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June 25, 2005

Jim Furyk


CHRIS REIMER: Jim, obviously thanks for coming into the interview room. We talked a little bit about the CRESTOR Charity Challenge, being a co winner, that $50,000 is going to go to the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital here at Westchester Medical Center, on behalf of you and Padraig and the Barclays Classic. You'll also be awarded $25,000 to donate to the healthcare charity of your choice through CRESTOR.

The PGA TOUR is approaching the one billion dollars in charity mark. If you could start the interview just talking a little bit about giving back and what that means to both you and being a part of the Tour.

JIM FURYK: Well, it's actually frightening, I think, about one billion dollars over the course of the history of the Tour. I think that's amazing, an amazing feat and it's an amazing number.

I think all of us as players have to realize how fortunate we are to make the living that we do, to do something that we love. We're quite pampered and quite spoiled, but it is very enlightening, it's very it's a good feeling knowing that every city that we play in, we leave that community raising a lot of money, upwards of over a million dollars, quite often, almost every week.

It's a good feeling knowing that we're affecting the place that we play in a very positive way and positive manner.

CHRIS REIMER: Jim, solid round today; just talk about the ups and downs of being out there today.

JIM FURYK: I thought the golf course I was told that the average score today was 71.8 or 71.9. I thought the golf course played very difficult. I was actually surprised to hear that. The greens definitely firmed up, got baked out, they were almost turning a white color out there at the end of the day. Everywhere you stepped you could kind of see your foot marks, not because they were soft, but because they were stressed pretty well.

I was very happy with the score I shot. Really, I thought the golf course played very difficult. The front nine, I kind of you know I just kind of hung around. I didn't hit some of the shots as well as I would have liked. I got in trouble on a couple of spots, a couple good breaks, a couple of bad breaks, I ended up with even par on the front and knew I had some tough holes ahead of me.

You know, the back nine, I really thought I played well and put the ball in the fairway a lot, put the ball on the green a lot and gave myself a couple of opportunities here and there and then being able to turn around and birdie two of the last three on 16 and 18 just capped off a good day.

Q. There's been guys who make little charges and then drop back, do you feel like the key to your week has just been how steady you've played and not really giving anything back?

JIM FURYK: Well, I've made some bogeys here and there. It was interesting early on how the leaderboard crowded up, there was about four of us at least at 8 under par, a couple of guys at 7. The golf course played I was thinking it was playing very difficult. Early on, I guess you get some short irons in your hands, you get some wedges; two you've got a short iron. You've got 5, 6, 7, 9, places where you can make birdies. There are also places where you really need to put the ball in the fairway or you can make bogeys pretty quick, too. There were some guys that got it going early and the back nine was playing very, very difficult, it seems like it took its toll on some of the field. By the end of the day, two guys at 9, two guys as 7 and the rest of the guys field is at 3 and 5.

I didn't really look too much at the board today. I knew the golf course was playing tough. I just tried to, you know, not get ahead of myself and keep putting the ball in and keep putting the ball on the green and play a good, steady round because I really thought the golf course was playing tough.

Q. Can you talk about you and Padraig tied, playing with each other tomorrow and having him right in front of you there and vice versa?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, and it's nice to be playing alongside the co leader, the guy that played really well today. But, you know, there's other guys in this golf tournament. You've got Fax at 7, Brian Gay at 7 under, a few guys at 5 under. A lot can happen in this golf tournament. The course is playing very demanding, but if someone gets it going and fires a low number, it could be a lot of different guys have an opportunity to win the tournament.

It's more really, instead of worrying about the guy you're playing with or the field, it's more about going out there and trying to control your game as well as you can and your emotions and firing as good of a score as you can. I really can't control what they do or the number that they shoot or how they play, but I can control the way I go out and play. And I'll just be focused on myself tomorrow. We talked I've been in here every day, which I'm not sure every day, that I was in here for three straight nights, but I talked about after Thursday just trying to keep putting myself in position. I wanted to be in a good position after Friday, and early on, I said, hey, I want to be having this same conversation on Saturday, saying that I've got myself in position to win this golf tournament, and I do. Now I need to go out and fire another good round.

Q. You played with Faxon the first two days, he's had an up and down year, mostly down, can you talk about what you saw in those first to days?

JIM FURYK: Well, Brad's obviously pretty hot right now. He was in the last 27 holes, he's about 10 under par, because I think he was 3 over with nine holes to play in this tournament, shot a great 5 under in the front nine and put himself right back in the tournament. He must have fired, what 5 under today, which I think is a great round. He's a streaky player, a guy that obviously we all know he can putt. No one rolls the ball better than him on the green. He's obviously got it going the last 27.

Q. Padraig was saying that with the two of you tied, he likes to say, he likes to look forward and basically put his game forward and not let some of the guys that are five back get back into the field. Do you agree with that point of view, that basically you have to worry about yourself and try to put some distance between yourselves and the guys that are immediately behind you or do you basically stay within your own game plan?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think he's staying within his own game plan by I'm not sure I quite understand.

Q. He said he tries to look forward, in other words, to keep the solid play and try to distance yourself more rather than stumble out of the gate and let more people back in.

JIM FURYK: I don't know anyone in our position wants to stumble out of the gate.

I think what he was probably trying to say was you don't want to become complacent. You still want to go out there and attack the golf course the way you have the first three days. We've got in this position because we've played well and we've played a certain style. There's no reason to change that style.

But, you know, it's all about we're both in the position that you want to be in. You're leading the tournament, you're ahead of the field, and you control how things go tomorrow, so I want to go out and play another really good round tomorrow and I kind of want to get up in the morning and assess the conditions and how I think the golf course is going to play. If we go out there for two, three, four holes and I start seeing those greens shining again with a little white glow on them, I know it's going to be a tough day and there's not going to be a lot of 64s or something out there, and I don't expect the setup to be any less demanding tomorrow. I think a lot of it has to do with the wind, and I don't know if they were still predicting thunder showers for tomorrow or not. You just kind of have to see what happens, you never know.

Q. Like you said earlier, Padraig said that he was not watching the leaderboard and didn't look at it until he got up to 18 but the first name that jumped out at him was Vijay at minus five, do you notice that at all?

JIM FURYK: I took a peek at the board a few times today. I knew there were a few guys at 8 early but I didn't walk up to the board to see how things were going, I probably peeked at it four or five times today just for a second. They are on almost every hole, billboards. I didn't really get tied up too much with where I stood or how it was.

I know Vijay got it going early and must have been, what, 5 under today at one time. I was a little surprised that guys were ripping up the course early like they were. It caught me off guard.

Q. Is his name a name that jumps out at you just because he's the No. 2 ranked player in the world and he's right up there?

JIM FURYK: Well, you know, Padraig is, what, the No. 8? I'm probably somewhere in the Top 20. So it's not you know, I know Vijay, I practice next to him. He's cost me a win already this year. (Laughing) But whether it's Tiger, Ernie, Phil, Vijay, or the guys that I played with today, whether it was Brian Gay or John Senden, they are all very good players and all capable of winning the golf tournament.

And it goes back to what I was saying before: It doesn't matter what name is chasing you. It's all about playing your style, attacking the golf course the way you want to, and I can't affect how the other guys are playing. I can only affect the way I'm playing so I don't really worry about it.

Q. It seemed like a lot of guys were having trouble on the 7th hole; was that the toughest pin placement you've seen out here?

JIM FURYK: No, they are in the same four spots every year. We've got three on the back left and one in the center every year.

The difficulty there is getting the ball in that little 15 yard by 15 yard square patch out there since they have lengthened the tee box. That used to be a long iron to a 3 wood and now it's today playing downwind it's a 3 wood. But, you know, you can fly it a little too far and get a hard kick and shoot it across the fairway. You can get a little fly it a little short and get a soft kick and get it up there not quite far enough. There's not that much distance. There's 20 yards, most of distance where you want the ball to go and that can be dictated in the kick so that's just a difficult hole to get the ball to the fairway, and then you have a sand wedge in your hand but it's also a difficult second shot.

A lot can happen on that green, I was playing with John Senden, he hits a decent wedge in there, it's six, seven feet right of the pin. Before you know it, it's 55 yards from the pin down the front right and it's a tough par.

So a lot can happen on that hole. You know, they definitely made it a much more difficult hole. It's interesting how it plays now.

Q. I think you had seven straight pars in one stretch; were you being picky today as far as what you went for?

JIM FURYK: Not really. I don't think there was a whole heck of a lot of decisions out there, how's that?

You know, I put the ball in position on some of those holes. I had a pretty good putt pretty good birdie opportunity at 11. Pretty good birdie opportunity at 13, 14. Hit some good putts in there that didn't go in.

But again, not all the time were they pins that I was exactly flying the ball at the pin because 11 is behind the tree and it's only a little bit over the bunker, so you had to play it a little out to the left, use the slope a little bit. You could get in there about 15 feet and you just had to knock in some 15 footers there. A few holes I wasn't able to but I was able to make a good little 10 footer on 16 and an 8 footer on 18. The greens kind of dictated what lines you could take for the pins and there were some places that it was difficult to be aggressive and some places where you could be depending on where you drove it and where you put it in play.

Q. You talked about how the course was playing difficult today, at what point in your round do you assess like, hey, this is a tough course today, and when you come to that assessment, does that alter your approach at all for the rest of your round?

JIM FURYK: You know, it's not like I sit at home tonight and I think about the game plan of how I'm going to go play the golf course tomorrow. A lot of it is how No. 10, I could pull driver out and try to go for the green or I could hit 3 iron off the tee depending on where the pin is going to be and what the wind condition is like.

So a lot of it is making that assessment while you're out on the golf course, but as far as the difficulty of the golf course, you know, I saw a lot of wedges hit on 2 and take off running. I saw a shot that I hit into 4 today that must have released 30 some plus feet. By the time we got to 8, we were hitting our second shots a little bit downwind and balls are hitting and going 25 feet after they hit with, you know, relatively short irons in there.

Because of the way the wind condition was, at that point early on in the round, you're saying, okay, these greens are firm. When they are tucked and behind bunkers, even if I could fly the ball at the pin and land it by the pin, it's still going to jump 25 feet. A lot of times 25 feet behind the pin is long rough, so you're aiming out to the right or left of the pin, trying to let it jump that 25 feet so that it's pin high and that might be aiming 15 feet right of it or 20 feet right of it or ten feet right of it depending. But sometimes, just the way you're left, you had to play intelligently, aggressively but intelligently.

Everyone in the field knows what they are capable and not capable of doing. We're not trying to squeeze shots in there when we can't and that's why you see Padraig and the guys that are up there playing well so, that's why they are playing well.

I think even the guys that are not playing that well, they see, they are just not hitting the shots probably as crisply as they would like but you are limited by what you can do out there sometimes just by the conditions.

Q. Can you give us perspective; this golf course playing remarkably more difficult than years past or is it just consistent with years past?

JIM FURYK: Every year is different in the golf tournament. If it rains a lot here, then you see guys throwing up 64s when they can get aggressive and the ball then you're worried about spinning the ball too much. Poa annua gets soft and you're worried about jerking wedges off the green like on No. 7.

When it gets baked out and firm and fast as it has in years past, there's times where single digits or just a round 10 under par wins this golf tournament. It's kind of a give and a take. They try to set the golf course relatively similar every year, but given the weather conditions and what Mother Nature says is how it plays.

Q. Someone said there's been more tucked pins this year; have you noticed that?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, every course, every year, our rules staff claims that the pins don't get any closer to the edges, but they have crept in over the last ten years, there's no doubt.

When I first got on TOUR, pins were six and seven from the edge and then it became five and six and then it became four and five and now we see we've seen a number of threes this week and probably six, seven times we've had a pin that's been three from the edge. You see it usually on short holes like 10 where they are trying to make you think a little bit and make those pin placements more difficult.

You know, as players get stronger and longer and hitting the ball farther golf courses are manicured better, it's not like it's not set up poorly. I think our staff does a wonderful job setting up the golf course. I just think setups have become more difficult.

Q. Just talk about yourself, how you feel leading a tournament three days in a row or being in the lead?

JIM FURYK: Obviously I'm happy with the way I'm playing. The big step is to go out tomorrow and play a good round and try to win the golf tournament and not really putting the cart before the horse. Just going out there and playing one shot at a time from No. 1, not getting ahead of myself and try to play the same style of golf I played on the back nine today. So I'm looking forward to it, and you know, that's why we're all excited.

Everyone that has a chance and is in contention tomorrow, that's why we practice, that's why we work hard. You want to come out and try to win golf tournaments. That's the fun part of it.

CHRIS REIMER: Let's go through your club selection, birdies and bogeys.

JIM FURYK: Birdied No. 5. Hit a driver and a 3 wood short of the green. I flipped a wedge up there up there about 15 feet right of the pin and knocked that in for birdie.

No. 7 I bogeyed. I hit a 3 wood up the left side and it hit off that side hill and actually shot right across the fairway into the long rough. I hacked it up on to the green, in the middle plateau, I think it was in the back and really didn't have that tough of a putt but did a poor job of reading it and got fooled. I left the putt about four feet short and right and missed that one for par, so made bogey there.

My next bogey was at 15. I hit a driver and I was caught on the severe downslope and I was trying to hit a wedge high in the air, caught it a little heavy, dumped it in the front bunker in a buried lie and chopped it out about 20 feet and for bogey.

3 iron to ten feet on 16 for birdie.

18, hit a driver and 3 wood in the left bunker. Played it out to about three or four feet out there for birdie.

End of FastScripts.

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