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September 25, 2010

Jim Furyk


CHRIS REIMER: We welcome our third round leader Jim Furyk here to the media center. Start with some opening comments about the conditions today. I think you said outside that at the beginning of the day you didn't necessarily think that even par would keep you atop the leaderboard.
JIM FURYK: Early in the day, the wind really wasn't blowing, there really wasn't much of a breeze. The scores just by looking seemed to be a little bit higher today than they've been the first couple days. I don't know if that's true or not. But I don't really have an explanation for why. I didn't think the conditions were all that much tougher. There was some very difficult pin placements out there.
But I played a good, solid round of golf. I struggled with really getting some momentum. Had a bunch of pars on the front, had some opportunities for birdies and a couple putts didn't go in, hit a couple bad putts. Just kind of plodded along.
But real consistent, I hung tough today, got a little momentum going there on 14 and 15 with some birdies and just a good solid round of golf.
Yeah, I wouldn't have thought even par would have kept me in the lead. I would have thought it would have kept me in the hunt and kept me close, but kind of doing what I have to right now to get the ball in the hole and to score. I feel confident about my game and in good shape tomorrow, so I'm going to go out there and fire a good number. I kind of tightened up today with shooting under par.
CHRIS REIMER: Talk about the different things that are on the line tomorrow and preparing yourself for the final round here at the TOUR Championship.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, it's hard not to put the FedExCup, and trying to win that, out of your mind. But you really can't focus on that issue.
The only thing I can really do tomorrow is go out and try to win a golf tournament. Where I finish in the FedExCup is going to depend on how I play, but it also depends on how the rest of the players play and where they fall in the order and there's nothing I can do about that. First and foremost I want to go out there and try to win a golf tournament tomorrow.
I haven't had a three-win season in my career. It would be a good time to start.

Q. Retief was just in here and said he feels that you're the guy to beat and that if he finishes above you tomorrow he'll win. When you hear somebody, a competitor, saying that --
JIM FURYK: I was going to say the same thing about him. (Laughter.)
You know, it's nice to hear. But I think we've got Geoff right in there, as well, is that correct? How does the leaderboard stack? I'm at 8, Luke is -- Luke played great today. Every putt he hit today looked like it was going to go in the hole, it was beautiful, and a lot of them didn't. I don't know how they found a way out, but they -- he hit a lot of edges today with putts that looked like they would melt in the hole. There's a guy I wouldn't count out.
I'm not sure who else is behind them. But I know it's stacked up a little bit closer. I saw the numbers.

Q. So just to finish my question, do you feel that you've earned that sort of right over the years you've been out here that people look at you and think this guy is going to hang tough, he's a closer, he's not going to sort of wilt?
JIM FURYK: Well, you know, I think we all like to pride ourselves on the fact that we believe that's true. If I didn't believe that in my heart or in my own mind, then I wouldn't be able to. The day that I don't believe that it's probably time to quit.
But how that affects other people or what they think, you know, it's a nice compliment and comes from a -- I like Retief a lot. I think that he's got a -- I haven't got to know him that well, but we've talked occasionally, and he's a great guy to play with, real even keel. I admire the way he's gone about his career, and he's had a wonderful career. But I admire the way he prepares and works. He's a little bit to himself, he's quiet, he's a hard worker, and it's a nice compliment coming from someone like him.

Q. On 15 there was quite a bit swing your way. Is that crucial, do you think, momentum-wise?
JIM FURYK: It was kind of good for me in that, as I said, I was having a hard time kind of getting going. To that point I had bogey and the rest pars on my card, so I hit it in there stiff at 14 and was able to make birdie.
I had a real, real quick putt from behind the hole on 15 and got that to go in. It looked like it was going to be a two-shot swing, and Luke missed a little one there and it ended up being a bigger swing.
I didn't realize -- I really didn't watch the board much today. I didn't realize Retief was playing so well and he got to 8-under there for a while.
I was just really worried about going out there and playing the best round I could, putting myself in position. The momentum I think was good for me to make a couple birdies, but not really focused on what Luke was doing to be honest with you. It's Saturday, we're just jockeying for position.

Q. You built your lead on a firm, fast course, and I guess it's going to rain overnight, be set, maybe a little bit softer tomorrow. How does that change your approach?
JIM FURYK: You're going to have to -- we're going to have to go out in the morning and kind of take a look at the golf course, walk on the putting green, get an idea for how much it rains, and it's probably going to matter more the first couple -- you'll find out a lot on the first couple holes. How far is the drive on 1 rolling? Are the greens firmer? Soft? What's the wind doing, kind of -- I think we'll all be able to get a good idea of what a good score might be after we play two, three, four holes.
But right now it's out of our hands. It's hard to imagine, as beautiful as it's been all week, it's going to be a tough day tomorrow, so we'll have to get ready for it.

Q. I don't know if weather will factor into this. Is this the kind of golf course if any player is on 10 tee and they need to be 3- or 4-under on that side tomorrow, can they do that?
JIM FURYK: I don't know, ask Nick Watney. I guess you can. I heard he threw up a 28 on the back nine today. Very nice.
I think it's a very difficult golf course, but it's in such good shape, the greens are rolling so well, I could see a guy getting hot. That means a 28 is just fantastic. I mean, I think it can be done. I shot 3-under on the back yesterday, and you can always find a shot you can save here or there. But it can be done, yes, but it's very difficult. It's definitely not a place where you expect someone to go out and fire a 62 on you.

Q. With a $10 million bonus hanging over this FedExCup, will you check your scores at all before you tee off tomorrow between now and then?
JIM FURYK: There's no real reason. I mean, the first part of the scenario is I have to win, and the rest of it I can't control. I doubt that I can -- I doubt there's a scenario where I'm going to finish second or worse in the tournament and win the FedExCup, so that's the only thing I can somewhat control. So the idea really, it makes it very simple, to just go out -- if I were in the top 5 and there was all those scenarios and ideas, yeah, you might want to keep an eye, yeah, I have to make sure I finish higher than 6th or whatever it might be. But the situation I'm in coming from 11th, I have to win tomorrow and the idea is just to go out and do the best I can to do that.

Q. When you were heading off the range to go play today they had a camera on you as you were kind of walking down the gauntlet there and your dad was behind you and he said something like "just go play golf." I'm wondering after all this time, is it cool to still have your dad there? Are there pros and cons having your dad as the swing coach? Does it take certain personalities on both sides to make that work? I know he's also your babysitter next week and many benefits beyond the swing coach thing, but it sounds like you have to make that work in some ways.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, we had our growing pains for sure growing up. It's like teaching your wife to play golf or your wife trying to show you something -- it's just when two people love each other, I think it's harder to take instruction. The teacher can say things to the pupil that he might not to other kids. And as a kid with your parent, you say stuff back to the teacher that you wouldn't usually say because they're your parent. I was probably at fault a lot more, trust me.
But yeah, I think we had our growing pains through that. But overall in the long run we made it work, and we got to do -- we got to play golf together, got to do a lot of things together and accomplish -- I feel like my parents, my wife, it's all kind of a team effort. They've been there every step of the way. Yeah, I've got to do a lot more with my father than most kids because of it. So it's been a blessing for sure, but he would even admit we had growing pains early on at times.
The message going into 1 today, "just play golf," was, hey, don't get caught up in your swing, don't get caught up in mechanics, just go play, just go score and put the ball in the hole. I have a habit sometimes of trying a little bit too hard and trying to be too perfect. What he's saying is stop -- that "go play golf" is just don't try to be perfect, just go play. Just find a way to get it in the hole.

Q. What do you mean by early on, teenager, college, early pro, what?
JIM FURYK: Junior golf mostly. By the time I got to college, we had sorted -- you know, we had -- throughout.
By the time I was a golf professional, I think we both kind of worked out how everything was going to work and we were going to do it. It's definitely -- it's awkward in the sense that you step out of a pupil into a son into -- it's different. But I wouldn't have had it any other way, and it was a blessing for us to spend countless hours over the years. It's been a lot of fun.

Q. Do you think there's any coincidence or do you think it's more about the players, the golf course or the setup that there are three U.S. Open champions in the top three?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, maybe a little bit of the setup. It kind of has that firm and fast and very firm, quick -- firm, very quick greens. Yeah, it kind of has a little bit of that setup. The fairways are really narrow here. The rough may not be quite as penal, but Bermuda rough can drive you crazy.

Q. Just wanted to circle back, you were using a belly putter there for Deutsche Bank --
JIM FURYK: Three rounds.

Q. That was just kind of a flirtation to help you get back focused with the shorter one?
JIM FURYK: I didn't do it as a drill or anything. I wasn't happy with my putting, and I had done it years ago for seven rounds, which I played the whole Honda tournament that way and three rounds of The Players, and when I putt well with it, it's scary how easy it feels, and when I putt bad, it's scary how difficult it feels at times.
I had some time off going into the Playoffs, a week off, I went next round with it, felt like it was worth giving it a try. Then I had another week off because of New Jersey and that kind of let me fine-tune it and I felt pretty good about it.
You know, I wouldn't say that I'll put it away forever, it's just I would have to go back and would need more time. It wasn't the right time maybe to -- I tried it at Boston, and on Sunday I went back to the short one, the putter I'm putting with right now, and felt like I putted okay, felt like I putted pretty solid at the BMW and been growing with some confidence. These greens are slick and tough, and you need some confidence with the putter on them.

Q. One scenario that could play out tomorrow is that you'd just miss out on the FedExCup --
JIM FURYK: How do I deal with that? (Laughter).

Q. Looking back on it, do you think about that Barclays and think, well, if I would have just -- if I could have finished well there and had X number of points --
JIM FURYK: It's over. Honestly it doesn't bother me. In the whole scheme of things, I was really mad at myself this week, but I kind of eventually started laughing about it. As much crap as I took, I had to start laughing about it. (Laughter).
Really, I haven't thought that once this week, other than sitting in these two chairs when you all have asked me about it honestly. I wouldn't think about it tonight. It is what it is. It's over with. And I wouldn't feel awful if -- if I were able to go out and win the golf tournament tomorrow and still didn't win, I mean, I wouldn't feel awful about it; I just won the golf tournament.
I've got a lot of hard work ahead of me. I've got 18 more holes. I've been able to play very solid golf here for 75 percent of the tournament, and I'm not really -- obviously we all want to win the FedExCup, don't get me wrong, but I always have kept the task at hand as the only thing I could do is try to go win the golf tournament, try to play a good round of golf tomorrow and see what happens.

Q. Ending up on the blanket at 9, you took a lift, you hit a good shot. What happened with that putt there?
JIM FURYK: I was kind of back and forth on the read. The grain was to the left on the putt, and I think I just tried to help it a little bit. I hit it -- just pushed it a touch, and it didn't take the break as much as I would have hoped. But I think I set up and maybe didn't commit as well as I should have. I hit it on a nice dying speed, but just kind of started a touch right of where I wanted to and missed on the high side.

Q. Back to the belly putter, when you go back to your conventional putter, what has the belly putter helped you with?
JIM FURYK: Probably not a damned thing. How's that? Like I said, I didn't do it as a drill. I've heard a lot of guys do it as a drill to kind of feel like they're releasing the putter or whatever it may be. I didn't do it as a drill, I did it -- I wanted to commit to it for a little while and see what happened, and I decided there after the third round that it just wasn't the right time, that I was going to back away, and I thought, I'll have a lot of time off in the off-season. If I think it's worth the while, I'll give it a try for a while, and if I continue to play and putt pretty well, I probably won't. It hasn't done much.
It forced me to -- if anything, it forced me to kind of look at my approach and routine and the way I've gone about playing with the short one, just made me think a little bit more about how to correct some of my faults. I've changed my style with the short one. But I don't think the belly helped that at all.
CHRIS REIMER: Let's go through 14, 15, 17.
JIM FURYK: Not a lot to talk about, is there? Birdied 14, hit a good drive down the middle. I hit a 9-iron to about two foot and wiggled it in.
15, I hooked my driver just a touch right in the right rough just by the bunker, laid up with a pitching wedge, I hit a sand wedge into the green that ended up about probably seven feet behind the hole, probably the quickest putt I had all day, knocked that one in.
10, I hit a pretty good drive, it landed on the fairway, just got in the left rough and I drew a real bad lie. I hit a pitching wedge just up there short left and I got cute with the third one and went underneath it. I had my 60 degree wedge and kind of slid right underneath the ball and dunked it in the bunker. I hit a really good bunker shot there. To miss the putt at 9 for birdie and then turn around and -- making a double at 10 would have been tough to stomach. But hitting that great bunker shot in there just six inches really kind of made the bogey not feel so bad and kept me going.
And then 17, I hung a drive a touch right where it went in that front bunker. I don't know, I could have hit -- if I hit a really good shot, I could have got that up and on the green or around the green, but I hit it fat. Then played the third shot, which I thought was pretty good, bumped it into that hill and popped it on the green, but it came out a little soft, and I had to putt the ball from seven, eight yards off the green, and I putted it up there and saved another bogey. 10 and 17 could have turned out a lot worse, and I hung in there tough today, kept the round going when I had to.

Q. I want to go off topic for a second. There comes a point every Sunday --
JIM FURYK: You've been off topic all week now that I think about it.

Q. There comes a point every Sunday in a Ryder Cup where the Cup is going to come down to one match. I just wondered if you could talk about what that was like at Valhalla, the decisive point --
JIM FURYK: It was a hell of a lot better than it was at the Belfry.

Q. I was wondering if you could talk about the differences of both of them, when you're aware of it, what it's like, depending on whether you're winning it or losing it?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I said this here maybe yesterday or the day before, and I've been very just content and proud when I've won golf tournaments. I've been really kind of down, disappointed, upset when I've lost. The emotion in a Ryder Cup is just multiplied. Being out there on the greens, having your teammates come out after winning the Ryder Cup, it's a great feeling when you're on the green and everyone is coming towards you and it's over. You know you accomplished something as a team. I didn't do anything better than anyone else on the team, and there were surely guys that played better than me, but it was nice to have that moment.
It was an awful feeling at the Belfry. Because I had that experience at the Belfry, I've been -- I've watched -- I've kind of watched that situation unfold in a lot of other events, and sometimes if it's been my buddy. I've kind of gone up and gave him a pat on the back, even someone from the other side saying, hey, I've been there. It's no good, but it's not your fault. It's kind of like a baseball player probably striking out to lose the game. It's not your fault, but you hate to be the guy to be the last one up.

Q. At what point do you realize it's coming down to you in both cases? Are you looking at boards?
JIM FURYK: It is impossible not to. You've got the red, the blue, the cheers, they're flipping all over the place. You look up at the board and all of a sudden you see eight red numbers and four blue ones, and then all of a sudden it's the other way around, oh, no, what's happened. There's a big emotional -- it's an emotional wreck actually for all week, but that day is -- it's fun, but it takes a lot out of you.

Q. Is the tipoff when you see a lot of your teammates start showing up out of the woodwork?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, you know, I've been in both positions where I've teed off early but have tended to be late more often than not. I've gotten matches over with early and then -- one of my coolest moments ever, although it was in the Presidents Cup, was Jack Nicklaus was the captain and he put me out in the first group, and Mike Weir and I were done, and that was the one with the playoff with Tiger and Ernie. I must have watched three and a half, four hours of golf that day, and I watched two of it with Jack in the cart listening to him all day, and that was -- that's just a special moment, a little feather in my cap, saying that -- I didn't say much, I just listened. Pretty cool, the best player ever, to sit in a cart with him as he's the captain.
But I've been in that situation like you said. Brookline comes to mind, where usually it's late in the day. You get to the back nine and start thinking, all right, it could come down to this match. But Brookline was different in that by the time I got to, I want to say, the 6th hole and I looked up at the board and said, oh, my God, we're going to win the first -- that's basically what I said, oh, my God, we're going to win the first six matches, and in my head we're thinking, we were 4 down, we're 2-up, shit, we only have to win two and a half more points. Then I started thinking, wow -- now you feel more pressure to be honest with you because you've got six groups, you only need two and a half points. You want to make sure you get them. That was probably the earliest thing where I said, wow, it could come down to this. It could have.
My match ended, I think, on 15 and I couldn't get to 17 quick enough and I heard the roars. Actually one of the TV guys, they were running it through his camera, and I watched it in his TV camera, watched the putt.

Q. Is it true when McGinley made the putt and shook your hand and you told him to go jump in the lake?
JIM FURYK: No. What year was that?

Q. I'm just making it up.
JIM FURYK: Okay. (Laughter.)

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