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July 25, 2012
NELSON SILVERIO:Â Welcome two‑time RBC Canadian Open champion Jim Furyk.Â Jim, welcome back.Â First starter was in '06 here at Hamilton.Â Maybe get us started on talking about coming back to the site of your first win and what you saw out there today.
JIM FURYK:Â Well, obviously it's nice to come back.Â I told y'all how much I liked the golf course back in '06.Â Not much has changed really.Â They added some yardage to No. 1, maybe 10 yards and fairway bunkers on 7, but the rest of the golf course looks very similar.Â You get good feelings coming back, you remember some good shots.
You know, the golf course is a little softer this year.Â I know there's been a big drought all summer, but outside the periphery here you can see some maybe browning in the rough outside of play, but inside the rough the golf course is very green.Â They must have been irrigating it quite a bit.Â And then the rain on Sunday left the golf course very soft for Monday's round when I played early in the Pro Am.Â It's firmed up a little since, firmed up quite a bit since, but it's still somewhat receptive.Â And I'll be interested to see what happens with the weather the rest of the week.Â I think it'll have a direct effect on the scoring.
NELSON SILVERIO:Â Okay.Â Let's open it up to questions.
Q.Â Jim, just on the golf course, you were saying how soft it was.Â Can you compare ‑‑ I know it's early in the week, but can you compare the setup as far as the rough goes to last year at Shaughnessy?
JIM FURYK:Â Well, actually Shaughnessy was ‑‑ that was extremely damp.Â You had dew in the fairways and the rough until about noon there.Â It didn't seem really to ever burn off.Â Made the rough very large, very thick, very deep and very penal.Â You can get in some spots here where it's difficult, but that was far more penal rough than what we're seeing this week.
Q.Â Brandt was in here yesterday and he talked about last week at Lytham regarding specifically the bunkers.Â He called them the most penal bunkering that he has ever experienced.Â Would you subscribe to that or is there something else that you can even compare it to?
JIM FURYK:Â I think from a bunker itself, I don't think the bunkers at Lytham are really all that penal as far as the depth and the shape and the size.
Q.Â I think he was talking more about the moisture in it, too, Jim, probably.Â Just the situation I think.
JIM FURYK:Â I would totally disagree with that.Â I think what he was probably trying to say was probably more in the setup of the golf course than the layout of the golf course.Â And a lot of Open championships you can try to take bunkers out of play.Â They're out there at 280 yards, you make sure you don't hit it past 260.Â You stay short of them.
Here ‑‑ at Lytham they're staggered a lot, so you always have to challenge one side, if that makes sense.Â When you go back to like Liverpool, remember, Tiger, the bunkers kind of went this way, on a lot of holes where they started out wide short and narrowed in tight.Â So you could try to challenge the bunkers and hit a longer club, but it made no sense.Â Tiger played iron off almost every tee there, played it back into a fat part of the fairway where he didn't have to challenge the bunkers and played from there, which was a smart play.
At Lytham, the way they're staggered, you're always challenging one side.Â You have to.Â It forces you to.Â So I think from an architectural standpoint, I think that's some of the most penal bunkers, but just from being able to get out of them, I think St. Andrews and some places are far worse where guys just can't get out of bunkers.
Q.Â Just to follow up, and switching gears, following your career as closely as I have over the years, there's a movement of in and out with putters for you is something you do quite a lot.Â You'll switch them out.Â What goes into the thought process when Jim Furyk moves from one putter to another?Â Do you get bored with them or do they misbehave, or what's behind that?
JIM FURYK:Â I'll go for a year or two at a time without switching, and then when I start, I'll switch quite often until I feel comfortable, until I like what I see.
I'm not afraid to switch putters, as you know.Â I've had the same one in the bag now since October of last year, without fail.Â I've had that same one in every round I've played since then.Â Since the Presidents Cup.Â Is that October or November?Â I don't know.Â One of those months.Â I've had the same putter in the bag.Â But for me it's getting comfortable with my alignment first and foremost.
I always feel like if I know where I'm setting up and I really get comfortable with, you know, all right, I think this is a right‑edge putt and I've got my putter set up right edge, I feel like I can make a lot of putts.Â But sometimes I feel like you get used to a certain putter and the way it looks and my bad habit used to be I aimed left on my putt.Â Recent years it's been kind of aiming right.Â But I think when we as TOUR pros, as much as we practice, as good as we are at hand‑eye coordination, I feel like when we get going bad with a putter, the first thing I always look at is my alignment.Â If I don't feel it's good, I'll try to make a switch to get comfortable with where I'm going.
Q.Â I think I know the answer to this, Jim, but would you ever consider a long putter?
JIM FURYK:Â I putted with a belly for a couple months last year.Â Right after the Canadian Open last year I put a belly in at Firestone and used it through the PLAYOFFS.Â And I think even maybe at Sea Island and then over in China, and when I came back from China, I think I decided to go back to the short putter for the Presidents Cup.Â I've stuck with it since.
Q.Â Any particular reason?
JIM FURYK:Â I wasn't happy at all with my putting last year.Â I had a very poor year putting.Â I didn't drive the ball very well last year, I didn't putt very well last year and that's two of the three most important parts of the game.Â So to try to get a little more confidence on the greens and try to hole some more putts.
Q.Â And why give up on the belly?
JIM FURYK:Â Why give up?
Q.Â Yeah, on the belly itself.
JIM FURYK:Â You know, I saw myself making some of the same mistakes and hitting some of the same poor putts I was with the shorter putter.Â I had success with the short putter in my career.Â It's been a good putter.Â Earlier in my career I led the putting stats one year.Â So I knew it was there.Â I had to maybe figure out how to go back to basics and get back to playing more solid.
Q.Â Obviously you're hearing the controversy going on about the belly putters these days.
JIM FURYK:Â I know the USGA and the R&A have been real serious about the possibility of banning them.
Q.Â What do you think?
JIM FURYK:Â I don't really understand why.Â I feel like it's a little bit of a knee‑jerk reaction.Â I feel like, you know, they allowed it for 30 years.Â All of a sudden you've got Keegan at the PGA, you got Webb at the U. S. Open.Â You got Ernie.Â That was before that.Â I didn't hear that much about it until after the U. S. Open and then it was brought to my attention as a board member of the PGA TOUR that they were seriously considering.
And if they did, we started talking about we'd have to think about possibly what the TOUR would do in that case, would we follow suit or not.
And you know, none of those discussions are ‑‑ we haven't had any of those discussions, but it was just something brought up.
I disagree.Â Even more from a PGA TOUR perspective, but from an average, every day player.Â I've got a lot of friends that don't putt very well at our local club that shoot 80 to 85.Â They enjoy the game of golf.Â They putt with a belly putter or long putter.Â It helps them get around, and to take that away I think takes away from the enjoyment of golf, and with what we've got going on with people leaving the game and less and less people playing, I think the golf industry is maybe coming around a little bit out of what we've seen economically, but still not as strong as we need it to be.Â And a lot of that's having fun and enjoying yourself, and I think we're doing a lot of things with the rules and with golf course design that aren't making the game as fun as it could be.
Q.Â Have you talked about bifurcation at all?
JIM FURYK:Â I really don't understand why bifurcation couldn't work, but I may be very short ‑‑ that one I'll ‑‑ I'll be more reserved about.Â I'm sure someone could give me a good idea why.Â I just haven't heard it yet, if that makes sense.Â I honestly think you should play from a different set of rules than issued.Â I have no problem with that.
Q.Â Having won the Canadian twice, does the Canadian Open have extra meaning for you and are you surprised that more of the top names in the game don't make the commitment to play here?
JIM FURYK:Â No.Â It definitely has a special place for me.Â It's a national open.Â It has a rich history and tradition.Â I think it's the third or fourth oldest ‑‑ third oldest national open in the world.Â I think Argentina is the fourth or Australia is the fourth, one of those.Â And then us.Â Australia is five, I believe.Â Is that right?
Yeah, if I could just get a British Open, that would be great because I got an Argentina, Canadian and U. S., but I can't get the oldest one.Â But yeah, it means a lot to me.Â I think that RBC has done a great job.Â We sat in meetings as players years ago back in Angus Glen in '07 trying to woo a sponsor, trying to figure out how to restore this tournament back to its glory days, and it started, one, was we needed to secure a sponsor from a financial aspect, and two, I think it was a good idea to start moving this golf tournament around to some of the better golf courses in the country.
And you see it at Shaughnessy and Royal Montreal and Hamilton and St. George, and you've got some great golf courses in this country.Â A national open should move around.
Now, the one negative probably is it's a difficult date.Â You're sitting in the middle of two major championships and a World Golf Championships, so the best players in the world have to play those three events.Â And if they're to play this event, it's going to be four in a row.Â And some players don't like to do that.Â So that's your difficult spot.
Q.Â Beyond the dates is there anything else you think could get some of the top players to come here, short of switching dates or anything like that?Â I know it helps to have it move around and things like that, but any thoughts on that in terms of getting more of the bigger names to come to this open?
JIM FURYK:Â I think that getting the best players and getting strong fields is a very simple format, in my opinion.Â You can throw all the player and family parties and you can do all the hospitality that you want, but if you have a very good golf course and a thick purse, usually the best players show up.
Now, that's short of a date, if that makes sense.Â But you know, Wachovia was given a very good date.Â It's Wells Fargo now, was given a very good date in May right before THE PLAYERS Championship, but great golf course, bigger purse.Â They get a great field every year.Â They're mad that they didn't get Bubba and someone else this year, and I started laughing.Â I go, you know, it's kind of have or have not.Â This is an event, well, Bubba is not here and such and such is not here.Â I was like, you know how many tournaments would kill to say those are the only two guys that aren't there.Â You have a wonderful field.Â And they kind of laughed and said, yeah, I guess you're right when you think of it that way.
But I'm not one to really ever get ‑‑ to me it's always been about the golf course, and strength of field.Â The strength of field is driven by golf courses first and foremost.Â If I like the golf course, I'm going to play.Â I don't care who's showing up or what the purse is.Â But those are the things that drive players to play golf tournaments.
JIM FURYK:Â It's not mindless, one.Â You've gotta work the ball around it.Â Even a guy like me who's not all that long, I'm not going to hit a lot of drivers, but it's about working the golf ball and putting it in certain spots on the fairway.Â The greens are very severe, usually from back to front.Â Gotta keep the ball under the pin to be able to score.
You just have to create a lot of shots out here.Â But it reminds me of ‑‑ I grew up in the northeast part, Pennsylvania, northeast part of the United States.Â I played on old golf courses.Â I saw someone said today this was built in 1894.Â I played on golf courses that were built in the 1920s and 1930s a lot, and I just enjoy that era and that style of architecture.Â That's the tour I'm comfortable, and it makes sense to me.
JIM FURYK:Â You can't ever ‑‑ I don't think you can ever pick that out if someone's going to run away from the field.Â I think the scores that we shoot are a lot more reflective of the setup of a golf course than they are of the difficulty of a golf course.Â You can pick ‑‑ you know, you can go pick out a very difficult layout, but if you put no roughs out there, it makes the greens somewhat receptive and you put the pins in easier spots, the best players in the world are going to find a way to shoot 64.Â It just happens.
And you can go to a golf course that maybe isn't nearly as tough from an architectural standpoint, but if you narrow the fairways out, grow the rough high, stake out the greens, make them firm and fast and hide the pins, you just can't shoot as good of scores.Â So our scores are reflective of the setup.
Now, if we can keep this place pretty dry, it keeps firming up, the greens get a little faster then scoring will be more difficult, but if we get the rain you're talking about and the golf course stays soft, someone's going to fire a good number around here.
Q.Â When you look at the struggles that Mike Weir has gone through, what goes through your mind when you see something like that?Â I know it's been injury related, but what goes through your mind when you see the struggles he has right now?
JIM FURYK:Â Well, Mike's a friend, so I guess ‑‑ I care about how he's doing and wish him well, and I guess first and foremost, just you know, he's a good friend.Â He's really well liked on TOUR.Â He's a great guy.Â I can't imagine someone saying a bad word about him.Â I'd be worried about that guy rather than anyone else.Â So I think everyone would like to see him come out of it and start playing well, and guys have done that in the past.
I mean look at a guy like Lee Westwood who was on the bottom for a while and came back to be No. 1 in the world.Â You have Steve Stricker who was off the TOUR for a while and has come back and played very well into his mid 40s.Â So guys have done it, and for one reason or another, injury or whatever it may be, I'm not sure what those reasons are, but he carries a lot of pressure on him.Â He's carried the flag up here for years and years and years, and probably carries a little bit more pressure than the rest of us do.
You know, I might carry a state of Pennsylvania at home and so does Sean O'Hair in Pennsylvania.Â And we'll never match Arnold Palmer.Â You can take Sean and I and add us up and multiply us times a thousand, we're still never going to be Arnold Palmer.Â Mike for ten years, for a decade was the face of Canadian golf, and wherever he went, I heard it, followed the Presidents Cup.Â There was a lot of pressure on him as well.
And I went to the grocery store yesterday and a guy wished me well in the tournament and in the very next sentence he said, but I think this is the event Mike Weir pulls out of it and wins.Â I said, I'll be honest with you, I hope you're right.Â I think it would be great.Â It would be a great story.Â I wish him well, and I know how hard a worker he is, and I believe he'll play better and start playing well again.
Q.Â To follow up on what you were talking about with the long putter, the USGA and R&A decides to outlaw the long or anchored putter or whatever, is it out of the realm of possibility since you're involved in PGA TOUR government that the TOUR would allow it anyway?
JIM FURYK:Â That's something we'd have to talk about.Â Is it out of the realm?Â I love the careful choice of your words.Â It's something that we'll have to discuss.Â It's happened before in the fact that in the rule with Carson and the grooves and the USGA.Â The TOUR has gone opposite of what the USGA has done or done something different than the USGA.Â So it wouldn't be the first time.
But you know, I would be out of line speaking really about what we would do as a board as an individual when we really haven't talked about it.Â It was mentioned to us.Â It was brought up that they were ‑‑ you know, they've been talking about it for years, but it was brought to our attention that, you know, hey, I think this time they're serious, to put it in simple terms.
If that's the case, we would need to talk as a TOUR what we would do.Â That's all the farther we've gotten.
Q.Â And I want to ask you another question, too.Â We saw what happened with Adam at Royal Lytham.
JIM FURYK:Â I didn't see it.Â Unfortunately I was on the bus, and so I heard some of it on the radio, but it was breaking in and out.Â I know he bogeyed the last hole.Â I'm not sure exactly how he did it, other than he three‑putted.Â I kind of figured out 16, 17 and 18 a little bit.Â Go ahead.
Q.Â You've been in situation and had leads, especially in major championships.Â Can you just speak of the mentality, the hurdles, the demons maybe that you may have rattling around while you're trying to win that event?
JIM FURYK:Â I think in any event, you have a lead, especially when it's ‑‑ when it's a one‑shot lead or a two‑shot lead it's easy to stay aggressive.Â When you get a four‑shot lead, and I've only had one opportunity to actually ever get a big lead like that, and it was at the U. S. Open when I won.Â I had a four‑shot lead on the back nine, most of the back nine really.Â I went three or four for most of the back nine.
It is a struggle then ‑‑ it's like anything else.Â If you have a 25‑foot putt straight up the hill on any day, you know, you're trying to knock the putt in and it's kind of given that you're going to two‑putt it in the back of your head.Â If I give you the same putt to win a tournament or to win a whole in Match Play, it becomes difficult and it's more of a mental game you play with yourself.
When that's all you have to do and it's right there in front of you easy, like a tennis player that has a lob up there and could just spike it over the net and he drills it into the net pr hits it long and he's done that a thousand times with his wife and missed one and there it was.Â When you're just trying to get in, it's harder.Â You kind have to play tricks with your mind.
I think what I've always tried to do in that situation is I'll make a conservative play.Â Say I'm in a match play hole and the guy I'm playing against I know he's going to make bogey or worse.Â And I'm sitting in the middle of the fairway.Â Well, I try to take a conservative line for my second shot, but I try to make an aggressive swing for that line.Â And when you start trying to make a conservative swing, stuff goes bad, if that makes sense.
You know, we've all made the same mistake he did.Â We've all blown a lead.Â We've all had our opportunities and it's not the best feeling in the world.Â You know, and then when you watch, you go, how in the hell can you do that?Â But you know what, any of us that have been in that situation, we understand.Â It can happen.
JIM FURYK:Â Real simple.Â You don't have a choice.
JIM FURYK:Â You don't have a choice.Â You can fade away or go away or you can get pissed off and work harder and try to come back stronger.Â I've never really looked at it as a ‑‑ I had a veteran player walk up to me one year when I lost ‑‑ I four‑putted a hole in Hawaii.Â I ended up losing, like on 15.Â I birdied 16, bogeyed 17, birdied 18, got in a playoff, played good in the playoff and I lost.Â A guy walked up to me ‑‑ a month later I'd played good in a couple of events, and he said, you know, I'm really proud of you for hanging in there.Â I said why.Â He said that would like ruin some guys' career.
And I had honestly to that point I had no idea what he was talking about.Â I looked at him like, I mean ‑‑ yeah, I was upset.Â I cried that night.Â I was a young player.Â I cried that night.Â But it's golf.Â My parents still love me.Â My girl friend was with me.Â Everything was ‑‑ you know, no one's ‑‑ I was going to live.Â So you look at it in perspective.Â For me that stuff's always made me mad.Â I don't really have a choice because I want to be successful.Â You move on and you're better because of it.Â That's it.Â No options.
NELSON SILVERIO:Â Thank you, Jim.
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