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April 16, 2010

Jim Furyk


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome our clubhouse leader at 7-under par, Jim Furyk, at the Verizon Heritage. Obviously some place you've had moderate success and place you've played quite a number of times. Talk about your first two rounds here and why you like this event.
JIM FURYK: Well, why I like the event is simple, I like the golf course. I think it's a wonderful track. You've got to work the ball, manipulate it, hit some high shots, low shots, wrap it around trees, you've got the tiny little greens. I enjoy it. And, as you've said, I've played pretty well in the past. I've also missed a bunch of cuts here. It seems to be feast or famine for me. Hopefully this year it's feast. I think I've had a four-year stretch I missed the cut, second, second, missed cut.
So I enjoy it. It's a tough golf course if you're not on your game. If you're not placing the ball in the right spots, it can jump up and get you quick. But I think if you are hitting the ball well, you're placing it in the right spots and playing well, you can really separate yourself from the field.
I'm happy with the first two rounds. I felt like I actually played a little bit better today. But yesterday I putted the ball very, very well. In fact I think I had ten putts on the front side. And it wasn't like I was making a bunch of bombs, but I was just missing the edge of greens, chipping up close. And when I did hit the green, I made a bunch of birdies. The difference today is I felt like I struck the ball well. I felt like I hit good putts out there, but I wasn't able to make as many, and that was the difference.

Q. You mentioned yesterday after the round that you left Augusta behind that Friday afternoon. Is that the way you've always been able to do it, just sort of compartmentalize and get away from it?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I think some things sting, you know. Losing by one at Oakmont, U.S. Open, that might stick around a little longer. But I didn't play the very next week, either, and by the time I got back to playing it's over with, it's done with. I think this game kind of teaches that a little bit. Even the best players and the guys that dominate don't win the majority of the time they tee it up. You get humbled quite a bit. If you can't put that behind you, you know -- you can't put it behind you, forget about it, move on. Even from shot to shot, you hit a bad shot on one day and dump it in the water, you've got to go back the next day and hit the same shot again. You've got to forget about it and make a good swing. That's part of it.
Missing a cut is definitely not the end of the world. Obviously it's The Masters, it's the first Major. I really want to play well there, but it's not life or death. I didn't feel nearly as bad as if I would have almost won the golf tournament and lost it on the last hole, I'll put it that way.

Q. Just following up, Jim, is that something you've had to gradually learn over the years? Is it just your nature to be able to forget about it?
JIM FURYK: Not really. When I play poorly the first thing you kind of go through some stages: First you're angry. And then you're kind of "woe is me," and then for me it's -- it never really lasted that long, and it's not really -- shouldn't feel bad for yourself, because no one really cares. And the next part is really in my mind, what do I need to do to get better? And I had a good practice session. I asked my caddie to go back out to the course Saturday, and let the leaders tee off. We practiced for a couple of hours. I had a good session with him, and got an idea of what I wanted to work on. We're still implementing everything and trying to figure it all out.
But my swing gets a little -- I made some mistakes at Augusta. Not every year, but a lot of years it creeps in. I try to hit the ball too hard. My swing gets very, very long there. I think it's from trying to hit the ball high and trying to hit the ball hard, which is a necessity there. But I hit the ball higher and harder -- my swing is getting nice and tight and compact. But it's not a natural thing for all of us. You've got to hit the ball and get it to stop on the green. You tend to swing harder and longer, and try to help the ball up in the air. So really it wasn't a mechanical issue. It was trying to get in my mind what I wanted to do, and wanted to get my swing a little bit tighter. And hit down through the ball a little bit more.
This course it's a little easier to work on that because you're not worried about hitting the ball hard, you're worried about hitting it really accurately. So I think it's helped me kind of get back to the way that I swing my best.

Q. You played here a number of years, are there any holes that really stand out to you as being favorites that you play unusually well?
JIM FURYK: Not really. Everyone plays 2 pretty well. It's a shorter par-5. You have a chance to reach it if you place it. But, no, I don't think there's -- I really just enjoy the course. Every shot you've got there's an obstacle, there's a tree, there's a limb hanging out. You're just kind of creating. The 18th tee is the only time you can stand out there and you can do whatever you want with the golf ball and it's almost a little unnerving at times, because you look out and all of a sudden there's a field to hit to and you've been hitting down an alleyway for 17 holes.
But, no, I enjoy the golf course. It's a fun place to play. If you get your mind in the right frame, you can come out here and if you think of the creativity and all that, I think it helps you play the golf course better.

Q. A lot of guys here they cite the fatigue factor after a Major, needing a week or two off?
JIM FURYK: I didn't play enough to get tired (laughter).

Q. You generally come here after The Masters each year. Is that another one of those things that you've learned to compartmentalize?
JIM FURYK: I've done better at it some years than others. A couple of years where I had opportunities to win at Augusta, last year being one of them, I probably came here a little bit, you know, head down, shoulders slumped, kicking myself. I played with Chad Campbell on the last round. He was in the playoff. And I played poorly the last day. So I was a little bit -- my attitude probably had a lot to do with it.
This year I'm not very tired. And I had a couple of fun events in between. There's a big party Friday night that I was planning on making a brief appearance for an hour, for one of my sponsors, for Marquis Jet/Diageo, and I ended up staying a few hours and rubbing elbows and hanging with some friends and people that I had a good time with. And then my wife and I Sunday drive to Myrtle and we enjoyed kind of a day and a half together. And I played in an after-The-Masters event and went to their concert Monday night, and had a great time and met a bunch of great people. I got my practice in but also blew off some steam. And when I got here I was in a great frame of mind and ready to go to work.
So I never played in that event before, I'll probably go back because I had a blast.

Q. How much when you come here do you just expect you're going to have to take advantage of your early round, whether it's Thursday or Friday, and just take whatever comes on the weekend?
JIM FURYK: You never know. Yesterday we were pretty fortunate and the wind never really kicked up in the afternoon. The scores were definitely better in the morning, but, you know, you can have days where it's calm for nine holes then the breeze starts to blow and in the afternoon it whips up and all of a sudden it's a different golf course. We were fortunate yesterday in our afternoon round. This morning we got out and the wind was -- there was barely a breeze, if there was. You're almost wishing there's a little bit of a breeze, because you get chewed to death.
But I took advantage of that, made three birdies on the backside. And made a couple of errors on the front. Had a couple of bogeys where I didn't get the ball up and down. But I also hit a lot of very good shots and had some good birdie putts that didn't go in as well.
I felt like I played well. I've never really worried about the morning or the afternoon or how it all falls. When I won at Innisbrook I think I shot 5-under in the afternoon and came back at 2-under the morning the next day, and that was brought up to me afterwards. And I kind of said, well, I realize I shot the lower round in the afternoon, but, heck, it's just a tough golf course. It's not like I can kick it 2-under on that one. I was pretty happy with it. Kind of the same situation, I want to see where the leaders get to today. If it stays calm, and K.J. is playing so well, I expect some of those guys will move out ahead of me and get quite a bit clear.
If it stays difficult, firm and fast, the greens firm up, then, you know, maybe I'll be able to be a little closer. We'll see. I'll obviously be in sight of the leaders tomorrow, I hope, unless K.J. goes crazy. He's playing so well, I don't doubt it. I should be in sight and hopefully close enough to try to make a run this weekend.
CHRIS REIMER: Thanks for coming in, Jim.

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