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September 26, 2010

Jim Furyk


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome and congratulate our 2010 TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola and FedEx champion. Your third win of the season, Jim. We talked all week about what it would mean and all the things that you could accomplish with a win this week. Some opening comments about what it was like now that you've made that come true.
JIM FURYK: I just don't think it's sunk in to be honest with you. I'm usually not at a loss for words, and I struggled a little bit. I wasn't so smooth in the ceremonies there afterwards. I rambled a lot, and as you've all seen here a few times. But I just don't think it's sunk in.
Three wins is very, very special to me. I've always put a big emphasis on winning golf tournaments. I was very disappointed in '08 and '09 not to win, and obviously you all are doing your job and we spoke about it quite a bit. To go out and turn that around and get three Ws this year is pretty special, and then to top it off here at the right time at the TOUR Championship -- this golf course, I love this golf course.
And I've been very close. I finished 2nd in Houston to David Duval by a shot one year. I missed a playoff when Hal Sutton won here by one, was second to Adam Scott here one year. I've had my opportunities and haven't got over the hump. So to win this on a golf course that I admire and respect is a lot of fun.
And yet you wrap it all up, and to win the season trophy here is just a lot of fun. There was a lot riding on my round today, a lot riding down the stretch in some terrible weather, and I was able to -- although it didn't look pretty the last three, I was able to get the job done and win again, and this is very special.
CHRIS REIMER: Talk a little bit about 17 and then 18 tee.
JIM FURYK: 17 I was shocked how long that hole was playing. It had gotten pretty wet out there. I absolutely hit a good drive there. That was the one tee shot that probably scared me the entire day, and if you tug it a little bit left, you might have to re-tee it. The only way I really felt like I could get in trouble at that time is hitting it left, and I hung in there. I didn't bail right. I drilled it right down the middle. I was just surprised how far I was away. I couldn't get to the green with a 3-iron, and I wanted to hit the iron so bad.
My hybrid was a tendency in wet weather to catch some jumpers. It's like a flier lie out of the rough almost even when it's in the fairway. It lacks a lot of spin and the ball goes a long way. It came in handy on 15 because I was in between a hybrid and a 3-wood, and I told Mike, I catch a little jumper here, this thing flies, I might land on the green, and it did.
But coming down to 17, again, after I hit it right down the middle the one thing that could hurt was hitting the ball long. Anything long of that green center or left long would probably flush down and possibly go in the water and get me in trouble. I was trying to just chip a nice little cut up there and it landed on the right side of the green somewhere and it hit it really, really fat. Just made a bad swing, a very tentative swing and hit a good pitch in there and I actually thought I hit a good putt. Maybe the wet part of the green didn't allow the green to break as much with the grain.
And then to go to 18, I was really -- I was pissed at myself going to 18 tee making bogey on 17 after having a six-footer. Having to go there and only make bogey to win is a good feeling. Now I've got to make par. I pretty much thought I could get the ball up-and-down or make 3 from anywhere if I was pin high or short, and the only trouble you probably saw guys get into was long, and especially long left, and that's how I lost to Hal on that win placement.
I had to make a par to get in a playoff, and I hit it too hard and it ran through the back left of the green and you've got nothing there, and I remembered that from probably six, seven, eight years ago and that maybe had a lot to do with hitting it weak right, but I knew I left it in a spot that I could get the ball up-and-down.
This was probably my best bunker week of my career this week. I don't know what I was up-and-downs, but I bet I was probably 80 percent or more.
CHRIS REIMER: Nine for nine.
JIM FURYK: That's pretty good. That's usually 100 percent, even at Arizona (laughter.) So nine for nine out of bunkers this week. Let's just say I had a lot of confidence, and it came off the club perfect, was getting a lot of those skips. A lot of our pitch shots on the back nine were almost hydroplaning. You could almost hear them spinning. And then after two or three hops, they would grab and stop dead. From my perspective I had kind of the worm cam. I was just stop, stop, stop, I knew I was spinning like crazy, but I heard everyone cheering from down there. I couldn't tell if it was five feet or two feet. It kind of appeared like it was a four-footer, like I still had some work left. I was happy to see it was pretty much dummy proof.

Q. Which trophy means more to you, Jim?
JIM FURYK: (Points at FedExCup.) This one. They both mean a lot to be honest with you, but this one is a season. This one is in this one, if that makes sense. Today I had to win the golf tournament, and I don't know what the scenarios were, I don't know where Matt had to finish, I didn't really know. And to be honest with you, coming up 18 I assumed I was playing for the FedExCup, but I wasn't 100 percent sure to be honest with you. I thought I was, but I didn't really look at the leaderboards today. I was looking for scores. And I didn't know until I hit my second shot on 17 that Luke Donald finished at 7, either. Let's just say I was a little disappointed to see that. (Laughter.) I thought I might have had a little more smooth sailing on the way in. I thought he dropped to 6 at one time. Did he birdie on the way in?

Q. Knocked one in from 100 feet on the way in.
JIM FURYK: That explains it. My caddie thought the only 7 was Retief, and when we got up there he said Luke's at 7. I didn't expect anyone to make birdie on that hole, especially at 17. That definitely put a lot of heat on me.
But to answer your question, that trophy is in this one. It's all part of it, and I had to win today to get it done. As I said, I focused all week on trying to win this one and hoped this one could come true.

Q. And you found out you won through the missus?
JIM FURYK: I'm not sure if she really knew. I just gathered by the reaction of everyone that it had been. I was pretty sure that that was the case, but just the surroundings, yeah, just the way people reacted, the way people talked to me walking up 18 I had a good feeling that that's what it was more.

Q. Whatever pressure you felt over the closing hour there, was it anything different from what you felt in previous situations?
JIM FURYK: You mean because I was playing for so much more cash?

Q. Well, there's cash, there's the three wins in a year.
JIM FURYK: And there's -- what I like is, hey, it's only four years old, but 40 years from now there should be a lot of history in this trophy, and to have Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk sounds -- I'm very proud of that because those two can flat play. You know, two of the most dominant players of my era for sure.
What was the rest of the question? I got off on a tangent.

Q. Pretty sure you answered it.
JIM FURYK: Pressure, yeah, but I had a very -- I don't know, I just had an eerie calm about me today, and I know everyone that wins says that, but I'm standing over that putt on 17 and in my heart I know it's going in. I've never felt that in that situation. I wasn't shaky, I wasn't nervous, I knew I was going to make that putt, and I still hit a good putt. I'm mad it didn't go in.

Q. You were grinding it out all day. How about those par saving putts on 10, 12 and 13, the big putt on 13 where Retief was --
JIM FURYK: Terrible first putt. I was trying to make birdie there. I had 15, 18 feet for birdie and knocked it four feet, five feet by, left myself a real tough left to righter.
The two keys probably on the back nine were those three holes that you said. 10, hit it in the left rough and made a good up-and-down, made a good six footer probably downhill for par.
12, drove it awful left. My caddie was -- Phil Mickelson was over there, and caddie said probably chipping out is probably the best way. I can knock it up over the trees, I knew I could get it in the right bunker so I think I can get it up-and-down from there. I just had to hit a good shot to knock it up over those trees and if I don't, who knows what I make. But I was able to knock it up over, got a perfect lie. And the rain made the bunkers really firm and the ball was sitting up perfect on them, so you could nip it and spin the ball a lot. I knocked it in there tight, three feet.
13 was the one time I started showing a little struggle and then I hit a great drive, a good 6-iron, 15, 18 feet for birdie and I knock it four or five feet by.
All day I was focused on speed, speed, speed and speed on my putts, and that's the one time I kind of got on it, lost my mark, wanted to roll it over, kind of lost my train of thought and started thinking too much about line and forgot about the speed, and it went off in my hands. So to turn around and knock in that four or five-footer breaking pretty hard left to right was just a huge boost of confidence.

Q. I know you said this is all still sinking in, but where does this rank overall in your wonderful career so far?
JIM FURYK: You know, I don't know, I'll wait until I see how it all sinks in, but I'm always going to remember -- you always say you remember your first, so I remember my first win and how special that was. I was 25 years old in Vegas, and then my first major championship, my only major championship, was the U.S. Open in '03, and that kind of trumps your first win. That one will always be special. And we get judged by the number of tournaments we win and by the number of majors we win. It was a big feather in my cap. So I would put this up there very close.
But a major championship is huge, and this win is probably -- it's not my first, it's my second biggest win.

Q. Following up on that question there, that bunker shot on 18, where does that rank among your personal favorite shots of your career? Obviously it's early, but --
JIM FURYK: It's not that early; I'm 40. (Laughter.)
You know, it wasn't -- under the situation, it was a tough bunker shot. But if you take the situation out, the sand is nice and firm, ball is sitting up perfect, I had plenty of green to work with. You know, it wasn't an overly hard shot. But obviously being able to knock it up there a couple feet for the win and the tournament, it was special. I've hit some good bunker shots in my career that have meant a lot.
Unfortunately the one everyone remembers was at Akron and they forgot that I lost the golf tournament eventually, so I didn't like hearing about that one as much, so maybe they'll remember this one a little better.

Q. Most of us start puking over $2 Nassaus. I don't know how you can do what you just did, playing for $11 million.
JIM FURYK: It wasn't all that good playing down the stretch really. 16 was nothing all that special, 17 hit a good drive but bad second shot, 18 wasn't very good. A lot of it had to do with the situation I was in. You've got a three-shot lead, and in your mind you're saying, just keep the pedal down and let's go to 18 with a three- or four-shot lead.
But I have a tendency and a history in my career to make it interesting. The only time I never did was at the U.S. Open, which thank goodness.
But as I said, I really did. I've said it all week, I really was focused this week on winning that trophy and just trying to win the golf tournament. Let the rest fall as it may. You know, it's more of a pride thing. You want to win. You want to win. When you have a three-shot lead with three holes to go, you don't want to give that up -- you don't want to be the guy that gave up a three-shot lead with three holes to go. It's a lot of pride and a lot of grit.
It was a tough day today with the weather. I had the best warmup session this morning that I've had all week, maybe all year. I was flushing it on the range, hitting it perfect. I went to the putting green, was rolling it great. It almost scared me to be honest with you. It could only go one way from there, down. I had a lot of confidence this week. The rain threw me for a loop. I was a little disappointed I had to mud it out today. I was enjoying the weather and the ball going a mile, and that's the conditions I got in contention with and was leading in. You want to see the same stuff, but you got to click the switch and kind of mud it out and grind it.

Q. Players sometimes have trouble backing up the week after winning. You've won a lot. What tricks of the trade have you learnt over the years to make sure you can be up mentally come Friday morning?
JIM FURYK: That's not going to be an issue to be honest with you. It's my favorite event. If I don't play well next week, it will not be because I'm drained or because I'm mentally not there. It's my favorite event. I love the Ryder Cup. It means the world to me. I'm very anxious to -- not to get out of here, but I'm anxious to get a shower and get to the airport and see my teammates.
Tonight, when I get on the plane, we'll click the switch. We'll be Ryder Cup bound. If you can't get up for the Ryder Cup, there's something wrong. There's something wrong. You're representing your country and doing it with 11 of your friends and your teammates and guys that I admire. So it's -- I'm hoping to just keep this roll going and keep the pedal down next week. If I don't, it won't be anything from a mental perspective, I promise you that.

Q. That reference to Sutton, were you playing with him in the last group that year?
JIM FURYK: No, I don't believe so. I might have been, but I don't believe so.

Q. Secondly, the reaction you showed when you tapped in that last putt, where did that come from? What was behind that?
JIM FURYK: Just happy. Just happy.

Q. Because you didn't do it at Tampa.
JIM FURYK: I was relieved. It had been a long time since I had won, I was leaking oil down the stretch. I actually think I had a broken leg down the stretch at that one, but I got it done. It was more -- if you look at my reaction there on TV, it's more of a big deep breath and a sigh of relief that I've got a win. From that point on -- Harbour Town was happy but a little subdued from the fact of how it happened.
And then here, just -- hey, these two trophies, a lot of people out there. I get criticized a lot and you hear a lot of people from the crowd sometimes say, God, would you just smile? I'm playing well, and would you smile; it's my way to kind of stay in my own little world and stay focused.
And then it's funny, when I do, when I pump my fist and I run around -- Tiger would have done that and no one would have thought anything about it. Or if other guys would do it. But because it's me -- and when I don't, people go, God, it looks like he's not even having fun out there. Trust me, I'm having a blast. But when I do, it's funny, and I understand why. But I'm just happy.
At that point you can let your guard down. You can do whatever you want to. It's not going to get you out of your game plan. If my adrenaline is falling at that time it doesn't matter. On the 17th tee, it doesn't work out too well. I guess at that point I want people to know that's me in real life right there.

Q. You looked happy.

Q. You mentioned not be completely sure out there about your standing in the FedExCup. Do you wish there was more of a clear-cut points system so that you did know out there exactly where you stood?
JIM FURYK: It's on the boards. I just wasn't paying attention. It would have been easier with a nice sunny day and 95 degrees like it had been all week, it would have been easy. But today we're hiding under umbrellas and trying to stay dry. I've got a towel in my hand, glove, making sure nothing is wet. I really had more focus on that than -- and trying to figure out where I stood in the golf tournament, so I wasn't staring at the boards that often. And when I do look up at them, I seem to catch 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, I was never on the right page to see the guys I wanted to see, where they're at. I'm sure they had the predictions, if they finish now this is where they'd be, but I didn't see it out there on the golf course.
I'm sure everyone around me was aware of it, but I wanted to worry about winning the golf tournament. This is very special to me, but I knew if I worried too much about this I couldn't get that if that makes sense.

Q. You don't show a lot of raw emotion. If you can kind of take us back through the moments before the final putt and immediately after it went in everything that was going through your mind.
JIM FURYK: I remember knocking the putt in and picking it out of the hole, and I was thinking, what am I doing? It kind of -- I hit it, and I knew it was in the middle, and I'm taking a step to pick it up as it's going in, and it just hit me. I was excited and dropped the putter and -- you know, I don't know. I guess at that moment you're not really responsible for what happens next, you just go with whatever happens.

Q. You did speak about that putter, the heel shafted putter that you had picked up. What brand is it and are you planning on taking it next week where the greens are going to be a lot slower?
JIM FURYK: I putted with it in Chicago where I was struggling with the greens because they were slow and I liked it there, and these were very quick and I liked it here. It will go with me. It will be used either way, and it is a Yes! putter, same putter that Retief won his U.S. Opens with. Not the same putter, but the same company.
The reason I picked it up, to be honest with you, it's the only one in the shop -- it was the only 8802 like, whatever you want to call it, heel shafted putter. They had some that were bigger, more like a mallet head that were heel shafted, kind of like Faldo used to putt with in his heyday, but they had lines on them, and I wanted something without a line. I just wanted it as simple as it could be, heel shafted. It was the only one in the shop of about 300 putters. At the time I didn't think it was all the that pretty to be honest with you, but it's getting a lot better looking every day.

Q. Joe & Leigh's.
JIM FURYK: Joe & Leigh's, that's it. And I felt so bad, I wanted to say it on TV just to pump the store and I couldn't remember it. I couldn't remember it.

Q. How much was it?
JIM FURYK: It was like 65 bucks, but they sold it to me for $39, I think. I didn't ask for that, trust me. I didn't barter.

Q. You said it was used, right? Somebody returned it.
JIM FURYK: It was used. It was a used putter. It's got a nick on the back flange, it's got a little ding in the top line. I never loft and lied it which is rare for me because I've always got my putters on a loft-lie machine at home, and the way the grip is on it, it might be slightly off center but that's kind of how I like it anyway. I guess we were meant to be, who knows.

Q. Do you still flip the grip on your putter?
JIM FURYK: No, I did that earlier in the year. I won twice and stopped.

Q. Just real quick, turning the hat around at 18, was that rain-related, just keep the raindrops off?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I did it on 16, too, I believe. But as the day went on and I was over -- even over some of the swings I made I would start my backswing, water was coming off and it was distracting. And on 16 I was over marking my ball and water is coming off and I'm over a putt, so I just turned it around and did the same thing on 18. I tried to dry it off, but by the time I got to 18 it was coming off pretty quick, so I wanted to make sure I had no distractions, and good thing it says Srixon on both sides.

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