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August 23, 2011

Jim Furyk


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome our 2010 FedExCup champion, Jim Furyk, here to the media center of The Barclays.
Entering the Playoffs, probably wish your number was a little higher, but at least momentum, you've played well the last couple of weeks including a Top-10 last week at the Wyndham Championship. Just talk about coming into the Playoffs looking to play well and also defend your FedExCup title from last year.
JIM FURYK: Yeah, obviously not happy with being seeded 60th after being first four years, no worse than about 12th coming into the first playoff event. Obviously I'm in a different situation this year.
Before I was kind of maintaining my position and trying to move up and get ready for the re-seed at THE TOUR Championship. This year, you know, it's going to be a fight and going to have to play well and try to get myself -- try to get myself to East Lake. But first and foremost, by paring the field down to 60th, I think I would be fine for being in the top hundred next week.
I haven't looked at the points. But I'm looking at it, the first two weeks making sure hopefully play well and keep moving up, stay inside the Top-70 and give myself the third week an opportunity to play well, and if I get hot, play really well one of those two weeks, you make it to East Lake.
So if I was able to go out and win one of the next three events, all of the sudden you've got yourself in a situation where you could win the FedExCup again.
Right now, just trying to not really think about the points or the seeds or what's going to take the next few events. Just play well and have a good solid tournament in week and hopefully for the next three weeks.
CHRIS REIMER: As far as this week goes, what have you seen of the course? What are your first impressions?
JIM FURYK: I've seen the front nine. I knew it was going to be a good golf course when we got here. I heard a lot about Plainfield. On the front nine there's two or three extremely severe greens where there's not a lot of pin placements and other greens where they are flat and green.
Initially I was thrown back with the blindness of the golf course in that you hit a lot of tee shots over hills where you cannot see the perimeters of the fairways. So the more you can play the golf course, the more comfortable you'll get with it. There's also a lot of approach shots where you can't see the pin or the surface it of the green. So you're again hitting up over hills and hitting a lot of blind shots.
So interesting. I guess -- I think it was Bob Charles that said it's only blind once, so we need to do a good job as players to figure out where we are going and what shots and clubs we can hit off the tees.

Q. Is there an easy answer for the turnaround and turn to form over the last couple of three times out for you versus earlier in the year?
JIM FURYK: I've started to play well. I've not closed the door as well as I would have liked. I had it going good in Canada and was not able to do it. I played well at Bridgestone and not able to get over the hump. I had it over going at the PGA and didn't play well over the weekend. Last week kind of maintained it for four days which was nice.
I could have putted a little bit better last week especially on the weekend and really turned it into a nice week. But you know, I've always said that this year -- you've heard me say it probably a dozen times, I'm not happy with the way I'm driving the ball and I'm not happy with the way I'm putting; tough to score when two of your three most important clubs are out.
I felt like for the last -- since Bridgestone, at least, I've driven the ball pretty well. Put the ball in the fairway a lot more often. Been hitting the ball relatively long for me, as well, which is a nice addition.
I felt a little bit more solid with my putting and a lot of that has been after Vancouver, a week off, I switched to the belly putter and I putted with that through Bridgestone and last week, and the PGA. So it's gone three events for me and I've been going for about a month and getting more and more comfortable every day.
Every day I learn something new about being comfortable, the length of the putter, the weight of the putter, ball position. Just learn something a little new about what I want to do and I'm also getting more comfortable with it.
I feel like my game is on the positive, it's on the upswing but I have to keep that momentum going forward.

Q. I'm sure you new an alarm clock question was coming, but how do you look back on what happened to you last year and if in some ways it turned out to be a positive for you?
JIM FURYK: I don't think missing the tournament -- I don't think there's any positive that can be drawn out of missing the event. I've definitely taken my share of ribbing about it. Rightfully so. I deserve it. I've taken it good natured at least.
If one thing positive about it, we changed that rule. That was a bad rule. So I can say that now. Last year at this time I couldn't say that because it would have sounded like I was crying and whining about it.
But I remember talking about that at PAC meetings for years and years and years and it always came up after a guy got DQ'd said it was a bad rule, the TOUR's answer was, well, it serves its purpose; it keeps guys from skipping the Pro-Am.
But when something severe happens and it catches the media's eye and players rally around it; Phil Mickelson made some pretty outspoken comments, and then that's when it kind of -- I wasn't involved, but the TOUR talked about it and came to me and said they were going to change the rule.
And some players were not happy about that, because it could happen to someone the next two weeks and they wouldn't have been DQ'd when I was. My answer to that was, I would rather just see the right thing done. As a player, we never liked the rules. We need to do our job in the Pro-Ams but I think there was a better fix for the rule.

Q. You mentioned ribbing, was there any one particular rib?
JIM FURYK: No, not really. I got -- everyone said I was going to get a lot of alarm clocks for Christmas and I only got one alarm clock. It was from one of my sponsors, from Johnnie Walker from Diageo, and they sent me a very nice travel alarm clock and had it engraved, and on the outside it says, "Who needs Barclays." (Laughter).
On the inside it says, "Jim Furyk, 2010 FedExCup Champ, from your friends at Diageo."

Q. The "who needs Barclays" aspect of it, sort of a serious question, should the format be such that you could miss one leg of this event and still win?
JIM FURYK: It's just like missing a cut if you think about it. So I guess what would be better, if a guy won -- would you rather see a guy win two out of the four events and miss one cut and not be able to one or a guy that finished fifth, fifth, fifth -- I think winning is important.
I wouldn't want to see a guy miss three cuts and have a chance. It was like missing a cut, was how it worked out. I played well all year, was third going into the Playoffs. So I dropped into 11th before I won at THE TOUR Championship.
But we could sit here and argue all day on whether the points system is right or wrong, if it would be better or not, and there would be no right or wrong answer.
So, trust me, we sit there in PAC meetings and do it all the time and we still haven't gotten anywhere. So that's why we pretty much determined for a lot of years, oh, well, just keep it the way it is. Because no matter what system you come up with, one side is happy, one side is not, you tweak it this way, this side is happy, this side is not.
It's better than it was the first two years, I'll promise you that. Years three and four were much better.

Q. Webb was telling a story about running into you at the supermarket.

Q. He said a lot of fans recognized you.
JIM FURYK: Well, I was in my golf attire. He was in jeans. I was in -- I had my logos and my pants and I had everything on. So it's a little different story. He walked by and kind of smiled, because he had jeans on.

Q. The end of it was he said you at first thought he was another crazed fan, I guess you didn't recognize him right away -- is that how sort of it went.
JIM FURYK: I wouldn't say that.

Q. Well, you know him, obviously.
JIM FURYK: Yes, I know Webb. I was engaged in a conversation, I had just talked to my wife, and I'm trying to think of how I can make the story -- without making it too long. My boy was struggling in football practice, I had just talked to my wife, she was kind of disappointed in his effort, I will say (laughter) in football.
So in my mind, I heard he was loafing a little bit, I don't want this to be a national media thing. But I wasn't very pleased with the output (laughter). And so at that moment when I got off the phone, someone walked over to me and said hello, and I was speaking to him, but my mind was on family and not really talking to him and then Webb walked up and said hello right in the middle of that, and I kind of looked and did a double-take and said, "Hey, how you doing."

Q. So it wasn't a case of you don't know who Webb was or you don't recognize him?
JIM FURYK: No, I know who Webb is. No, my mind was in about six different spots. So I said hello to him. I knew exactly who I was talking to.

Q. He made it sound like might not have recognized him. -
JIM FURYK: Really?

Q. He said not immediately, but pretty much what you described.
JIM FURYK: I would say within about half a second. I don't know how immediate.

Q. He wasn't wearing pink pants and his usual attire. So you had to do a double take?
JIM FURYK: He had jeans -- but no, I know Webb.

Q. Six years ago, before you started monkeying with the belly putter, did you ever strong feelings about whether it was fair?
JIM FURYK: I used it about eight years ago. So five or six.

Q. So ponder whenever it was, some Florida Swing event years ago --
JIM FURYK: Honda, a little bit at PLAYERS. I think this is probably my third or fourth go around.

Q. Let's say ten years ago. Did you think it was an unfair advantage, the anchoring and the belly thing?
JIM FURYK: Ten years ago, no one ever went to the belly putter unless they couldn't putt. So I didn't really think of it as unfair. I thought of it as desperation, if that makes sense. And now you see guys that are using it that -- for me it was still desperation, but I've seen some guys that have gone to it, where you know, they are decent putters but they think it's a better way.
I don't know, I think when you use the word unfair, you're treading on --

Q. Subjective?
JIM FURYK: It's a difficult line. I hate to say a golf course is unfair. I try not to use the term, because now it sounds like you're breaking the rules or it's an unfair advantage.
The rules read a certain way. I think if they were to go ahead and say, you know what, you are not allowed to anchor the putter anymore, you can't use one anymore, the best players will still find a way, if that makes sense. You figure something out, you go with the claw, you figure out why you were not putting particularly well. It is what it is. It's just something, I tried a bunch of different things throughout the year, different grips, different putters, different method, left-hand-low, right-hand low, I did a bunch of different things. I was never really all that comfortable.
I started playing -- I putted with the belly in the past and I was really good at times and really bad at times and I never understood the difference and what caused the bad. So that's why I went away from it. I tried it last year at the Playoffs. I played with it in Boston last year for three rounds.
Actually the reason I'm comfortable right now is after the Canadian Open, the first round, I played with Keegan Bradley and Carl Pettersson, so I got a belly putter and a long putter. Then the third round I played with Peter Lonard and I can't remember, but someone -- so I had another broomstick and another belly. I was the worst were the putter in my group every damn day.
I was watching Keegan and the reason I paid more attention to him was because he's tall and thin, and so we have -- he's probably just a touch taller than me. He's similar than I am but we have similar body types. I watched him putt that way and when the round was over, I had plenty of time to get to my -- I said I want to ask you a question about the belly and I asked a question and he went, I'm not really thinking about any of that and he gave me like two or three tips (pausing -- earthquake shaking interview tent.)
He gave me a couple of tips. It helped and I understand more what I'm supposed to do with it. It was opposite -- some of the tips were opposite of what I was trying to do before, and it kind of makes sense now and my mind it feels better.

Q. You said you played the front nine, just wanted your opinion on the par-4 18th, I know you have not played it yet, but depending where they put the tees it could be a drivable par 4. How do you feel going into the final round how that could play out?
JIM FURYK: I'll love it if I can reach it. (Looking at yardage book). 279.
CHRIS REIMER: It's uphill.
JIM FURYK: I don't know, if half the field can't get there and I can, I like it. How's that?
But I have no problem finishing on a hole that's exciting. It's interesting that you would take a whole -- usually the 18th hole that's 340 -- it's always the toughest hole. I'm guessing that it's not a very long hole and it's going to be a 3-wood and an 8-iron anyway. So they decided they would make something interesting out of it.

Q. I think the members like 370, something like that.
JIM FURYK: So it was a short hole anyway. Sounds like they made something exciting and interesting out of it, where it sounds like it wasn't maybe the toughest hole on the golf course, or one of the tougher four or five holes or finishing holes they were looking for. So it's probably a very good idea.

Q. When you come to a course like this, unfamiliar course, you have some blind shots that you mentioned, does it give an advantage to a veteran player, perhaps --
JIM FURYK: I think a veteran player has an advantage on a course he's played every and over and over again for ten years. We go to Colonial or Memorial or Hilton Head where I don't really need a practice round to be honest with you. I can go in on Tuesday night and play the Pro-Am, to see how the ball is bouncing, if the greens are hard. I can look around real quick and literally nine holes I can say, okay, I know how the course is playing and I know how I'm going to get around.
I've played a lot of random courses this year, Greensboro was the if you understand time. Going to Vancouver, the Canadian Open, was first time I played there. But in my schedule when I go back this year, I played a lot of brand new golf courses.
I always feel like if I get around a course twice, I should be able to learn it pretty well. If it's straightforward once is good. A blind course like this, I feel like if I do my work twice around, I should be able to figure everything out fairly well. By the time I've played it three times, I know the course.

Q. Did you draw any impressions from Keegan playing with him that time? Is there something about his game that might separate him from a pack of young golfers that are out there?
JIM FURYK: We have a lot of good, young players right now and a lot of good young Americans. And I hear -- it's kind of nice because five months ago, six months ago, there was a lot of articles be written about where is American golf going, you've got Tiger, Phil and Strick and me and whoever, we are in our 40s, but you know, I'm going to forget some guys.
But Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, those five, under 30, and you pick any region in the world, and I'll let you pick five guys that are under 30 and I'll take mine against yours any day. We have got some good, young players.
Where it goes from here and how they blossom and mature, who knows, but we have got a lot of good, young talent.
What have I noticed about Keegan's game? He hits the ball hard. I felt like he had a lot of imagination. When he got in bad spots, missed fairway, he found a way to get the ball around the green, get it up-and-down, made fours. The guy didn't really get down on himself very much. I like the fact that he hit it hard and he had some navigation.
CHRIS REIMER: Jim, thanks for coming in, good luck the next five weeks.

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