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July 29, 2009

Jim Furyk


DOUG MILNE: Okay. We'd like to welcome Jim Furyk, 2003 Buick Open champion. Thanks for joining us for a few minutes. You've had a great year, seven Top 10s, you had second at the Memorial, T7 at the National. You're obviously a big fan of this tournament. Just some comments about the state of your game as you're heading into the week.
JIM FURYK: I think my game's in decent shape. I've played well the last two or three months, been pretty consistent, struck the ball pretty well.
I'm comfortable, and I'm comfortable coming to this golf course. I've played well here, enjoy playing here, enjoy the fans here.
The course is relatively tight, not long. Gotta put the ball in play off the tee and have some short irons and some opportunities. I think when I'm playing well, it favors some of my strengths, so I enjoy coming here, but you still have to go out there and execute and play well and you know that guys are going to make a bunch of birdies.
Right now, after the rain, the greens are real soft out here, and it's going to be a birdie fest the first couple days. So it's a catch 22. You know you have to go out there and be aggressive and make some birdies, but you have to be patient as well, instead of forcing the issue.
DOUG MILNE: Take a few questions.

Q. You've had a lot of success up here, and obviously you enjoy playing here. Just talk about this could be the last Buick Open up here. What does that mean to you?
JIM FURYK: Obviously everyone's heard the rumors. You know, I sat at the PAC meeting yesterday, and it wasn't mentioned what was going to happen.
I'd be disappointed because I've played here so many times and played well here for so many years and I enjoy coming. I like the golf course, and the community really supports the golf tournament, and they've been through a difficult time with GM and Buick and everything.
So it would be disappointing from a lot of factors. Just have to wait like everyone else and see what the decision is.

Q. Kind of a follow up to that. You mentioned you played 15 or 16 of these. Tiger mentioned that the closeness of the fans on this course, that year after year he sees the same fans on the same hole. Is that something you noticed, too, seeing the same people here year after year?
JIM FURYK: A lot of the same marshalls on a lot of the same holes.
Yeah. I've seen the fans. Definitely one, maybe two or three different places where the same fans, a lot of the same marshalls on the same holes, same rowdy people on 17.

Q. Is this more in the midst of the other tournaments you play as far as the venue for the fans?
JIM FURYK: It is. I think the golf course itself, there's not a huge golf course we play in a wrapped area or large amount of acreage. So you're going to get fans out there. Fairways are running close and hit some bunkers in between, yeah. Probably they can see it about as close here as anywhere.

Q. Phil said he's returning to the TOUR next week. What are your thoughts on that?
JIM FURYK: I'm happy. I'm happy. I think it probably lends itself to some good news at home, and things must be -- I'm hoping they've had some good news and things are turning for the better.
My first indication is -- again, I haven't spoken to him, but I'm guessing by him coming out he expects to play on the PGA the week after, hopefully his wife is doing well, and I think the fact he's coming out is a good sign that she is.

Q. Can you put in perspective just how much over the years Buick has meant to the PGA TOUR and golf in general?
JIM FURYK: (Indiscernible) to confirm it was true, it's a longstanding title sponsor on the PGA TOUR. They've been a great partner of ours.
Back when we had the title sponsor on the PGA TOUR. So I think we've been a great fit for them, and again, I have no idea what's going to happen here at the end of the year, but I would definitely hope, they've been around for so long, I'd hate to see us lose them as a title sponsor. Hopefully they'll be able to hold on longer.

Q. How does this community embrace this event? Any particular memories of yours from over the years?
JIM FURYK: I think the best thing I can say is that, you know, it's easy to do Chicago o Boston. It's a big deal. It's the PGA TOUR, it's still Tiger Woods and the best golfers in the world.
But you have to go against the Phillies and the Celtics and go on different sports. (Indiscernible) championships, Red Sox and spring training start out their season, so that's going to be a huge deal, and now Tom Brady (indiscernible) player schedule, so hopefully.
And Boston is a big city. It's a much smaller area. You still have some sort of influence that, you know -- the fans here it's a big deal on the PGA TOUR you get that feeling when you're here, and we really thrive in those small-medium size cities, but being here for the PGA, Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra for The Players. You can feel a sense in the crowd because it's a big deal around those towns.

Q. Since it's been moved here, if you could say something to the fans out there, whether it be a warm sentiment, but just your feelings about what the fans have meant to you.
JIM FURYK: I think they make the tournament. It's always been great to come back, have a good time. On Sunday, the hole on 17, the whole day at the golf course. And if you get to the 18, it'll be about three hours there on the golf course. And that kind of support, that kind of commitment from the fans to come out and see us play, yeah. That's what makes a golf tournament special and what the guys enjoy.

Q. Talk about your year this year.
JIM FURYK: I think it's been better since I got off to a little bit of a slow start. I took a lot of time off, only played one or two events in about a four-and-a-half-month span from the end of last fall to this spring.
I needed to recover a little bit and started up a little rusty, a little slow, but I kind of caught my way before summer started.
And this is my favorite part of year anyway, and I played very well this summer. I had a couple -- in fact, quite a few good opportunities to win. So I think the remark there that gets brought up every time you haven't won in a while, and I've had my opportunities this year.
So it's been -- I'm very happy with the way I've been playing, frustrated that I haven't closed the door and I haven't taken advantage of some opportunities.

Q. Tiger's in a similar situation with Major championships. Two 6s. Maybe we're expecting too much out of that guy. He makes it look like he can take a lot of time off. What's your explanation for that?
JIM FURYK: I have no explanation for anything he ever does, put it that way.
Yeah, obviously he's dominated the world of golf for so long now, and done things that either never been done or haven't been done for years, and because of that, the expectations the media and the fans have upon him are definitely too great, and that being said, he still ends up surprising us with some incredible things.
So yeah, you've expected, if you don't win, it's a major catastrophe, and it's hard to do that. As far as I guess in the Majors, he's played not up to his level this year, and I guess he's played well before at a lot of them. He's won the event before most of the Major championships.

Q. (Indiscernible).
JIM FURYK: He's won two weeks prior to the major championships. So that would be a conversation to hold with Tiger.
I have no idea. If I can get into his head and figure out how he prepared for all those tournaments, it would definitely be a positive thing, but obviously he's the best at peaking when needed. And if he hasn't done so the last two or three majors, he still has a much better record by far than anyone else in trying to do so.

Q. You talk about the next couple days out here might be a birdie fest. Is there any sense that maybe this course is too easy for PGA players?
JIM FURYK: Too easy? I would say, no. It's not the case. I mean a lot of it -- you know, you're going to shoot low scores. Basically the golf course is always in perfect condition, and probably why it plays as one of the shorter golf courses we play out here.
So we're going to get a lot of short irons in our hands, and we're going to get some opportunities and the golf course and the greens are really good. Someone is going to hit the ball in the fairway, give themselves opportunities to knock those putts in. But saying it's too easy, I wouldn't say that.
I would say if you're not patient, you go out there and you start trying to driver, hit drivers in places you shouldn't you don't drive that ball very accurately, it can jump up and bite you. We've all seen those scores shot.
I don't think it's too easy. Scores are low, but it's always in perfect shape. It's summertime and thunderstorms are around, so greens are moist. We can be pretty aggressive and that always gives low scores.
Greens are a little bit firmer and faster, scores wouldn't be also 6-under would be a pretty decent score.
You know, 3-under and maybe not as much as he did.

Q. Jim, forgive me if you've already answered this, but given the birdie fest we seem to see out here, do you have any other mindset coming into a tournament like this than you do most other stops on the Tour and do you have a number in mind at the beginning of the week you think it might take based on the conditions?
JIM FURYK: No, I really don't. Maybe Sunday morning you start picking out a number you might have to get to. But mindset, yeah, you really know you're going to have to shoot under par and you're going to have to have -- you might be able to get -- if you don't quite go that low, but you're going to have to have two pretty solid scores, maybe one low one and one decent round to have a chance to win the golf tournament.
You have to be thinking about making birdies and just be patient. If you go out there haphazardly and trying to go at pins and birdie every hole, you're never going to make it. You have to be patient and chip away, and sometimes that's really hard to do. You can get frustrated when you go out there and play five or six holes and make a bunch of pars and you look at the leaderboard and think, oh, my goodness gracious. But you have to be patient, have holes out there you're going to have opportunities and get some solid shots and try to take advantage of it.

Q. What do you remember best from the week that you did win here?
JIM FURYK: When you win a golf tournament, I think you remember down the stretch. Does that make sense?
I remember 16, 17, 18 really well, remember what was going through my mind. That's probably what I remember the most is the Back 9 and those last three holes when I really had control of the tournament. Definitely good numbers.
DOUG MILNE: Okay, Jim. Thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

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