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August 30, 2008

Jim Furyk


STEWART MOORE: We'd like to welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room here at the Deutsche Bank Championship after a bogey-free 65 out there. Still a lot of golf to be played today, but that birdie on 9 put you as the first in at 11-under, which if things hold up get you in that final pairing. That was a good closing nine of 31 to end on.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I was definitely happy with the second nine. I think the first nine I hit the ball pretty well, had some opportunities. I was a little disappointed not getting the ball up-and-down at 18, I was just over left of where I was yesterday, had a pretty easy pitch and didn't convert and made par. 1-under on the back. Really couldn't get things going.
And then turned around on the front, and a birdie at 2, a birdie at 4, 5, 7 and 9, so turned into a real good day shooting 5-under and came home pretty strong. I don't think that that's going to be in second place by the end of the day or anything, but it definitely puts me in good position for the weekend.
STEWART MOORE: Bogey-free through 36 holes. We'll take some questions.

Q. Apropos of nothing today, what was it like at Bellerive the last time when you guys were on the golf course and the videos were on the screens? We're going back there next week.
JIM FURYK: I don't remember the videos on the screens.

Q. People were finding out through word of mouth --
JIM FURYK: Yeah, it was just very eerie, just something everything -- there's probably a few moments in your life where you always remember where you were at or how you found out the news, and that will be one that everyone remembers, obviously, a tragedy in our country. Just an eerie day, kind of one of those you couldn't believe it was happening.
It'll definitely stir up some of those memories next week being at the same golf course.

Q. We've been to a lot of golf courses this year that were -- when guys would talk about them, your name would always come up as this is the kind of course where Furyk is going to play well --
JIM FURYK: At where?

Q. Well, various places we've been this year, like Ridgewood and other places like that, good ball-striker golf courses --
JIM FURYK: What are you trying to say, you're not hearing that this week?

Q. No, obviously you're playing really well. Has there been any change in your game, any difference in this week?
JIM FURYK: Not really. Not really. I felt like I played pretty well last week. A lot of times your score is more a reflection of knocking a couple putts in, getting the ball up-and-down. I think yesterday I did a good job; I hit the ball pretty well for most of the day, and I hit a few errant shots, a couple bad irons, and I was always able to pitch it up there pretty close within three or four feet and left myself some pretty easy up-and-downs, putts for par and was able to knock in enough birdie putts and had that last chip-in on the last hole for eagle.
I felt like I got a lot out of my round yesterday, if that makes sense. I came in and felt like, 5-under is pretty good for the way I played. Other days you make a bogey or two on the way in and you miss some putts and you say, God, I shot 5-under but you feel bad about it. Today I would say I didn't feel great about the 1-under on the front side, but I turned around and played super and had myself in position.
So it's more -- I don't feel like I'm hitting it any better or rolling it any better, but I've been getting more comfortable as the weeks go on. I've been gaining some momentum and confidence. Since way back at Congressional, I feel like I've been improving and had some good finishes. I like the direction my game is headed in right now, just in time to retire for a couple months.

Q. Being a Ryder Cup veteran, could you talk about maybe some advice you might give so some of the younger players, Anthony Kim or others that might be selected for the team as to what to kind of expect?
JIM FURYK: I think the easiest one is to pace yourself. Early on it's -- everyone will tell you that, but it's just hard to do. Friday, Saturday, Sunday takes so much out of you, and with all the functions and the stuff going on at night, you're not catching a lot of sleep during the week. If you're at the golf course and you're -- you go in there and you're struggling with your game, just pace yourself every day.
It's also awkward to have that one extra day. I'm used to flying in on a Monday night for a golf tournament, playing nine, a little light practice on Tuesday, getting all the BS work done, your clubs, media, stuff like that, so getting things done that just take up time. And then Wednesday is Pro-Am and last preparations afterwards, and then you go.
Here you're kind of not running on your own schedule, you're running on a team schedule, and it's actually another day longer. There's a lot of functions, a lot of dinners. A lot of us aren't used to the suit and tie and up until 10:30 and then you turn it around in the morning. You just need to pace yourself.
I didn't do that very well my first Ryder Cup and was probably too stupid to figure it out for my second one, as well. Eventually as I get older I'm kind of figuring out it's a little more important how I'm playing on Friday than how I'm playing Tuesday or Wednesday. Pacing yourself is probably the best.
I think just relaxing guys on the unknown. The first time you go to Tour school, a lot of times guys don't play well, and they scratch their head, and they say, geez, I didn't really have to do anything special, I just had to play the way I play, and I would have been fine. Just letting guys know that they're there for a reason; they either qualified for the team or Paul had enough confidence in picking them for the team that they belong there, just relax, play your style and have fun, go get 'em.

Q. Nick Faldo names his two wildcards tomorrow. Just wondering if you've been paying too much attention to the likely contenders or just waiting and seeing?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, it seems like there's three or four guys. I guess most notably you've kind of got Poulter, Casey or Darren Clarke. I'm on the outside looking in, and I'm sure there's more choices. Those are the three that come to mind, but they all seem like very good choices to me. It's difficult.
That's the bad part about being -- that's the first bad part about being a captain is you have to make that call to one or two people and say I'm sorry. It's probably a lot more fun making it to the two guys letting them know that they are on the team.

Q. Colin Montgomerie is very much a long shot. He and Faldo aren't exactly the best of buddies. What would it be like playing against Europe with no Monty when he's been on the last eight teams?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, it would be strange. Not only has he been on the last eight, he's been a formidable opponent. He's been one of their toughest players. At least for the five that I've played on, he's kind of been a leader by example as far as going out there and earning points.
I've kind of heard the banter about he and Nick. I don't know about their relationship. I have no idea. It's none of my business anyway. It would be different, but I guess eventually -- eventually whether it's this year or next year or the following, we all kind of have our day in the sun. I don't know how old Colin is. He's got to be about 43, 44, so he's going to be a captain here probably shortly.
I didn't add much to that, but I'm just going to end it right there before I say something where I have to pull my foot out of my mouth.

Q. Let me give you another opportunity to do that. Name me four guys that Paul should pick on Tuesday morning. It seems like whereas Nick --
JIM FURYK: Come on, I'm a lot smarter than that (laughter).

Q. Nick has got about five guys for two spots. Paul doesn't exactly have a list of candidates that are lighting the world up right now, and he's got to fill four. What direction might you go, young, old, fresh meat, veterans?
JIM FURYK: I think I'm definitely smarter than naming names. Anything I say here can and will be used against me (laughter). You know, no matter what I say, then -- it would make no sense. I think generalizations, I think you look at guys that are going to fit in well with the team chemistry. You look at guys that their games would suit Valhalla and the way it's going to be set up. You look at how much veteran status or young players we have on the team, and you might weigh in putting in guys that have a little bit of experience, just to pat some of the rookies on the back. We do have some veterans on the team. And no one is really worried about Anthony Kim; he seems like he's got plenty of confidence. I love the guy. I think he's going to be fun on the team.
There's a lot of different variables that weigh in, but I'd say the most important are probably -- obviously everyone knows you're going to pick a guy that's either playing well or that you have a lot of confidence in his game, that you know he can get ready for a big event. Then I would say team chemistry, fitting the game to the course, horses for courses, and veteran status after that.

Q. The doubling the captain's picks to four, Paul has kind of put himself in the crosshairs here. If it works, he's a brain surgeon. If not, he gets torched because those four guys now I guess have sort of got to justify the picks.
JIM FURYK: Well, yeah. Earlier I said that's the first bad part about being the captain. The second bad part is you all just rip him a new ass if we don't win. And it's not their fault. I would say if I stood here and I've seen kind of the reaction of some of my captains, some of them kind of held it inside or looked the other way or done it in private, but outwardly I've seen the reactions of some of our captains when the media coverage wasn't favorable to what they did as a captain. They poured two years into it, they gave up a lot of their time and their effort and spent a lot of money actually to go out there and be the Ryder Cup captain and poured their heart into it and then turned around and kind of got painted as a failure at times. It stings, and it's got to hurt, and that's the second bad part. The only two things I can think that are bad about being the Ryder Cup captain.
Paul, one, is full of confidence. He always has; he's a tough competitor, and he changed the system because he felt like it gave us the best opportunity to get the 12 best guys on the team, and I think that he went in there and had enough guts to change the system, say that it was wrong, he'd be captain but this is what I need, this is what I want.
Right now before we play, raise your hands; is there anyone that would disagree with the system? Well, then, don't rip him a new one at the end if it doesn't work out or if you don't like his picks.
I think it's easy at the end to pick a reason. Honestly, I like the four picks. I like the new system of points because I think that it rewards guys that are playing well. You can get a guy that goes out there and finishes 15th three weeks in a row, another guy misses the cut, misses the cut and then finishes 8th and he can grab some points. I'd rather have the guy that finished 15th three weeks in a row.

Q. That's the FedExCup.
JIM FURYK: No, that means you can do whatever you want at the start of the year and it means a little bit, and you play good at the end of the year and it means a lot. At least I didn't say it doesn't mean anything. It means a little bit.
No, I like the four picks. I think it's easier to -- honestly, if you're choosing between two and three, that's very difficult. If you're choosing between four and five, it's difficult, but I think it's got to be a little less difficult between four and five than it is between two and three. I know Nick would like four picks right now, I promise you that.

Q. How much do you have to adjust your thinking and your approach to the game when you go from stroke play to match play for the Ryder Cup?
JIM FURYK: I think -- I don't think you adjust your game that much, you just adjust your mental aspect or the way you approach the game and the way you approach or attack the golf course. That could be different foursomes, foursomes, individual matches. I think match play is a whole different style of game. It's fun. I enjoy it. If I had to pick one over the other, I'd probably -- because of the style of the game I play, if I had to do it 100 times a year and had to go one way or the other, I'd rather go medal play. But I wish we had more match play events and another way to do it, because I think it's a real interesting format. Does that help?

Q. Yeah, a little. Because of the vagaries of match play, there are times when actually players who are playing well in medal play coming in don't necessarily play well in match play because if you make an 8, you just throw it out; it's just one hole.

Q. So it really does kind of change the way that you handicap players one against the other, doesn't it?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, you know -- yeah, absolutely. I'll leave all the handicapping to Phil with the odds and that (laughter), but yeah, I've never tried -- yeah, it definitely changes things, and again, it's only 18 holes instead of four rounds. Yeah, anything can happen. Anyone can win or lose a match. That's what makes it so exciting.
But I also think -- also, the guys that win or lose matches, it doesn't mean that those are the guys that are playing the best golf out there, as well. You can go out there and play well and lose, you can go out there and play mediocre or poor and win just because of what your opponent is doing. It's a great format. I love it. I think it brings the best out of some players, and you get to see some phenomenal golf.
STEWART MOORE: Jim, thanks so much. Good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts

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