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December 6, 2009

Jim Furyk


DOUG MILNE: All right. We'd like to welcome the 2009 Chevron World Challenge champion, Jim Furyk, to the interview room here. Jim, great playing today, 5-under 67 hat's off by a nice clutch birdie at the end which proved to be the putt that you needed to seal the victory. Just a couple of comments on the win. Obviously it's been a couple of years dating back to Canada in '07, which I think they said was a 54-hole tournament, worldwide tournament stretch. So just a couple of comments on how it feels to be back in the winner's circle.
JIM FURYK: Obviously it feels really good. I joked about it on the 18th green. I think my only win since Canada was a Grand Slam last year, you know, four-player field. So to go out there and play against a good field of 18 players, and really after six weeks off I came in here with pretty low expectations. I hadn't played a lot of golf, didn't feel like I was really playing all that well, to be honest with you, but the great thing about six weeks off was after the year we've had, going through the Playoffs schedule, go through Presidents Cup, we played a ton of golf. I was tired. I really wanted to get away for a while, and when you do and you come back, you're just in a good frame of mind.
I struggled with my putting the first two rounds. I hit the ball very well, especially the second round, I hit the ball really crisp and didn't get a lot out of it. I only shot 71, and putted very poorly. But having all that time off, I kind of instead of looking at the bad end of it, I just tried to figure it out. It's six or seven weeks until I start my season on the PGA TOUR and get a direction of stuff to work on, and you know, ended up hitting the ball great yesterday, shot 67, putted a little bit better, get out there today and I actually felt pretty comfortable with the putter in my hand. And boiled down to basically making some putts on the Back 9, and making the 8 on 17 and stealing a par basically.
I hit basically two poor shots on the Back 9, the bad pull. I was in a little bit of a divot on the 14 fairway and hit a bad pull way left of the green and took a pitch shot, about a 6-footer I hit a good putt on. I needed to hit that 8-iron 17 pretty solid and I caught it, just came up and cut it short rolled back in the bunker, put it in a place where you just can't allow yourself to hit it there. You hit it 20 feet past the pin is a par with the position I was in.
I was trying to be a little cute, hit it in there stiff, a little thin. And in order to win some golf tournaments, though, you have to get some good breaks, and making that putt, it was the putt I'm trying to get up there, if I can get inside three feet, I feel like I've hit a great putt, and I'm really just concentrating on trying to get it up there around the hole, tap it in, and limit the damage to a bogey. And hit a great putt, and it was down in the middle of the hole.
So obviously it was kind of just a deep sigh of relief that that ball went in, and you know, I knew at that point, again, it was still my tournament to win, and to go out there and played very aggressively down the stretch with my club selection.
And on the 15th tee there, a catastrophe can happen on the way in or you can play those last four holes 3 or 4-under pretty easily, and I decided to play the last four very aggressively as far as trying to hit it in there close to 15. I hit it a little long, but 16, took a driver. 18, take a driver, and get it way down there off the tee. And the aggressive shot at 17 kind of stung me, but I was able to make that long putt and get away with it.
DOUG MILNE: With that we'll go ahead and open it up for questions.

Q. Jim, first of all, congratulations. Does it feel leak a couple of years to you?
JIM FURYK: No. It feels like about 10. It feels like a long time, and every time I've been to the media room, whether it's for pretournament, whether it's for playing pretty well and coming close, it's something we talk about, and I'm actually openly talking about it for the last half a year because it seems to break the ice a little bit where you all don't have to ask. I know you want to.
And you know, until I win on the PGA TOUR it's going to keep coming up. You know, it's been two full seasons. I kind of prided myself on all those years in a row where I had won a golf tournament outside of '04 where I was injured, and you know, it's been two seasons where I haven't, so obviously the goal is to not let that happen again.

Q. Followup to that, now that you can look back on the week, how different was it, the atmosphere without the host here?
JIM FURYK: Well, obviously the best player in the world, the host and his foundation, you know, being the beneficiary and running this golf tournament, obviously it has a different feeling.
I think that I expected to field and answer a lot of questions would be asked about Tiger a lot this week, and it really hasn't -- I can honestly say not one person has asked me for a quote or an opinion or anything like that. So I appreciated that, and he and his wife are friends of mine, and as friends, you know, you want to support them and wish them the best. Tough times. So they need the support of their friends right now, and I know that people are thinking about them.

Q. Last year, playing in the final group you had round, 72nd hole was an adventure for you. Was that in your mind when you were standing on the 18th tee?
JIM FURYK: No. All the years seem to run together. And I forgot that, to be honest with you, whether it's ignorance or a quarterback mentality where you just kind of let it go and forget about it.
I know I hit some bad shots when I played that hole poorly before, but I didn't remember that it was last year. In fact, I would have thought it was two years ago that I didn't play well.
I've had some opportunities to win this golf tournament, two really good opportunities, and didn't take advantage of the Back 9, and I played the Back 9 fantastic this week. I think if I was 13-under, I was probably at least 10 on the back, maybe 11. So I always felt like going into the 10th tee with that three par-5s, couple of short holes where I could take advantage of the wedges, I always had a good feeling going into the Back 9 and played very well this week.

Q. The TV was making a small deal about you being in a red shirt and black pants. Coincidence?
JIM FURYK: They're brown pants actually. (Laughs). And the stripe on my shirt is brown, so -- shoes were brown and the belt was brown.
No, it's an outfit that actually I've worn a bunch this year. I don't really think the red and brown go that well all together, but I always really liked the shirt and the outfit, so hopefully it does better than I thought.
But no, I didn't mean to make a statement or anything like that. I also thought back to the last time I won Canada. I don't wear red a lot, if you notice that. I have one shirt in my closet, and I really do like this shirt. It's one of my favorites in the line, and the last time I won was in Canada and I wore red on Sunday that day as well, so maybe I need to start. But no, I didn't mean to make a statement or didn't really think about it.
So you like the outfit? I'm curious what my grade was.

Q. I'm not sure that brown works either, but as far as you're concerned, it does.
JIM FURYK: Got ya.

Q. Your bunker shot on 17, what were your options there, where you hit it about the only way you had?
JIM FURYK: I had really no play, honestly. I couldn't get that ball close. If you gave me 50 balls, I might be able to skip one off the front fringe.
It just wasn't the time with a one-shot lead to try to do anything heroic. I wanted to put the ball on the green, and you saw me walk up there and look around. I wanted to see where the easiest place on that green to putt to the hole would be from.
And I basically felt like I wanted to keep it out of that swail behind the pin. It's tough to get your speed where you gotta come up a little bit down from the pin, and I felt also if I didn't hit just perfect, it could go through that swail under the rough, and I felt like my only option was the back side of the green. And I looked it and I said I can putt from here and get out of here, and I really just focused on trying to make sure I got that ball out of the bunker. I don't think I've ever hit it down there, but that is a very steep hill.

Q. What did you hit?
JIM FURYK: It was a 9-iron. Best shot I hit all day, by far, and I hit it flush.

Q. How long did it fly?
JIM FURYK: Probably 40 feet, close to. It was over 30. I know that. It was probably 35, 40 feet. The green's not all that big. I mean depth wise, but this was 35, 40 feet. I covered all of it.

Q. Talk about your West Coast schedule next year and your plans.
JIM FURYK: My plans right now are to start my season in LA, come back here, play the LA Open, go up to Pebble Beach, play there, and then the Match Play. So basically almost identical as I did last year. I started at Pebble, LA, Match Play last year, but the one event that I really, really missed that I've played a lot in my schedule was Sony and because I didn't win this year, I decided to kind of take it easy through the holidays again and relax.
Last year was -- I can remember so many years where we had Christmas and everything was great, and I woke up on the 26th and went to work, you know, started beating balls. It's nice not to have that urgency and enjoy the holidays a little bit more and spend time with the family.

Q. Jim, a couple of years ago Davis Love won this. He had had a drought similar to yours and came in to win this tournament and went on to win some the following year. Does this take any pressure off in your own mind about that whole winning streak?
JIM FURYK: No. There's still a streak because everyone's still going to say on the PGA TOUR next year. January everyone's going to forget that I won this golf tournament and they're going to still say I hadn't won on the PGA TOUR. And that's fine. It is what it is.
It bothers me, but I only have one person to blame, and that's myself. And it would bother anyone in my position, so the goal is to go and work hard. I've identified some problems I've had in this past year and things that I need to work on.
Putting was one of them as far as consistency. A few things in my full swing and my short game that I really want to work on, so I've identified some of those problems. I feel like I've set the fix or the -- I'm trying to -- I'm at a loss for words. But I've kind of set in motion the way I'm kind of planning on attacking those problems, and I feel like some of them showed this week, and if I can just keep fine-tuning those and improving, it'll be all right.

Q. You mentioned as the week went on, you got a little more comfortable with the putter kind of every day. Was that a matter of knocking off the rust or was it a matter of seeing the greens?
JIM FURYK: The greens were a little quicker than what I saw at home, and I was putting on what I thought were pretty fast greens at home before I left, but these were a foot faster and I think I was a little tentative earlier, which is never a good thing.
And I made some poor strokes. I've been battling the putter off and on for the last few years, to be honest with you, and I've had weeks where -- I've had weeks and months where I felt great and then I'd kind of fall back into the same bad habits, so I have some issues I need to attack and things that I want to improve upon.

Q. No one really knows when Tiger will be back, won't play again till next year, obviously, whether that's January or the Masters. I guess when does this TOUR need him back?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think from the TOUR's perspective, obviously you know, the PGA TOUR would like to see him come back as soon as possible. He usually starts the year at Torrey Pines, I guess.
But you know, Tiger's going to play 18 events a year, 15 to 18 events a year. I think whether that starts at Torrey or it starts in Florida or Augusta, wherever it may start, I don't really think -- he's still going to play the 15 to 18 events. He's still going to be the key player, and all is well.
I think from his perspective as a friend, I think he's gotta think of his family and himself first, and when the time is right, he'll be back.
DOUG MILNE: All right. Anything else? Well, Jim, congratulations. Enjoy your time off.

End of FastScripts

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