team together in something like this, it could be him. Would you agree with that?
JIM FURYK: Well, first and foremost, I guess I would take it as an insult to say that we weren't together to start with, but on the hind side of that, I think Paul really brings a lot to the table. He's well-respected. He's not really a rah-rah type of guy, he's more a lead-by-example type of person. And he's got a lot of spicy, he's got a lot of heart. He was one of the toughest -- in his prime, he was the scrappiest, toughest guys to beat, and I think he's going to bring that attitude and that detail to being a captain, and I think it's going to rub on off his players.
Q. You come in as two-time defending champion from two very different style golf courses. How is this golf course going to set up for you this week considering the conditions, the wet conditions, as well?
JIM FURYK: I think it sets up a lot like last year's course. When I sat here last year and talked, I mean, what I think of golf courses that suit my style, Hamilton was right up my alley. I talked about it before the event, how much I liked the golf course, I talked about it after the event. Obviously I like Angus Glen; I won there. But I wouldn't stereotype it as a golf course where it fits my style perfectly.
And I have a lot of confidence in my game and my ability, and when I'm playing well, I feel like I can win anywhere, on any type of golf course. But when I go and pick and choose my schedule, I'm going to pick and choose Colonial; and I love Doral, Colonial; I love Waialae over in Hawai'i; I love Flint, Congressional, couldn't ever leave that. The golf course we're playing our first playoff event, Ridgewood, I hear is just -- those real old, classic golf courses, where you need to work the ball, maneuver it, hit it high, hit it low, just hit a bunch of different shots.
Last year at Angus Glen, I wouldn't say it was a bomber's golf course, but it wasn't a traditional, old-style golf course. I liked it a lot. I played well there, but it wouldn't be the place that you would say, wow, this is a great course for Jim Furyk. And I think a lot of that this year. It's not a place where I'd stereotype it perfect for my style of game. But I'm comfortable here.
I guess maybe I never fell in love with Glen Abbey but I never disliked it at all. It's a different style golf course than Hamilton or St. George or Shaughnessy or Royal Montreal for that matter. I'll be fine, and I look forward to it.
Like I said, it's nice to be back after two years. I'd like it to be three. We're here next year? So there you go.
It's interesting coming back to an event where you've won and it's on a different golf course. You lose the warm, fuzzy feeling of playing a practice round around the golf course. You remember all the good shots you hit or a key putt you knocked in. You lose that, but I think it's imperative for this tournament that it needs -- you have so many great, wonderful golf courses throughout this country, and for this golf tournament to thrive and get back to the position it was 30 and 40 years ago, it's got to be moved around to the best golf courses in your country.
Q. You talked about picking your schedule. As a two-time defending champion, when you look at this one, how much obligation do you feel not only from yourself but maybe from others to return and play again here?
JIM FURYK: I think I'm a firm believer, if you have the -- if you've won the year before, unless something major comes up in your life, I think you've got to be there to defend. It's no secret it's a tough spot in the schedule, just after the British Open, before World Golf Championships and the PGA, but it's a great problem to have. It's because I won last year, and I love being back, and I think that you should defend your title.
Q. A two-part question. You missed a few years of the Canadian Open, then decided to come back. What was the factor in you coming back to this tournament two years ago?
JIM FURYK: Hamilton.
Q. And do you feel sometimes with your loyalty to this event and your success that you're an honorary Canadian ambassador on TOUR?
JIM FURYK: I think the reason that I came back in '06, I missed a few years, I missed a bunch of years actually, so I think to call me an ambassador might be a little tough, just from the fact that I had missed a bunch of years. I'm in my 15th year on TOUR, I've probably played here half of the years, at the Canadian Open.
It's probably been more picking and choosing courses. I heard so much -- I didn't come in '03. I think '03 was Hamilton, and I missed it, and all the guys that came, I must have talked to 20 guys that said, you should have been there, you would have loved this golf course.
So when I went back in '06 I made it a point to make sure it was on the schedule, and I'm glad I did because obviously I won. That's the reason I came back.
As far as the ambassador, yeah, there's somewhat of a responsibility. I won the last couple years. Actually I won one event the last two years, and it's been the Canadian Open. So it's my last two victories.
But yeah, I think you have a responsibility, and I always have a soft spot in my heart. I've kind of been a little bit of an ambassador maybe for Hawaiian golf for -- I've won three events over there, and there's places in your career -- for a while Vegas was my spot. I won three out of my first four events in Las Vegas. You have those places where you've won quite a few times and it gives you a warm feeling.
I was asked to be quite active last year in talking about the event and sponsors and sitting in on a luncheon last year, and it was a good learning experience. I got to meet a lot of wonderful people, and a bunch of the players were there, the RCGA, Jim Kinnear from Pengrowth was a big factor in that, and we're happy to have RBC to really step up to the plate and help the event out and I think take it to new heights.
Q. Would this be -- I assume this would be the week that you would take off, however, were you not defending champion? That's fair to say, given the schedule?
JIM FURYK: Well, my first response would be let's just be thankful we don't have to worry about that problem.
Q. That said, the tournament is back here next year, and assuming, God forbid, that you didn't win this year (laughter), the following year it's at St. George's. I'm wondering if you've heard about St. George's.
JIM FURYK: I've heard it's fantastic.
Q. So is that the sort of course that would lure you back, I assume?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I would definitely -- because of what I've heard of the golf course, I'd want to make a very strong effort to be there.
Q. One other quick question. Last week you guys got inundated with Tiger questions obviously the first few days, but as the weekend progressed, as a golf fan, we got to see a lot of different stories emerging, a lot of different people. Was it sort of refreshing to see the media writing about a lot of different things?
JIM FURYK: You actually assume that I read (laughter). I try to pay -- one, I have nothing against the European press; I've been treated very fairly. But I really try not to -- I don't get the paper every morning over there and read what's going on in the golf tournament.
When I'm at an event I try to avoid what's written about the golf tournament because usually not much good can come out of it to be honest with you. If something positive is written about you, I guess you can either ignore it or your head can get big. There's nothing good that can come out of there. If something is negative about you, which happens quite a bit, then that can just piss you off, and that's not all that good, so I've never felt that much good can come out of -- I'm there, I know what's going on; I really don't have to read what's going on about it.
I think it's great for everyone else who didn't have the opportunity to get to the tournament. And as far as television is concerned, I'm still trying to find the golf ball on the feed over there with the gray sky. Did you ever notice the camera, and then, hey, all of a sudden there it is in the fairway. I'm still trying to follow the camera to listen what's going on (laughter).
Honestly, I have a great relationship, in my opinion, with the media. I feel like I've been treated very fairly. I feel like I've been thanked a lot for giving quite a bit of my time. But I think you all would be surprised at how little I pay attention.
There's little things I like in certain magazines, little things I like to read, but it's usually not the synopsis of what's happened the day before in a tournament. I want to go to the results and see what's said. I love quotes because I like to see what guys had to say. I love Q & As, so like a golf magazine will have -- every month will have a Q & A, and I'll open it up and see what the player that week had to say, just answered questions. I love that part.
But I really do pay very, very little -- my friends tell me a lot about what's going on; did you hear that Sergio has got a new driver? I mean, I had no idea, and they kind of look at me, like, how do you not know that? I don't pay that much attention, if that makes sense.
Q. I've got a question for you about Anthony Kim. Obviously he's had a breakout year on Tour, won twice, looks like he might be on the Ryder Cup team. Have you played much with him, and can you tell me maybe are you surprised just seeing him contend at the British Open last week? It was his first British Open, given the weather, relatively young age, only 23 years old?
JIM FURYK: I think, one, he's got a lot of game. He's got no real weaknesses and he's got a ton of confidence. He really believes in himself, not in a -- I wouldn't call him cocky, but he's very confident in a good way. Being so young, you don't see that very often.
But his game is strong, and it doesn't have a lot of weaknesses. His strength is he does everything pretty well.
Going over to the British Open is difficult, and he actually made the comment to me yesterday, he said, "That's a different kind of golf. I haven't seen that kind before." To go over there in that dramatic, drastic weather and to be there for the first time was tough, and I actually made the quote to my caddie, can you imagine? On Thursday, we were driving out to the course, and it's raining sideways and blowing, I said, "Could you imagine this being your first British Open?" I mean, imagine what would be going through your mind today and how it would be difficult to play the shots because you didn't have that experience.
I mean, that being said, really coming down the stretch, he bogeyed the last two holes or the last three holes or something and finished still in the Top 10. Theoretically at 8- or 9-over, he makes a birdie or an eagle or something coming in on 17, he has an opportunity to win the golf tournament. I won't say I'm surprised, but I'm impressed by being able to do that first trip over.
Q. When you get over to Birkdale and you see that rain going sideways and that sort of thing, you get on the golf course and you've got to aim something 50, 60 yards right or left or whatever, are you the type of person that you can really see those shots in your head? Is it a feel thing? How do you approach something that difficult?
JIM FURYK: It's more feel. You kind of throw all your mechanics -- you're just -- I try not to -- when the wind is blowing that hard from right to left or left to right, some guys just try not to fight it and let it ride. I can't play that way. I have to fight some. A lot of times you're aiming down the right rough and you're trying to hit a slice. You hit this low slice and hold it for a second and then let it fall in the fairway. But if you start aiming something 50 yards right and letting it ride, even when it hits the fairway, when it's bouncing it's not bouncing straight, it's bouncing sideways. Now you're trying to hit a fairway this way. It's not possible.
I try to get it working up the one side of a fairway against the wind, and then eventually the wind is going to win and try to push it back into the center of the fairway if that makes sense.
Q. When you come back say over here this week, is it difficult, the change? Is it one of those things where you've got to --
JIM FURYK: Early in my career I struggled going over there and getting ready and then come back I struggled. I tried to play events after -- one event after the British, and I just felt out of whack. I didn't feel comfortable.
Last year I had no issue. I hopped right back in. I play 51 weeks a year in these conditions -- well, hopefully not in this rain -- and one over there. It's much tougher to go over there and get prepared for that one week than it is to come back. You should be able to come back in a couple days.
You know, the bad habits are your weight kind of gets leaning too far left, trying to hit the ball low, the ball gets a little too far back. Hopefully in a couple days, all of a sudden your lines come back and you see the ball position and your balance and kind of get everything.
I think you learn over time -- I've become a better ball-striker over the years on TOUR, and you kind of learn your faults. Usually when I come back, this is what I do, and you try to get out of it. But I've struggled more some years than others for some reason.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Jim, thank you.
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