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July 2, 2005

Jim Furyk


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Jim, for joining us. We'll begin with the Crestor Charity Challenge. As the 54 hole leader, Jim Furyk and Ben Curtis are this week's winners of the Crestor Charity Challenge. In their names a donation of $25,000 will be given to a health care charity of their choices, and in addition the Evans Scholars Foundation will receive $50,000 from Cialis Western Open and Crestor. Congratulations.

JIM FURYK: Thank you, I appreciate it. I think it's a last week since Crestor charted being the sponsor of this, last week was the first week I was in the lead, first time I had that opportunity, and I think it's wonderful. This week I've had a history a little bit with the Western Golf Association winning the Western Junior way back longer than I want to remember, and I played in about four Western Amateurs. This has got to be my 11th or 12th, probably 11th Western Open, so I think the Evans Scholar Foundation is a wonderful idea.

I've met a lot of the caddies along the way out here. I have some friends that have gone through the program such as Gary Planos out of Kapalua. I think it's wonderful. I was told that Ben donated his $25,000 to the Evans Scholars and I'm going to do the same and I'm happy to do that.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Big day out there, big eagle on 15. Talk about the day today and your opportunities for tomorrow.

JIM FURYK: Kind of a similar round. I had some areas where I really struck the ball well, hit a lot of fairways and greens, had some areas where I got myself in trouble, was able to hit a great wedge shot or a key up and down or make a good putt. So I had kind of a mixture of scrambling in some areas and some fairways and greens and some really good golf shots today. Overall just was able to get the ball in the hole, score very well, and again this week, I've got myself in position to try to win the golf tournament tomorrow, so I'll be focused on shooting a good number tomorrow.

Q. Could you just talk a little bit more about that in terms of closing the deal? I know you've been so close this year, and how important that would be to you to get it done this week?

JIM FURYK: Well, I like to I'm not looking back at past events or finishes or anything like that. I'm looking forward. I have an opportunity tomorrow. Any win, no matter what stage of your career you're in, is a big step and I think a wonderful moment. I have that opportunity tomorrow, so I want to go out there and try to take advantage of it and try to play a good round. To do that you have to focus on the same things you have for the first few days, focusing on the means, what it's going to take to shoot a good round tomorrow and try to get it done and try to execute.

Q. You've become a coming in the media room has kind of become part of your post round routine the past couple of weeks. Can you talk a little bit about just the stress of contending two weeks in a row, which you don't see too often on the Tour

JIM FURYK: I thought you were going to say the stress of coming in the media room (laughter).

Q. You don't see that too much on the Tour. Actually you're holding up pretty well.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, a little bit after playing well and contending last week and having to go down the wire, a little bit of it is physical and mental exhaustion. I thought about the things that I could have improved on last week. I put it to rest Monday and tried to come here with a very fresh attitude, knowing that I like this golf course, knowing that I was playing very well, and obviously I was able to do that.

But some of it also is just physical. After four tough days I was in the lead pretty much all week last week, so it takes its toll on you. It's physically tiring; just probably because you're working so hard mentally, I think it wears it out physically. So I got some rest on Monday and Tuesday. I didn't spend a lot of time here at the golf course on Tuesday and just tried to prepare and get rested and get ready to go that week, and so far I've done a good job.

Q. Are you still feeling pretty fresh out there?

JIM FURYK: Oh, yeah. I think tomorrow when the tournament is over I'll be worn out, but in any sport the Super Bowl comes late in the year and the guys get up for one game and Game Seven comes in the World Series or in basketball, guys are worn out, but I think I can make it one more round.

Q. You've been in nice form lately. What do you credit it to and do you feel like you're all the way back to pre wrist surgery?

JIM FURYK: I do, I do. You know, I feel, again, a lot of it is going to be a lot of my game is going to be compared to '03. A lot of people aren't going to think I'm fully back until I have a season like I did in '03 or play like I did in '03. Coincidentally that happens to be my best year ever. I played more consistent and I won two events, which I had never done in one year before; I won a major championship, which I had never done before.

It's kind of a good news, bad news. It just happened to come right before having wrist surgery, so the comparisons, I won't say they're unfair, but the bar is set and the standard is set very high, which I think is okay. At least you've got something to shoot for. I feel every bit as good as I did in years 2000 to 2003. Those were four very good years for me. I feel every bit as good about my game as I did then. My health is actually probably better. I feel like I'm physically in a little better shape and a little stronger.

Q. With that in mind, do you expect of yourself play as good or better than you played in '03 now and going forward?

JIM FURYK: Well, we're always striving for that. You know, Vijay's best year was last year, and he's had a ton of incredible years in his career. I think the difficult thing for him is how do you try to top last year, top nine wins and $10 million or whatever it was. It was a ridiculous number, whatever it was. It's difficult to do.

For me '03 was my best year. That's where the bar is set. Obviously I want to have a better year than that. I'd like to win a lot more golf tournaments and love to win major championships, and that's what I'm trying to accomplish.

Q. Going to this year, three 2nds, you're knocking on the door. Do the 2nds wear on you or do you think of that as more just a matter of time thing?

JIM FURYK: Well, I won't lie. My quote last week was when you go through what I did last week, after all the rounds I was tied for the lead, finished 2nd and walked in, 2nd kind of stinks. No one remembers who finished 2nd. I worked hard all week, and getting close and not quite accomplishing the goal is sometimes worse than finishing 3rd or 4th and saying I had a great week, and you walk out with a smile and you go to the next tournament.

So in a way, sure, it's frustrating, but I was frustrated last week. I think that's just natural. Anyone in that position would have been. But there's a lot of positives to draw out of the way I've played this year. The questions that I get sitting in this chair are starting to skew a little bit to the better side instead of "when are you going to start to play like you did in '03?" Eventually I'm going to walk in here and someone is going to say, "You're playing like you did in '03."

It's good to be playing well again. I take a lot of positives out of those finishes. I had some opportunities, lost in a playoff, lost by one last week. I think MCI I was only a couple back, but I don't think anyone would have assumed that Peter and Darren were going to come back to the field like they did. I think with 11 holes to go I was 8 or 9 back, and standing on 16, I was thinking, my God, I have a chance to win the tournament. I kind of was a little bit mystified myself. It happens, and so that one maybe not quite, but I've had two or three really good opportunities, and it's been fun to be in that position.

Q. How are you going to approach tomorrow? I know players take different approaches to playing in the lead. It's kind of bunched up at the top, there's other guys hovering. Do you watch the leaderboards tomorrow? Does your caddie watch the leaderboards? How are you going to do it?

JIM FURYK: I don't think there's really any great decisions made until maybe you're standing on the last couple of holes as far as where you stand in the field. When you go out there early in the day, you're just trying to shoot a good number, trying to accomplish the same things you have in the first three rounds, and you go out there and play intelligent golf, aggressive golf, but you pick and choose your spots.

You know, my style or my game won't alter tomorrow as far as what I'm trying to do with the golf course. I'm going to try to go out and play a good round and fire a good number. Those decisions, as far as guys playing less aggressive or more aggressive or going at a pin or playing away from a pin, I mean, that kind of comes down the stretch. If you've got a three shot lead on 18, I think you're going to play it a little less aggressive. You've got to make birdie, you're hitting driver and firing at the pin and trying to make 3.

As far as looking at leaderboards, those huge billboards that are hard to miss. I don't get too wrapped up in what's going on, but I like looking at the board, but today I actually didn't spend a whole heck of a lot of time looking at it. I knew the golf course was playing relatively tough and I knew I was in or close to the lead a lot of the day. I had an idea of where everyone stood, but I won't stare at it every hole, but I'll keep an eye just looking once in a while.

Q. Do you look at the numbers or do you look at the names, too?

JIM FURYK: Well, I mean, a little of both. The number is what's more important. I don't really let's put it this way, I'm not fearing any player and I'm not taking any player for granted, how's that. Everyone is capable of winning the golf tournament. The number is what's more important than who's beside it. Everyone that's played this well to this point has got an opportunity to win the golf tournament, and I'm not taking anyone for granted, nor really could you because I can't control what those other people do, I can only control how I play, so I'm going to worry about my game and try to play a good round.

Q. What's been the key to your rebound and recent good play?

JIM FURYK: As far as this year or the last couple weeks?

Q. Last month, this year. What's going on?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, a lot of it well, one is just being a little bit more consistent. Last year coming back after five months off, I had some good events. I put together three, four, five good events but I wasn't consistent over the long haul. I was out of rhythm a little bit. Towards the end of the year I put a lot of pressure on myself because I knew I only had a half a year, and for a quarter of a year I was really just trying to didn't put any pressure on myself, wondering if my wrist is going to hold up, how things are going. Then once I knew I was all right I had 25 percent of the season left and I tried to put the accelerator down and got impatient and expected a lot of myself, and that's really no way to play golf.

This year I knew I was healthy, I knew I was 100 percent, I really expected myself to come out in '05 and play every bit as good as I did before 2004, and it's a calming feeling knowing that I had a whole year, that you don't have to get it this week. You can be patient, let things happen, and know that you're going to have some good weeks, you're going to have some bad weeks, and you try to take advantage of the ones when you're playing good.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can we go through your card, starting with the birdie at No. 4?

JIM FURYK: Birdie on No. 4 was a 3 wood and a 9 iron to about ten feet down the hill, made that for birdie.

Bogeyed No. 5, hit a poor drive in the right rough, had to lay up, didn't particularly hit a good wedge shot, and two putted for bogey there.

No. 7, I hit a driver off the tee and I hit my gap wedge to about six feet behind the hole, knocked that in, downhill putt.

Then 9, actually drove it in the right rough, had to lay up with a 7 iron, caught one of those trees and it short right. Hit a 9 iron up over some trees, hit a 7 iron into I'd say 15 to 20 feet, somewhere in there, and knocked that in for birdie.

Only other exciting hole was 15. I had a couple good up and downs on the back, but 15 I hit a really good drive down the left side and hit 5 iron into that green, which I'd love to hit more 5 irons into par 5s, about 30 feet behind the pin and was able to roll it in.

Q. Was that big mentally, a little boost there at that point?

JIM FURYK: It was just I knew I was close to the lead or around it, and hitting a good drive and getting 5 iron in your hand, you want to take advantage. I hit a good shot right at the pin. The pin was right up in front close to the bunker. I knew it was towards the middle or the back of the green. It was towards the middle, about 30 feet. It was a downhill putt that I knew was going to get to the hole, just trying to get the right pace. You get a bonus getting one of those long ones go in.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Jim, for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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