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April 11, 2009

Jim Furyk


RONALD TOWNSEND: Good afternoon. We would like to welcome Jim Furyk back. Jim shot a 4-under par 68 Todd. This is Jim's 13th Masters, and we will take your questions.

Q. You hit the ball as well as you did Thursday; is this a similar round or in some ways, was it better?
JIM FURYK: No, I mean, it was a pretty similar round. I hit the ball very well. I wasn't in control a lot on Thursday.
Today was close. I didn't hit as many greens obviously, but I was in a lot more control. Yesterday, I struggled. Yesterday I drove the ball very well and put the ball in the fairway, a lot. I was rarely, if ever, in trouble, but my iron game wasn't crisp; that's what I raved about on Thursday, so it came back and bit me. I just didn't give myself a lot of opportunities and I didn't hit enough greens. Just wasn't crisp with my irons.
Today I felt more in control. I felt pretty good with my golf swing. You know, left a couple of putts out there, but you always do here at Augusta.
I'm happy. A little disappointed obviously making the bogey coming in, especially after playing so good on the back nine, 3-under at one time, and had a pretty easy up-and-down there. Just can't able to -- I hit a poor pitch shot. Good putt but too far to go in.

Q. Can you talk a bit about how the course has been set up today? And also, the first to days, in terms of some of the tees, you seem to have gotten a little bit of a break. Can you talk about how the course has been set up?
JIM FURYK: Say that again?

Q. Course setup.
JIM FURYK: Are you saying we all got a break or just me? (Laughter).

Q. No, everybody.
JIM FURYK: I was watching Shingo finish up there, I apologize.
Obviously today, with all of the rain we got last night, it definitely affected the golf course. The ball wasn't rolling as much in the fairways, but it wasn't bad. I wasn't picking up a lot of mud or worried about that. The ball wasn't just plugging right where it hit. But it allowed us to be pretty aggressive into the greens. The greens were very receptive. I think more so than even the first round. I can understand seeing guys shoot some decent scores.
Yesterday, I'm still a little stumped by 11 birdies on that golf course. (Laughter) But it's a testament to how good Anthony is and good of a round that was. But you know, I understand a guy shooting 4- and 5-under par today. It's out there. There's a lot of disaster and catastrophes around every corner on this golf course, and you have to be very careful.
RONALD TOWNSEND: Can you talk about your birdies and club selections, please.
JIM FURYK: My first birdie was on the par 3, No. 4. I hit a 6-iron there, like a three-quarter 6-iron to the right of the pin, I would say about ten to 12 feet. Knocked that in.
I hit a three-quarter 6-iron to the 6th hole, as well and had about six feet for birdie.
Next birdie was at No. 13. I hit a driver and a 3-wood just left of the pin just off the green. Hit a little pitch shot, a good little pitch, to about three or four feet.
Birdied 14, hitting a driver and a 6-iron. 6-iron is a good club today; to about three feet.
And I chipped in on 15. I hit a driver, laid it up, and I'm not carrying my gap wedge this week like I usually do. I put an extra long iron in the bag, and I really put myself in-between clubs where I had to hit about a 100-yard pitching wedge, because it was a little into the breeze, I thought could I get a sand wedge in there and spin it off the green. Hit that little wedge just a touch hard over the back left and left myself a pretty easy pitch and I pitched it in.

Q. Because of the setup of the U.S. Open courses being so much different than it is here, is the mental challenge playing for a championship on the final day going to be different for you tomorrow than it was, say, in the U.S. Open?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think it's a different approach, because the golf courses are different.
But mentally, I don't think there's a big difference. You know that you're in for a grind, you're in for a tough test and you're going to have to be very patient, and know that things are not always going to go your way and you're going to have to gut it out and eventually execute some good golf shots and knock in some putts.
I don't think mentally it's that much different, but you're approaching the golf course a little differently. If conditions continue to be soft, probably going to have to be aggressive in some spots and make some birdies and put up a good number tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about the differences between grinding at the Open and grinding here? You're very much a U.S. Open player but you've had success here before; can you talk about the differences of grinding it out beyond keeping it in the fairway and that kind of thing?
JIM FURYK: The biggest difference is probably the rough. You know, there's severe conditions in both events.
There, it's keeping the ball out of the rough, keeping it in very narrow fairways, very firm greens. You know, the penalty here is the undulation on the greens, or balls, hit a shot that comes up a yard or two short and catches a ridge and before you know it, it's 50 feet downhill to the right and in a spot where you can't get the ball up-and-down. They're both severe but in a much different manner. The penalties are quite different.
I enjoy both tests. Even if you go to like a Pinehurst where they try to shave around the greens, it's still a totally different golf course. They are still dealing with four and 5 and 6 inch rough down the fairway lines and it's just I enjoy both tests of golf. It's just completely different.

Q. If pins are in their normal Sunday spots; how many players realistically are in the hunt? There's a big group at 4-under, including Tiger and Phil, probably six or seven back; is that too far?
JIM FURYK: No. Depends on conditions. You have to wait and see. If conditions are tough and the greens firm up, as I know that they can, they can definitely take some moisture out if need be.
You know, a little wind out there, tough conditions, a good round could get those scores back in it. But I definitely don't want to count those guys out. You see Anthony Kim put up 11 birdies, so it can be done. But that also -- a guy like Cabrera, Kenny Perry if they come in at 11- or 12-under par, they control their destiny as well. If they go out and shoot 4- or 5-under, they take those guys out of play.

Q. Being in The Ryder Cup team room with Chad a good bit over the years, can you talk about his personality? I was just reading a story that basically painted him as one heartbeat above dead in terms of being interesting, which seemed a little unfair to me.
JIM FURYK: He's a very well-liked person. He's not boisterous or loud, but I think people tend to collect around Chad, if that makes sense. If he sits down for lunch, he and his caddie, Judd, are both well liked. People collect around them. They are a lot of fun. Maybe doesn't come out in the media as much. He's a guy's guy, someone you want to hang out with and be around. I've had a lot of fun with him and we've been on trips; I remember the trip to The K Club. I had a very good time with those guys and hanging out and playing cards and goofing around.
I think he's got a lot of personality, actually, quite the opposite.

Q. So many young players coming into the weekend and you look at the leaderboard and it's so experienced. Can you speak to that development and why that might be?
JIM FURYK: I think experience has always played a huge part in this golf tournament. In a sense, I guess Fuzzy would have something to say about that, but usually it takes a while to figure out how to get around this golf course. I understand how a young guy like Anthony, coming out and making 11 birdies, and I'm not saying that it can't be done or a first-timer can't win, but definitely the first or second time you walk away from this golf tournament, a lot of times, the light bulb goes on and you say, wow, I could have played so much better. Hopefully you figure out how to save those shots and how to work your way around the golf course.

Q. Going back to the course for tomorrow, would you rather see it play like it did today for the first couple of rounds, or would you like to see it a little bit tougher and harder to score out there, given the number of players kind of in the mix?
JIM FURYK: I think I'm in a position where it really doesn't matter, if that makes sense. Unless something miraculous happens, I'll be within three or four of the lead. Either way, I'm close enough, if I play a good round tomorrow, I have a chance.
If it plays a little softer and we can be aggressive, I just have to shoot that much lower of a number. If it plays a little firmer, then a lot can happen quickly. But either way, I just have to assess the situation in the morning and again take a look at the putting green and see what it looks like, get out there, see the first couple of holes and you get an idea of what it's playing like and you get an idea of what type of number you have to shoot.

Q. You were right there at Winged Foot and Oakmont; how anxious are you to pick up a second Major championship?
JIM FURYK: I'm anxious, but it's not -- I'll be more comfortable in this position because of those tournaments. I've been in this position before. You're always anxious. I'm sure Tiger's anxious, as many events as he's won.
So if I woke up tomorrow and I wasn't anxious and I wasn't nervous and I wasn't excited, I would be one beat away from dead. (Laughter).
So I look forward to that, and you know, we work hard to wake up on Sunday morning and have a chance to win the Masters, so I'll be excited to do it. I've had a few opportunities two or three times where I woke up on Sunday and I thought I had a chance. This may be as close as I've been, so I'll be looking forward to it.

Q. Given the conditions that you talked about, what are the factors why nobody on the board would go lower than 68?
JIM FURYK: Is that the lowest round?

Q. You tied the low score for the day.
JIM FURYK: Hmm. I guess because I bogeyed 17, how about that?
RONALD TOWNSEND: Thank you and good luck the rest of the week.

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