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June 17, 2005

Jim Furyk


Q. Kind of a tough way to finish there. Looked like you got a bad lie.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, bogeying the last two was a little bit disappointing, but I also played really well today and just pulled my drive on 8 a little bit about three or four yards into the left rough.

No. 9 was a little bit of a tough club for me. I was in between like a 6 and a 7 iron, and you can't hit it past that pin today, so I went with a 7 iron, tried to hit it firm, pulled it slightly, got it in that bunker where it usually wouldn't be too bad. You should be able to get the ball up and down from that bunker and I just got a real bad buried lie, to the point where I was trying to figure out just how to get it on the green and I wasn't sure I was going to be capable. My backup plan was to aim right of that bunker so if I couldn't stop it I went over, looked at the bunker and went from there. I didn't hit quite a great second shot but I put it in a spot where I could get the ball up and down for a 4.

That one doesn't sting at all. The bogey on 8, I hit a bad drive and made bogey, but 9 ended up being a good bogey if you can call it that.

Q. 14 greens today?

JIM FURYK: Did I really? I'd be surprised at that. That would be the reason I played so well. Well, you assume that someone knew what they were doing (laughter).

Q. That's a pretty good ball striking day right there.

JIM FURYK: It was a pretty solid ball striking day. I hit the ball a little straighter off the tee than yesterday. I put the ball on the green with more opportunities today, and I've really only made four birdies in the first two days, all from relatively very close distance.

You know, it's a place where you have to kind of pick and choose your spots to be aggressive, and when you have the right club in your hand you have to hit some very precise and very exact irons out here to get some birdie opportunities. I was able to do that in spots today a lot better than yesterday, and hopefully, depending on I kind of want to see what the greens are like the next few days. If they firm up, get firmer and faster, we're going to have to maybe play a little bit more conservative. If they're holding and they'll receive a good shot or a well hit shot you can pick and choose your spots to be aggressive and maybe get some birdie opportunities.

Q. You haven't won since the 2003 Open, with the injuries and all that

JIM FURYK: That's not true. I won Flint about four or five weeks ago.

Q. From a confidence standpoint and a physical standpoint are you back to the point where you were in '03?

JIM FURYK: From a physical standpoint, absolutely. I'm actually probably a little bit more fit and a little stronger than I was back then. From a confidence standpoint, probably not riding as high maybe as I was in '03, but the reason I would say that, I'd say the confidence is every bit as good as it was in 2000, '01 and '02 where I had very good years. '03 just happened to be my best year ever. Week in and week out I really had a lot of opportunities to win golf tournaments that year. I won two. I did win one after the U.S. Open just teasing you and the interesting thing about my injury was everyone I got hurt right after my best year, so coming back off an injury, everyone wants to compare what I'm doing now or doing post injury to the best I ever was in my career.

Not that it's unfair, but I'm playing every bit as good as I was in say 2000, '01, '02. '03 was a special year for me and I'm striving to have another year like that or another year better than that, and we'll see if we can do it.

Q. That said, is there any doubt that you can close out the next two days or play as well the next two days?

JIM FURYK: I've had a lot of confidence in my game. I've played real well this year since the first week of March and had a couple opportunities to win, maybe three maybe as many as three opportunities to win this year. I've put myself in that position, and there's a few things I need to get a little better on the weekend, and hopefully I'll improve on those.

Q. Sergio just said around your score, around his score is good enough to win the tournament. What do you think?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, even par always seems to win the U.S. Open or come close. It's always a couple under par. A lot is going to be a lot of that is going to be dictated by the setup. If the greens are the greens right now, I wouldn't call them receptive. Obviously the best score this morning was, what, 1 under? 4 under? All right. I guess the next best might be 1 under then. So there's not a lot of guys tearing it up.

If the golf course is receptive, I could see where under par, 4 or 5 under could win. If they firm it up and the greens get faster and firmer, which I think everyone knows it's coming eventually, or everyone assumes it's coming because it seems to happen that way every year at the Open on the weekend, it's going to be tough to get aggressive with the iron shots, going to be tough to get the ball close, and if you try and get a little cute and run it off one of those short sides, there's a lot of bogeys to be made out there. I think guys will have to be playing more conservatively and then I can see even par or 1 over or 1 under winning this golf tournament, yes.

This golf course is difficult enough on the setup they can dictate the score they want to win. 5 over or 8 over wouldn't be out of the question if it were firm and fast and I could see 5 or 10 under winning if it were soft. Actually maybe I couldn't see that because it was relatively soft the last time we were here and still the best score of the entire week was 67.

Q. How much anxiety or curiosity is there in a player's mind about what they might do to it Sunday?

JIM FURYK: I think you always have to come out to the golf course, assess the conditions and the situation and we'll get an idea tomorrow if it starts getting a little firmer and faster. In the afternoon it's going to. Yesterday afternoon the greens were much firmer than what we played on this morning. Whether or not there's enough heat out here to bake them out this afternoon and get them as firm as they were I hit some 7 irons yesterday afternoon that didn't stop within 25, 30 feet and I hit some 7 irons today that went about that far after they hit. You know, it was a little softer conditions this morning, but and watching the guys played yesterday morning, it was pretty soft, too. Then as my round went on it was soft early and then as the round went on it kept getting firmer and firmer until we finished.

I think that last year the golf course played relatively soft, and I won't say tame, but there was guys 6 under, 7 under par through two days, Saturday it firms up a little bit, Sunday was a little different in its firmness, but I don't think guys there's no anxiety. Everyone has to go out there and play and you just have to play it better than the other guys.

Q. (Inaudible).

JIM FURYK: Well, I want to give myself more opportunities. I've hit quite a few fairways, I want to continue to do that. I've picked and chosen my spots to be aggressive and conservative with my irons into the greens, but I haven't given myself a ton of very good birdie putts. I've been putting a lot from 25 to 35 feet, and I would like, depending on the greens, if the greens get really slick and firm, 25, 35 feet is going to be good in a lot of cases.

This morning they were a little bit more receptive and I gave myself more opportunities than yesterday, but I think there's going to be some bogeys made out there. You're going to have to turn around and make some birdies, as well, so I have to give myself some opportunities to do that.

Q. You spent 15, 20 minutes on the putting green. Is there something you're not liking about your putting?

JIM FURYK: I've putted from close range very, very well this week. Yesterday I putted great from ten feet and in, and I was able to make a bunch of putts. Today I putted very solidly.

Where I needed to improve a little bit today, like I said, I had a lot of putts today outside of 30 feet and I wasn't doing the greatest job of getting those putts close. My speed on my putts was a little off, and I spent about 10 minutes, 10 to 15 minutes on the putting green hitting some 30 footers, some uphill, some downhill, some sidehill, just practicing pace and trying to get a good feel for the greens. Short putts I had great feel and great speed control, but on my long ones, I've also given myself a few extra stressful moments leaving those long ones five and six feet and having to make them.

Q. Did the course play a lot different this morning than it did yesterday afternoon?

JIM FURYK: Not a lot different. A little bit. It was a little softer on the greens this morning. In watching TV and watching shots struck yesterday, it was a little softer yesterday morning than what we got. That's part of the nature of playing in the morning and afternoon. That's why you usually see the scoring slightly better in morning rounds as opposed to afternoon. Anyway, that's not always the case.

Q. Was it any tougher today than it was yesterday?

JIM FURYK: For me it was one shot easier (laughter). How's that? I thought it was set up relatively similar would be my guess. I think a lot of the firmness the greens didn't get overly firm or they just started getting some tiny brown spots where they had to syringe them, and they were still receptive to good shots yesterday. Just over the course of the day, I think because of the heat we were in and the sun being on them all day, they just started to get a little firmer as the day went. That's expected. That happens to every golf course.

Q. Take us through your birdies and bogeys today?

JIM FURYK: First birdie was on 13 actually I started on the back, so it was on 13. I hit a I have like a hybrid club in my bag, kind of like a 1 iron for me, and a pitching wedge to about seven feet straight up the hill, made that.

I bogeyed 15, I hit a 5 iron pin high left of the green and tried to putt it through the fringe, left it about eight feet short, maybe ten feet short, and I lipped that putt out.

My next birdie would have been at 3. I hit a 5 iron off the tee and I had a gap wedge in my bag, 50 degrees, I hit that to about six or seven feet and made that.

Then I birdied 4, I laid up and hit another gap wedge to about actually I hit sand wedge there to about ten feet behind the hole and knocked that one in for birdie.

And then my bogeys were 8 and 9, drove it in the left rough on 8 and I had to lay up and I hit a sand wedge on the green, that was a good 25 feet right of the pin, and I two putted.

And then 9 we talked about, hit a 7 iron in the left bunker and had a buried lie, actually played it across the green into the back right bunker, the little one. There's a bunker back there you can almost jump over. And then I wedged it out to about two feet.

End of FastScripts.

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