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January 12, 2011

Jim Furyk


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started. Jim Furyk. Thanks for joining us, 2010 three-time PGA TOUR winner, including the season-ending TOUR Championship, FedExCup winner and 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year. Thanks for joining us for a few minutes. I guess was it '96 you were a winner here? Thanks for joining us. Just a few comments on 2011 kicking off, obviously, a big season to follow up on. Just your thoughts as you start your second week of the 2011 season?
JIM FURYK: I'm excited for '11. Obviously '10 was a wonderful season, a great year. But I'm trying to turn the page and start all over again, start from scratch, so I'm excited.
I had a good layoff, not as long as I had the last couple of years since I went to Kapalua and I'm here. But it was a good reason to not have as much time off.
So happy to be here in Hawaii, and obviously, looking forward to playing this week. But with the weather, we're not going to get out there on the course today, and I think it's supposed to be pretty rough tomorrow. So we'll see if whether the early or late tee time pans out better. But, obviously, we're going to have to ride it out for a little while here.
THE MODERATOR: Given the busy season and successful season you had last year, did you work on much? You said it was somewhat limited, but did you work on much on the off-season?
JIM FURYK: A little bit. I think that I really tried -- I played so much golf, I feel from basically mid-February through October 1, that once the off-season comes I really try to get away. I put the clubs down, spend some time with the wife and kids and do some of the things that I missed in season. More than anything just try to get away and get refreshed so that when the year starts I'm out here on the range. I'm working hard and enjoying it.
You can get a little grouchy out there if you play too much, especially towards the end of the year. Things start to affect you, so I didn't particularly play my best last week. I didn't hit the ball as solid as I would have liked. But the attitude's good, and I didn't let things affect me too much. And I think I'll have a pretty good week.

Q. That being said, the end of the year will be a little bit different this year?
JIM FURYK: Hopefully not.

Q. I mean playing.
JIM FURYK: Oh, I thought you meant our season.

Q. No, you'll play a little later into the year.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, honestly, every year it's a goal of mine to either make the Presidents Cup team or the Ryder Cup team. After last year, I got myself in a good position as far as the money list is concerned. So I'll still play solid this season because the points and the money are double.
What are the dates? I know they're in November, but is it the first or second week? It's the third week, actually.

Q. Yeah, it follows the Australian.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, the last time that we went there, we didn't have a very prepared American team and we got whooped pretty good. Those Aussie fans are great sport fans. I think they were phenomenal. I remember the closing ceremonies were great for the losing team, if I remember correctly.
Remember the medal presentation? The losing team or the losers (laughing)? But, no, the fans there are wonderful, and it's a great golf course, so, obviously I want to be on the team.
Then you want to be prepared, so I'll try to extend my season a little bit or try to figure out a way to stay sharp and be ready to go when that comes around.

Q. Have you looked at the schedule?

Q. For the Presidents Cup?
JIM FURYK: I have not, actually. I'm just trying to get through the end of our TOUR schedule then I'll figure out the rest. I don't really start looking at that until probably the summertime until I start figuring out where I'm at physically, how I feel mentally. Am I run down, fresh, how am I going? Then I start planning ahead.
But it's hard to plan nine or ten months at a time because you never know how you're going to feel or how things will be.
So, summertime, especially when the PGA's there, that's when the tournament starts trying to woo all the players and get you into some of those events.
But I'll try to -- if I can make the team and that all goes well, I'll try to make sure that I'm sharp. There is no sense in going there and laying an egg and not playing well, so I'll try to be ready to go.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JIM FURYK: I played. I played the opening day. In fact, I played 36 the opening day. I was sick as a dog. I was running a fever. I know I played in Houston and somewhere else. I don't think I won a match either, not that I know of.
I remember there was a guy that was playing really well and got left off, that was before I ever made the Ryder Cup.

Q. Got left off the match or got left off the team?
JIM FURYK: No, there was a guy that was playing very, very well after the first two days of the matches. Won both of his matches with his teammate, and Saturday morning didn't go out in the early matches. Rumor has it the captain didn't have a list and forgot everyone that was there, so I wasn't on that team.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JIM FURYK: I wasn't on that team. That was before my day. But I don't know. I don't know. That would be news to me, maybe true. I think -- I don't know. Not that I know of. I don't ever want to hear that they forgot about me, so if it is true, don't tell me.

Q. It's totally different. There was nothing going on, if I remember correctly that time of the year back in 1998?
JIM FURYK: You could always find stuff to do. There were always tournaments to play. You could go to Japan or Asia. There were always events to play. I think we played, Duval and I and there were a few of us that played in South Africa. We played the week before.
We played in South Africa. We went through Perth to get there, Perth to Sydney to Melbourne to get to the event. I hadn't played much before going to South Africa. But playing that event was something going in.

Q. What is your recollection of the first year on TOUR as you've seen guys on the range that you pretty much have no idea who they are? If you could imagine what their thoughts are and if you could relate to it at all, their first year on the TOUR?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, as you get older -- when I was younger, I knew everyone on the TOUR because all the young guys I either played junior college golf or mini tour golf against so I knew who they were. And all the guys on TOUR I knew who they were because I watched them on TV, so I had a good basis.
When I walked in the locker room, I knew who everybody was. They may not have known me and probably didn't. But as you get older, I don't know a lot of the younger kids coming up. I don't pay much attention to the scores for the mini tours or actually even for our TOUR, the Nationwide Tour, or the Champions Tour to be honest with you. I don't look Monday morning or check the scores out, so the names aren't always the freshest to me.
But as the year goes on, you start seeing them come in here in the family room and there will be gals, wives, girlfriends, families and players that I'm not sure who they are, but as the year goes on you see the guys.
You meet them, and you play with them, you see them on the range hitting balls and their caddies, and you start to get a feel after a few months of who everyone is. Especially when you see a guy play well in the year, you see a name on the board two or three events in a row. Then you have to figure out who this guy is because he's obviously playing well. There is a lot of buzz around certain players like that, so you learn pretty quick who everyone is.

Q. Have you met anyone this year?
JIM FURYK: I met the amateur, David, for nine holes yesterday. He's from Hawaii, just turned 18.

Q. He's an amateur?
JIM FURYK: No, the kid that qualified from Hawaii. He's a local here. But as far as -- I knew who a few guys are. Andre Gonzalez. I knew before, but got a chance to meet him. There are a few guys that I've picked up along the way.

Q. Do you think when you come into a new year that is generally full of optimism that some of these guys are out here for the first time and might be more optimistic and guys know what they're getting into?
JIM FURYK: You're saying like a guy coming off the TOUR versus the guys that are just going for the first time?

Q. Yeah.
JIM FURYK: I don't know. If that's the case, I feel bad for the veteran because he doesn't sound like he's going to do that good. Does that make sense? I don't feel so good for that guy. There is a good chance he won't be here next year and all that excited.
I would hope not. I would think that every year everyone's pretty optimistic. They've got goals at the start of the year, New Year's resolutions, things you want to work on in your game, things you want to accomplish in golf. I think if you're not optimistic at this point of the year, boy, I sure as hell hate to see your attitude in October. I would hope everyone would be optimistic at that point.
This was my first event as a member. I played three or four events when I was in college and I qualified, but my first event as a member. On Thursday morning I can still remember I went out on the range. My dad was with me, my caddy. My caddy went to go do something. I grabbed a sand wedge out of the bag -- I'm sure some of you have heard the story -- and the wind was really hard into right to left wind, which is rare. It's not the tradewinds.
And I proceeded to kind of aim left of the short left flag, and I hit it really fat, and the range was kind of damp and wet in the morning. But it's always kind of a sandy range. So I blew all this dirt and sand up in the air and it just coated the guy next to me. Almost like I could hear it hitting him.
I looked over to see who was behind me, and it was Lanny Watkins, it was my first shot of the day, so of all people. Then I proceeded to hit the next shot fat and covered him again, two shots in a row. I didn't know what to do or say.
Obviously, being a rookie I was somewhat beside myself, so I was trying to make light of the subject. Sorry about that. I said, I guess I'll aim a little farther right on the next one. And the only thing, he looked up and he was over his ball and he looked up and said that would be nice, and went right back at it. That was the only conversation.
So I went from sand wedge to like bypassed the pitching wedge, took an 8-iron down and boned it up against the side. Hit it real thin and hit it towards the net on the right side. But I turned around and looked at my dad with a big smile on my face and said, I can't believe I just did that. But it was pretty funny at the time. He probably didn't think so, but an interesting start.

Q. That being said, what did you have as a goal?
JIM FURYK: That first year? I had a couple of friends that had already qualified for the TOUR. I was excited. I had one that was kind of scary. One of my friends qualified for the TOUR years before I did, right out of college first year.
He said through TOUR School and everything he wasn't nervous because he just felt like first year out of college. I'm not really supposed to make it. So he felt like there was no pressure, so he played great and easily made it through TOUR School.
Then once he qualified, he got really nervous. Because he said, oh, shit, I've got to play against the best players in the world and I'm probably not prepared. That was the way he looked at it, and he didn't play very well. So that was kind of looming over my head a little bit was his theory of I've got to go play the best players in the world.
I was extremely excited. I made it the second time through. Played the Nationwide my first year, and second time I made it.
I knew that I probably wasn't wholly prepared or ready. I was young, and raw, but my idea was to go out and just learn. And it was a great experience, great opportunity to learn and try to pick the brains of guys and play golf, and try to figure out what the best players in the world did better than I did so I could improve.
You can only learn if you're playing with guys that are better than you. You go from college to mini tours and everyone's better. The mini tour and the Nationwide was a big step, and I made them very quickly. But I think I was able to always process the information and figure out what I needed to improve on.

Q. Was there a veteran or two that year had that you kind of looked to?
JIM FURYK: No, Bruce Lietzke a little bit. My dad worked for Tommy Armour Golf. And he and Jimmy Gallagher -- I knew if I ever had any questions, I could go ask Bruce or Jimmy. I rarely did. I was pretty shy by nature. I'm more instead of asking questions, I just kind of watch, if that makes sense. I'll stand back.
Bruce invited me to play a couple of practice rounds and I'm sure Jim did that year as well. One of them was my big brother. I think it might have been Jim. I'm not sure. I'm not sure we ever spoke about big brother. I don't think I used that person all year. I'm not sure if it was Jim or not, but whoever it was, I never used the big brother.
I knew I had those two guys if I ever had any questions. I rarely did. But when Bruce saw me, he'd always come over and say hello and same with Jim.
I played a couple practice rounds. I remember playing with Bruce and Tom Kite and Andy North in a practice round. Obviously, Tom was the most serious of the three, so I kind of followed him around for the day and watched him play a practice round. I asked questions that day. Saying what are you doing here, what are you looking at? And here's how you can tell. And put a pin over here, and we're trying to figure it out. Just trying to figure it out. Because I could tell he was out-preparing me for sure. He was trying to figure out things on the golf course that I wasn't even aware of, so I was just asking questions.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JIM FURYK: I was one. I'm not sure the guy ever used me, but I was one. I can't remember who mine was.

Q. Your dad said the major reason he didn't change your golf swing at all is because you were such a great athlete. Were you aware of that at the time? Did you think your swing was different?
JIM FURYK: I wasn't aware my swing was different as a kid because I never watched it on tape. First time I realized that it was really different was when I went to college.
But first time I ever saw it actually on television was I was leaving the Tucson Open my second event and was watching the news that night and saw my swing. I went, whoa, doesn't feel like that.
At that point it didn't bother me. I knew my golf club was different when I got to school. He left me alone, for better, for worse. I had to figure out a lot of stuff on my own.
Had a guy in Tucson that every once in a while I'd talk to and he'd help met out a little bit, but my dad was always my teacher. But under his supervision, I had a few guys around home and sought some advice. Dad would go with me sometimes for me to hear it from someone else, which is sometimes good for a father/son relationship.
It's like when a husband tries to teach a wife. When you love someone a lot, it it's hard to teach, and it's definitely harder for the person -- I was definitely worse than him. I was probably a worse student because you can say things to your parent as a kid that you would never say to another adult. That's just the way things work.

Q. Just curious if this tournament changed like any other elite tournament (Indiscernible)?
JIM FURYK: They made somewhat of a change. They lengthened 1 and 2. They made the dogleg right a par-4 instead of a 5 on number 13. They made some changes. But, yeah, as far as a lot of the golf courses on the PGA TOUR, this one's probably changed the least, and it feels like the same event year in and year out.
It's always been -- I've always really liked this event. I've played it a ton, and I haven't played the last couple of years just because of the timing and where it sits. I don't play the three events behind this one. I rarely ever have. So to come out after the holidays for one event in Florida and go all the way back home doesn't make a lot of sense.
But if I was going to play right behind it, I'd always come out and play this event. It would always be one that I'd check off on my list. As long as it fits fine, I'd always play here.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JIM FURYK: Well, now, if I win and go to Kapalua, I'm here. I don't see why you wouldn't play. But I always play the back end of the west coast the last three events.
The last couple years, I'll be honest, I've not taken that much time off. I've had four months off the last two years, and I played less events last year than I ever have. There is a secret in there somewhere. There is a lesson in there.
I'm pretty -- if I gave you a schedule and asked you to check off the events I was going to play this year, you'd get 99% of them right. There is no secret. I play the same ones every year.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JIM FURYK: I think I played those events though. I think I played some of those events that are on that list. I mean, there is no list, but if there were. Every year, the TOUR comes to us. It was Sid, now he's retired. So Billy will come to us and say, what is your schedule? We're looking to see what it says. And there are some places that we could really use some help, and I'm always already playing. Those four of those events, I'm already playing two of them.
They'll say can you give us some help in these four? And I'm already playing those two events. I always play the courses I like rather than -- for me it's always course, purse, field. Rather than for a lot of guys I think its purse may go first. I've always been a course guy.
The purse was never all that big in Flint and may not have been a huge draw for your family as far as Busch gardens next door or something like that. But we always love going to Flint because I like the golf course, and it was always a relatively small purse too.

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