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June 30, 2005

Jim Furyk


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Jim, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center. Great round today, 7 under, four straight birdies. Why don't you just begin by talking about the day, maybe the conditions, how they changed and how the delay might have affected you.

JIM FURYK: Well, the delay is not that always gets blown out of proportion. I think the only way that can affect you is maybe if you go to the range, you warm up and you're ready to go and then they call for a delay. They made the announcement this morning a few minutes after 6:00, and the first tee time was 7:00 and it was pouring rain and it was cracking lightning, so I'm pretty sure no one was out on the range warming up. It wasn't really a big deal.

Actually the conditions were relatively soft yesterday. I think we got some rain Tuesday night, also, but with all the rain we got last night and this morning, it was quite soft out there, and the ball wasn't rolling very much from the fairways, was hitting a lot more club off some of the tee boxes. The greens were very soft at times, actually hitting an extra short iron, knocking it down, making sure into the wind the ball wouldn't spin back too much. I had to adjust a little bit, but it was easy to kind of get out there and get a feel for how things were going to be for the day.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Was the wind pretty consistent throughout the day once you started?

JIM FURYK: No, I didn't think it was actually. I think it blew it started this morning blowing more from the south, maybe southwest, and it ended up blowing more from the west and maybe even a little bit even from the northwest. It was kind of it kind of slowly rotated as the day went and I think threw us for a loop a couple times. Now it seems to be pretty steady and pretty consistent out there. It actually picked up quite a bit. It blew much harder on my second side than it did this morning.

Q. You won the 2003 Open at Olympia Fields. Are the Chicago south suburbs kind of a comfort zone for you right now?

JIM FURYK: Well, I've just always been real comfortable at Cog Hill. I think the last time I was here, I was 18, playing Western Junior. I liked the golf course then. I've played a lot of Western Opens here now, and I've had a fair bit of success and a lot of really high finishes. I like the golf course, I'm comfortable here, and as far as Olympia, it just was obviously a great week for me and a golf course, as championship venues go, that I was very comfortable, and I got to the golf course Tuesday or Wednesday before the tournament started. It set up well for me, and at the time I was playing great. I was having my best year to date, and I took advantage of that.

Q. That kind of leads into my question. The comfort level, we've had Ben Curtis and Harrison Frazar in here, who aren't really comfortable with their games. You come to a place and it's like you can just lock in and go. What is it you see?

JIM FURYK: Being comfortable with your game and being comfortable with the course I'm really comfortable in Vegas, but if I'm not playing well, I'm not going to do all that well. I know if I'm playing well, I can do well on this golf course. That's how I feel here. If I come in here playing well, I feel good about it.

Q. Do you have an edge when you put your car in the parking lot?

JIM FURYK: I wouldn't say that. It's nice to return to places where you've played well before. I haven't won here, so it's not by any means I don't maybe have the memories that I do at maybe some other places around the country, but it's nice when you get out of the car knowing that either I'm playing well right now and I'm playing at a course I really like, or maybe I'm not playing the greatest but I've played well here in the past and you try to feed off that a little bit. There's definitely something to the phrase that there's certain horses for courses, and there's places that I go to that I am not comfortable at all and I've never played well there, and eventually I quit playing there.

If I don't have a lot of success a bunch of times, there's no reason to kind of keep showing up and beating my head against the wall.

Q. Have you or your game changed much since Olympia Fields? It's a lifetime milestone for anybody.

JIM FURYK: Have I changed

Q. You or your game? Is it much different between you now and you in 2003?

JIM FURYK: Not really, not really. I used to tease you all after I won that the only difference was is everyone listened a lot more when I spoke and asked me a lot more questions. My answers seemed to matter more all of a sudden. I maybe have to choose my words a little bit more carefully. Other than that, no.

I think for a guy maybe like John Daly when he won the PGA, obviously he has a good game and was capable of winning more major championships, but to go from relative I wouldn't say that no one knew who he was but there was quite a few people watching on TV saying I'm not sure who John Daly is, he's a rookie on Tour, didn't know much about his game, so for him to go win the PGA and become a household name, that's a huge jump. I had been on Tour for it was my tenth year on Tour, I had had seven other victories, had been on Ryder Cup teams and Presidents Cup teams. So although it was a crowning point of my career, it wasn't a I wasn't blown away. It wasn't all of a sudden no one knew who I was to winning a major championship. It was definitely more recognizable, especially for the months following, but it wasn't like a life changing experience for me.

Q. How did you feel about what happened last Sunday and how long does it take for you to kind of get

JIM FURYK: I was over it until you mentioned it (laughter). You know, obviously I was disappointed. I played well all week. I made a few key mistakes down the stretch, a mistake or two down the stretch, left the door open. Padraig came up with a big putt on 18. You know, I was disappointed. I should have never been in the position to where that putt, in my mind, would have affected the outcome.

I was. It's something I have to live with, and it's something that I have gotten over. This game is going to beat you up if you dwell on things too long. I kind of looked at the situation, I looked at what I could have done better. I also looked at I did get a couple bad breaks here and there, and many guys don't make 65 footers that break about 17 different ways on the way up there to beat you. But I also looked at the fact that it was my fault, I shouldn't have made some mistakes, realized what I could have done better and then put it behind me and then come out this week and try to do the best you can. I won't look back.

It's happened to me before, I've done it before. I've also been on the good side of that, too, where maybe the guy played a little better than me and I won the tournament. It happens.

Q. Do you feel like you're back to along those lines, as well as you've played this year, do you allow yourself to feel like you're due again for a victory at some point?

JIM FURYK: Nothing is a for sure in this game; no one or no course or nothing owes me. I feel like I've been knocking on the door, but I've never felt I've never gotten in a position in this game where I felt like I'm owed a win or you have to go out and earn it on the PGA TOUR, and I've played well. I'm happy with that fact, but of course I would have loved to have won a golf tournament this year instead of having three 2nds.

It's something I'm striving for, something that's important to me, but to dwell on it and to focus on just trying to win a golf tournament isn't how you win golf tournaments. You have to focus on the means and what do I need to improve on, what do I need to get better on and what decisions do I need to make to put myself in those positions and keep putting myself in positions and keep giving myself opportunities.

Q. Looks like you're back to playing "Jim Furyk golf," for lack of a better phrase. Do you feel that way, and how long has it been since you felt really good that you've been in the stretch you're in, playing well?

JIM FURYK: I felt pretty good about my game there was a couple places last year where I felt good about my game, but as far as being consistent, being able to scratch out some of the rounds where I might not be hitting it quite as well as I want and holding weeks together and playing real well for a long period of time, I'd say since the end of the West Coast, since March 1st, right in that area, where I've really played consistent and played real well since that point. I've had a good share of two, three really good opportunities to win golf tournaments, and it's been fun to be back in that position and playing well.

I'm looking forward to the first question when someone says, "well, obviously it's all behind you now" instead of everyone asking about whether I feel like my game is back or in good shape, and I'm looking forward to the time when no offense, but I'm looking forward to the time when the questions revolve around other things instead of the wrist and the surgery and the injury and coming back and the shape of the game, and I understand why that is, but I really feel like in the last four or five months I've really played well, and I feel good about my game, and I've kind of I've said that quite often week to week and felt good about it. I hope everyone realizes it, I guess.

Q. What do you think it's going to take to get those questions to stop?

JIM FURYK: For you to quit asking them (laughter). You know, I don't know. I really don't. I'm more joking about the fact, but last week I went out, shot 65 the first round, and I spent two thirds of my interview talking about my surgery again. It kind of reminds me of being a rookie and coming in the interview room with a lead and talking about my swing for 25 minutes out of a 30 minute interview.

I'm not really frustrated by it. I have a lot of good friends within the media and a lot of people that I like and respect a lot, and a lot of it is a lot of the questions they genuinely want to know about my game, and there's a few that I feel are genuinely concerned about it, that are pulling for me. I don't mean it in a negative sense, but I guess I keep getting the question how do you feel about your game, do you feel like you're back to where you were in '03, do you feel like you're back here, and I'm waiting for that first guy to say, well, obviously you're back to where you were in '02 or '03 and kind of move onto the next question. That will be a good day.

Q. When do you feel like you actually closed the book on it? When is the last time it concerned you?

JIM FURYK: My wrist, my health? My health was a concern to me maybe last August the last time I ever felt like I wanted to just make sure that I had the longevity and the ability to play, like right now I'm in the middle of my fifth tournament in a row. I want to be able to work out, do things off the golf course, carry my children, be able to play ball with my kids when they get older, know that I have the ability to do all of those things. That was put behind me.

As far as putting pressure on myself about my game, I wasn't particularly happy with the way I played when I did play last year from a consistency standpoint. I played well in small spurts. The consistency bothered me, and I think I put that behind me earlier this year because I really felt like when I came out, I had a good I actually had kind of a good off season last year. A couple events I played in, I played really well. The practice I did at home before this year started went really well, and I fully expected to come out in '05 and have a year like I had in 2000, '01, '02, '03.

I'd say the first of the year that was behind me because I expected to come out and have the seasons that I did in those years, and so far I am.

Q. Safe to say Jim Furyk himself has not been concerned about his wrist since last August?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, that would be very safe to say. That would be very safe to say. I think more of the questions are focused more on my game rather than my health. Originally it was how is your health, how is your wrist doing. Now the questions have focused more on is my game back in the condition it was in '03.

Again, '03 was my best year, so to say it was in the same condition it was in 2000, '01, '02, I might say it's better. '03, we're picking the best point in my career. Maybe it was unfortunate that the best year of my career came right before wrist surgery, I don't know.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can we go through your round here? You started on 10.

JIM FURYK: Started on 10, hit a driver in the fairway and my gap wedge to about seven feet on the 1st hole. Made that for birdie.

My other birdie on the back nine was 15. I hit a driver and a 3 wood just kind of short left of the green, and I pitched up to about six inches, tapped that in for birdie.

On the front nine, I hit a 3 wood off the tee on 1, and it went a lot shorter than I expected, and I hit 5 iron into the green. I hit a 5 iron to about six or seven feet, made that for birdie.

And then four birdies in a row, driver and a 6 iron on No. 5, playing downwind today, and hit that to about 15 feet.

I made a bomb on No. 6, hit a 5 iron that went a lot farther than my caddie and I expected, and it had to be 40 plus feet from the top ridge down to the bottom, and curled that one in for birdie.

Then I hit a driver and a 6 iron to about six feet on 7. That hole was playing long back into the wind.

And No. 8, I hit a 3 wood off the tee down the left side in the left short cut and had to play a little hook 9 iron around the willow tree and used the backstop of the ridge and brought it back to about three, four feet probably at the most on No. 8.

Q. It seems like you have a lot of confidence heading into this tournament and also in a couple of weeks going over to St. Andrews for the British Open.

JIM FURYK: Well, playing well last week and coming to a course I like this week was nice. That's a good feeling.

I'm excited about St. Andrews. I will say that I'm a player that really feels prepared as far as doing your homework, knowing your yardage book, knowing your way around golf courses. St. Andrews is by far the most difficult test of being prepared that I've ever witnessed. There's so many different ways to play that golf course, and even though I played the Open there in 2000, I think 2000 was the last time, I've been around the place probably 10, 12 times, I still feel like I don't know the golf course as well as I would like to, and there isn't a place I played Olympia Fields twice and felt like I could get around that golf course with my eyes closed. Not from a physical standpoint, but mentally I knew what I was supposed to do with the golf ball.

There aren't many golf courses that I can play ten times that I don't really feel good about where I'm supposed to hit it a bunch of times. My caddie has been around there a ton. I'll use a lot of his knowledge. You can hit tee shots that are 70 yards different angles from one day to the next due to how the wind is blowing and how it's playing. I'm excited about it and anxious to get some practice rounds and get a good feel for the course.

That's maybe more long winded than you were hoping for.

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

JIM FURYK: Thanks, appreciate it.

End of FastScripts.

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