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September 24, 2010

Jim Furyk


KIN LO: Welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room, co-leader for the tournament so far. Jim, maybe you could take us through your round today as well as your perspective going into Saturday and Sunday.
JIM FURYK: You know what, obviously a good round, scored very well today. Yesterday I hit a bunch of fairways, a bunch of greens.
Today I think I hit a bunch of greens but not as many fairways. I was a little wild off the tee but managed to get the ball around the green or on it, get up-and-down or make a long two-putt and get out of dodge with a bunch of pars today and also six birdies, chipping in on 1 and a couple of those on par-3s, as well.
Overall I went out and made six birdies today. Very happy with the round, and tied for the lead and in great position for the weeKINd. So now the goal is to go out there tomorrow.
Yesterday I said all I want to do was think about the next day, try to shoot a round in the 60s, I'll be doing the same thing tonight, try to shoot another round in the 60s and put myself in the hunt.

Q. I remember last year you were saying I think you hadn't won but there was a scenario in which you could have won the FedExCup. This year that's not an issue. When you look at it, how much does that $10 million play on your mind, if at all?
JIM FURYK: Right now I'm worried about -- I mean, it's there. It's a bunch of money, and obviously this being an early -- we're only in our fifth year, is that right, fourth year? It just seems like five, it's gone so fast. It's only the fourth year. There isn't a lot of history. You can't date back to 1937. Dangling a big carrot at the end obviously has gotten everyone's attention because that's what everyone is talking about.
The only thing I can really control is to go out and play good on the weeKINd, try to win the golf tournament, and at that point there's nothing else I can do about it.
You know, late on Sunday if any of us have a chance to win, projections say we're going to win the FedExCup if we do, I'm sure it would -- it's a lot of money. I'm sure it'll weigh on your mind. What did Zinger say, the only thing that ever made him choke was money and major championships? I think it would weigh on your mind, but we're at the halfway point.
Tomorrow it's not going to be an issue and I'm not going to be worried about the projections that are up there on the leaderboards.

Q. Would you like to join Tiger as the only FedExCup champion to skip the first event?
JIM FURYK: I would, I would. I don't know about -- I'd like to join him with about 16 majors, too, but that doesn't look like it's in the cards.

Q. I ran into your dad out there wandering around. He said that the day that the Barclays thing came down he was lined up to have hip replacement surgery and you had to call him and give him that bad news. That must have been an interesting conversation.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, he was. He was having surgery on Wednesday, so I kind of let him know before I hopped in a plane. He was going to hear it eventually. It was going to be on ESPN or someone somewhere was going to mention it to him, so I wanted him to hear it from me, and I wished him well. And about the time I landed at home he was getting out of surgery, so I was trying to call mom and make sure everything went well. It became more important.

Q. A lot of guys are struggling out there. There's kind of a large separation between the top few guys and everyone else. What's the difference, or can you figure out what the difference is --
JIM FURYK: About four shots, I think. (Laughter.)
I really don't know. It puts the three of us in the driver's seat. If we continue to -- there is a lot of golf to be played, but if we continue to play well, it'll narrow the margin for how many guys can catch up. But those guys are only four shots back. 36 holes, that's nothing. But I like the position of being a front runner and being in control a little bit and trying to keep pushing, make the other guys catch you rather than being the guy in the chase.

Q. This tournament is the culmination of a long hard year for you on the golf course. How badly do you want to win this?
JIM FURYK: I want to win every week to be honest with you. We show up and there's a few things. I want to win every week I tee it up. I've won twice this year, I've had a great year, but I've probably lost 20 times now. So that's humbling.
But I love East Lake. I'd really like to win on this golf course because I think it's a good golf course, and I've never won the TOUR Championship on TOUR. I've had two or three really good opportunities. Lost by one a couple of times that I remember. It might have been more. But I've never won the season-ending event, so that would be nice, as well.

Q. Bubba Watson said that in part this was great practice ahead of the Ryder Cup next week. Is that a sentiment you share?
JIM FURYK: The golf course is in very good shape. I think it's playing somewhat severe with the greens being very quick, a lot of undulation, fairways are tight so you have to drive it well. It's tough to get the ball on the green. I think it's a very demanding golf course. Right now it's testing a lot of areas of our game, so in that way, not ever playing Celtic Manor, not knowing much about the golf course other than what I've heard from Corey, it's hard to say if this course will be great preparation.
But the way I look at it is first and foremost, worry about this golf tournament and the FedExCup, and as I said, Sunday night I'll turn the switch and start immediately worrying about the Ryder Cup. No matter what, though, playing a golf course of this caliber, no matter what next week looks like, I think it'll be good preparation because our games will be sharp or should be.

Q. In the aftermath of the Barclays, did you have more sympathy or catch more grief from your peers, and if you did get any grief, was it -- did you take it in good stride? Was it funny?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I've always been able to kind of laugh at myself, and the only way to handle that situation was to really make fun of myself. I mean, it was my fault. I think people also -- I said immediately, if I whined or complained or anything about the rule, it's just going to make me look worse. My peers actually did plenty of that for me, so I think it was probably somewhat sympathetic with you all and then probably, and they gave me my due crap, as well, which I deserved.

Q. Best line?
JIM FURYK: I don't know. I don't know. I can't remember. Hundreds of people told me that I was going to get alarm clocks for Christmas, so that one got beat in pretty good. But I heard one saying, the over-under was 11 on the alarm clocks. They took the under.

Q. Have you noticed in some of the short fields you've played in, here or Sherwood or Sun City that you're getting separation like this for 36 holes, and why do you think that is?
JIM FURYK: Because there's less players. I think 150 players, they tend to bunch up more, and as the week goes on they tend to spread out here. Here they start to spread earlier, but I think there's less players to fill in those gaps. Maybe that's a bad answer.

Q. It's your answer.
JIM FURYK: Mathematically it seems like a good reason.

Q. I frankly wondered with some guys, especially lower in the standings here, or even at Sun City, if you're falling eight, nine, ten shots behind, you're not grinding as hard as you would.
JIM FURYK: Well, Sun City and Chevron have a little different feeling in that it's a little bit more relaxed. You get up there in the top 5 or 6 over the weeKINd, things get a little bit more serious, but when you fall back to the last four it doesn't matter if you shoot 65 or 75 because the difference in pay is basically nothing. Guys tend to have a couple beers, watch the football game, go out. I can see the separation a little bit easier that way. You're still trying hard, but it's a little bit more relaxed atmosphere.

Q. Do you think it's different here at the bottom, 20th in the standings and 3-over right now?
JIM FURYK: I don't know. I mean, I can say that I've been 20th in this event coming down the stretch, and yeah, I'm not as tight on 16, 17 and 18, which is a tough finish, as when I had a chance to win. And it's not nearly as fun. You're kind of, say, going through the motions, but you're kind of kicking yourself because it's no fun to be in 20th place in a field of 30. It's a lot more fun being in contention.
But I still -- guys are trying hard. Very few guys I've ever played with have.

Q. I have a feeling, from what I hear, your fellow contender in the back of the room is going to be staying up late to watch the Aussie rules football later tonight. I wonder if that's going to be a distraction for you later tonight.
JIM FURYK: No, I can't tell you who's playing. I watched the Miami-Pitt game last night, but other than that I don't know who's on tonight.
KIN LO: Jim, thanks, and good luck tomorrow.

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