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March 21, 2010

Jim Furyk


DOUG MILNE: We would like to welcome the 2010 Transitions Championship winner, Jim Furyk.
Jim, I know you've been asked a lot and you made quite a cute comment over there that your last win was 2 1/2 years ago, and you said, actually it was about 20 minutes ago.
JIM FURYK: Well, about 33 now.
DOUG MILNE: 33 minutes now. Congratulations on the win, and if you would make a couple of comments on how it feels to get back to the winner's circle.
JIM FURYK: It feels good. It's had a little time to sink in now, but that emotion that pours in on the 18th green right when you finish, I attached that 1-up there and got it within an inch and K.J. still had to putt, I think that's when the emotion hits you.
I made it difficult, there's no doubt. I played very, very well today, and I didn't at times get the ball in the hole very well. I made three bad plays on the par 3s where I didn't get down in two with the putter, and actually 18, it was rough to say the least. Bad swings, bad decision.
It all worked out in the end, and I played -- for 14 holes today, I played phenomenal golf. Really, really played well, hit the ball super, was in control of my game, and I think my nerves bothered me out there a few times, and I had a few ghosts. I had that same pin last year on 17, and I hit it in that bunker and I think I left it in the rough and I chipped it by, maybe 3-putted, I made a five or a six, something big.
So my whole idea was to put the ball in the center of the green and avoid that bunker. Sure enough, I made an awful swing and let my mind get the better of me and put it right in the same place I did the year before.
Went in there and dug out a good bunker shot, made a great putt. It seemed like every time today K.J. got close from his good play or any time that I had one of those 3-putts or one of those mistakes, I was able to bounce right back and hit some really good shots, make a bunch of birdies and get some more distance.
And then as soon as I got the distance, I went back to making that same mistake again; or, he played well. And the start that he had today was phenomenal.
And my whole idea, my whole plan today was to go out and shoot 1- or 2-under par on both sides, play a really good round of golf in the wind. And I felt like if I go out there and shoot 2- to 4- under, I make them shoot 5- to 7- (under), and I just didn't think it was out there on this golf course today.
I didn't want to wait for someone else, and in hindsight, he went out and birdied four of the first six, and I didn't birdie one. So I kind of started thinking maybe that 5- to 7-under is out here.
I just -- I'm rambling. So I can't tell you how happy I am. I wish I would have -- hindsight, I wish I would have stamped it out and knocked it right in the center of the 17th green, right in the center of the 18th green and got it out there in style. But my family likes to tell me I never do that, I make it interesting, and once again I did.
DOUG MILNE: We'll open up to questions.
JIM FURYK: I think I covered everything in there.

Q. Can you talk about just the nerves you feel on 18; is it all comparable to early wins in your career?
JIM FURYK: Somewhat. Somewhat. You have stuff that flashes back. I mentally made some mistakes on the way in on 17 and 18. I made some bad swings physically.
But I think they were due more to mentally what was going through my head and how I approached it. 18, the only place I could really hit it and get in a lot of trouble was probably left, you get something goofy happening in those bunkers and I had not hit that driver left all week, I don't know why I let that enter my mind. You figure if you're going to make a bad swing, you make it on 16, and I made a really good swing with the driver there.
18, I actually had a new set of irons in this week and a new driver in play this week, and the irons were absolutely fantastic. I had a putter that was in for a couple weeks, but it was an old one, so I had a lot of confidence in what I was doing but 18 went awry, I guess that's all I can say. Should have made a better swing.

Q. Which side of the tree did you mean to aim at, did you mean to come out on the left of the tree or the right of it?
JIM FURYK: There was an alley, I was kind of aiming at the front right of the green, just trying to saw off a cut and hit it short right there. The reason I wanted to get it up the fairway was I knew -- goofy things go through your mind. If I had to do it over again, I would chip it out and leave a sand wedge or pitching wedge.
But you take that, you hit it past the pin and leave yourself the putt that Goose had last year where it's tough to lag it down there. And because the wind was kicking up, in all that win, if I knocked it 20, 25 feet past the pin, which was pretty easy to do with the bunker on the front, now I've got a tough 2-putt.
I was trying to knock it up there short right where I was chipping straight up the hill, nothing in my way, bump it right up there leave it right under the hole and get out of there. In hindsight, I wouldn't have hit -- I got lucky because the second shot was off-line. I don't know if I hit a root or what I did, but I basically half-shanked it. There was definitely a hosel in there but I'm not sure if I hit in the ground, or once I hit it and I saw it got past that bunker and was in rough and I had a great lie over there and a perfect ankle, which is the best thing; so again, I could leave it short right, the bunker wasn't in the way and I didn't have to worry about any of that.
So it turned out great, but it could have turned out very, very bad.

Q. You weren't trying to purposely hit K.J. on the way, he said it buzzed right past it, he said it looked like a flying moon.
JIM FURYK: I didn't even know that. Honestly there were a lot of people over there and once I hit it, everyone caved in and I didn't even look at the ground to see if I had hit anything or just -- it was kind of surrounded in leaves and I would have loved to have gone in there and brushed some stuff away but no sense in taking a risk with that ball moving or something like that.
So I had a feeling that there was a good chance there was going to be some stuff trapped in between the face of the ball, which I wasn't happy about. Again, in hindsight, 17 years out here, I should have put that ball in the middle of the fairway, 110 yards away and played from there.

Q. You mentioned 17 a year ago what happened, when you hit it into that same bunker, what are you thinking about when you're walking toward the bunker? You said you didn't want to hit in there and now you're hitting in there --
JIM FURYK: Don't ask. (Laughter) I knew that I had no angle on the pin. There was some moisture on the greens. I was into the wind; that helped. So there was some things that were going for me this year. But I knew that I was going to have -- and you get in the bunker and it was washed out a little about it from the rain.
It kind of felt muddy underneath my shoes, so it came out a touch stickier. It looked like it probably landed on the fringe or in the short cut there, plus I was trying to fly it up on the green. But it came out kind of thick when the club went through there. But I felt if I could just get it in there 15 feet or in, I was going to be a little left of the pin because that was really the only angle had, but 15 feet or in it would be a great shot. Worst-case scenario, I would probably still have the lead at the end of the hole.
So I wanted to go in there and give myself a chance and when I knocked it up there eight or ten feet and knocked in the putt. Obviously going into 18 with a three -shot lead rather than one is a big deal.

Q. Now that you have won again, could you share any insight into whether you actually doubted that you could win again out here after the long drought?
JIM FURYK: No, I didn't doubt it. I've had too many opportunities and played too well, and I won at Chevron. I never doubted that I would win again, but if it happened -- but I felt -- I felt like I have a lot of golf left in me and I feel like I'm still at the top of the peak of my career. How many more years that will last for, who knows, but I felt like I have way more golf tournaments.
I was disappointed that I had it -- really disappointed in myself the last 2 1/2 years that I had not won, and it was definitely -- and I told you, like I said, be honest with you, it bothers me. It bothers me a lot because that's the goal every week. And you know, I've accomplished a lot, and feel very fortunate and blessed on where I am in the game as far as playing on Ryder Cup teams and Presidents Cup teams and I wouldn't trade that for anything because I love those events. And I've been able to do a lot of things -- right now what's really important to me is trying to win golf tournaments, and not being able to do that for 2 1/2 years weighed on me. It bothered me.
It didn't bother me that y'all mentioned it. It didn't bother me that y'all reminded me about it because I realize that's part of it, you've got to sit there and answer the question. But it bothered me that I had not won, and I knew that the only one that can fix that is me.

Q. The putt on 12?
JIM FURYK: That green was good to me on the weekend. I won't say it was a conservative shot because hit it over the flag, aiming right of the flag. But that hole for some reason has played long for me all week. I've had a ready had a time early in the week, Thursday and Friday, had a hard time getting the ball in the hole the in the Pro-Am I didn't get the ball in the hole.
I think I overclubbed a little bit the last two days to make sure I got the ball up there, but was able to make two long putts. I made a great swing on the next hole and I just remember that putt being so quick, and then I left it like six feet short.
A little bit of a head game out there I think with the greens, too, because with the moisture they slowed up significantly from yesterday and it was tough to get yourself -- it was tough for me to get myself to hit some of those longer putts and the downhill putts, but from 25 feet and in, it was comfortable, because you could be a little bit more aggressive and not be afraid of rolling it four or five feet by like I did yesterday.

Q. With the history of K.J. having won this tournament twice before --
JIM FURYK: I had not known that actually.

Q. Did it get in your head at all today?
JIM FURYK: I didn't know he won twice. Have be to honest with you. I don't know who won every golf tournament on the PGA TOUR this year, I promise you that. I know he won. I know Retief won last year. And I'm drawing a blank now but Carl was in at eight, and you all had mentioned there were three guys at 8-under par chasing that had won this golf tournament.
But I didn't realize Retief won it twice and K.J. won it twice, they told me that on the way to the awards ceremony. Did not know that. Obviously like the golf course and feel comfortable here.
There's definitely horses for courses, but I was fortunate yesterday, I played so well and I got myself in there with a three-shot lead and I feel very comfortable with that. I like being the front runner and ahead and controlling my destiny.

Q. What's the model of the putter and can you talk about the group?
JIM FURYK: I'm not sure this it has a model. It's a Scotty Cameron. It says Jim Furyk 2000 on it. I'm pretty sure he made it for me in 2000. It's been in a closet for, I don't know, probably played it through 2000, 2001, maybe some of 2002. It's been in the closet for eight years, I'm sure.

Q. When did you start using it again?
JIM FURYK: Doral. The week before Doral I was practicing at home and put it back in play, and the grip is something I've been doing all year and starting to draw attention, the grip is turned upside-down. The bottom is on the top and the top is on the bottom. But still the flap is still on the front. I just cut off the bottom part of the grip, made it about eight and a half inches long, because my hands fir very comfortably in that and I core out the butt of it and turned it around and put the butt side on first.

Q. Do you like having the fatter part under your hand?
JIM FURYK: My dad is my teacher and we talked over the winter and I told him I wasn't happy with the way I was putting. We started talking and he said, "What's bothering you?"
I said, "I'll be dead honest with you. My hands are not comfortable on the club. I feel like I'm not comfortable3 at address."
He said, "What's not comfortable?"
I said, "It starts with my grip. My grip and my hands are not comfortable."
We started talking about why and where in my hand I wanted to kind of feel the grip. And I don't know why he thought about it, but he said, "Have you ever thought about turning it upside-down? " And I kind of laughed because it sounded so crazy.
And I said, "Why would I want to do that?"
And he said, "Well, your hands are on backwards, your hand is on the low side instead of the top. And that would kind of put the grip in the same part of your hands it would put everyone else in from conventional." And I laughed and I also told him that was not going to work, like most kids tell their parents.
But I went home that night and tried it and flipped it around. Now that's the only grip I've putted with since. I started the year in L.A. in February with that and haven't changed. It is much, much more comfortable for me. It helps me get the putter more in the lifeline of my right hand and kind of my hand more square through the target, which is a big help.

Q. We see so many guys go to teachers and gurus and whatever, and you and your dad, obviously, what's it mean to have that relationship and go to him and talk about whatever is ailing you or your game?
JIM FURYK: I think from -- we definitely have many facets in our relationship as far as teacher and student, father and son. I'm very friendly with my parents, so we have a bunch of different relationships, basically, all wrapped into one.
He was -- my dad was a golf professional and taught the game, and then he took a job as a sales representative and sold golf equip. I had good instruction and I had good equipment, but more importantly, there's no one that cares more than your family.
No one is going to worry about me more than my wife and my kids and my mother and my father, and so to have him looking out for me and him -- we do some business together. He kind of keeps an eye on the books, and he also keeps on eye on my game. No one is going to care more than, like I say, I go home and kiss my wife and kids, and no one cares about me more or loves me more than those people and same thing with my parents. It's great to have someone always thinking about you and always trying to help you get better, that cares that much. So it means a lot to me.

Q. Curious what your reaction is to having Tiger Woods do an interview on two networks about his life while you were putting out to win this tournament?
JIM FURYK: What were the networks.

JIM FURYK: Shoot, no one was watching me then. (Laughter).
You know what, it's probably a natural progression. You know what, tomorrow the paper is going to read that I won the golf tournament, and I don't really care if it's a three-page spread or a little blurb in the corner of the paper because the article is about him. I won the damn thing and it really doesn't matter to me. I've never been someone that's craved the notoriety or the limelight. I can live with it and I'm fine with it. Some day it's all going to go away, and I'll be fine with that, as well.
As far as what Tiger's going through, he obviously, it would have been anyone, it could have been anyone that was sitting here, so I don't take that from a personal standpoint, and he's got a natural progression of things that he's got to do before he tees it up at Augusta.
You know, face-to-face with the camera and addressing the public, and answering some of the questions, I think was part of that natural progression before he comes back. I was actually given a transcript, that's what I was reading when I walked in. I only got through like the first page of three, and it's actually very interesting reading. So I will finish it later.
I wish him well. I understand, because I understand that -- I was told that I would probably be asked the question; here is what happened and here is the transcript, pretty much the same stuff that we already knew, but I think it's good for him to get his face out there and have people see him. They are going to make their judgments, but I think it allows him to kind of move on and get focused for the next thing.

Q. Have you spoken to your dad tonight, and two, since you have that lovely home in Maui, it seems like there would be more pressure on you to win to get back to playing that event, any truth to that?
JIM FURYK: I have not spoken to any of my family. They have kept me actually very busy to this point. So I'm a little anxious to get to the phone and call.
As far as the pressure on Maui, I wouldn't say there's more pressure. I used to try to spend a little more time there than we are now, with where my kids are and my life and school, it's very difficult for us to get to Maui. We have actually, as most of you all know, we have put that house up for sale a long time ago. So actually it would be even nicer if I could stay somewhere else, because that would mean it's sold by next January. But chances are we'll probably be staying in that house the way things are going.

Q. When did you put it up for sale?
JIM FURYK: I don't remember to be honest with you. It's probably been a year and a half I would guess. Beats me. As you can tell, I don't really pay much attention to that kind of stuff. I just try to play golf and be a good dad.

Q. Your thoughts on the quality of the tournament, the best field of a regular TOUR event so far this year; winning here this week, against such a quality field?
JIM FURYK: I was asked earlier in the week about the field and what I thought and honestly I never walk into the locker room and go down to see who is here.
But now that you're around all week, it was a very good field. I think that there's always a few things that draw good fields or a lot of players or a lot of notoriety to an event. It starts first and foremost with the golf course. Same thing with Quail Hollow in North Carolina, that's become one of our best events in a very short period of time, because it's a great golf course.
The guys walk out of here, whether they have played well or not, and you know, it's a good golf course. It's a good, solid test. The people are friendly. Transitions has done a great job for this tournament. It was a Fall event for a while and the guys liked it so much and they moved it up and put it in the spring as part of our FedExCup schedule.
Definitely, bar none, easily one of the Top-10 courses we play all year, and much better than that. There isn't a player on TOUR that wouldn't call this one of the Top-10 courses. That's why the players want to come and that's why the field is strong, and you know, actually I'm pretty proud of that fact that I've played on a very difficult golf course against a lot of good players and was able to win. So it's a boost of confidence.
DOUG MILNE: Jim, congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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