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May 7, 2005

Jim Furyk


CHRIS REIMER: We welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room. You tied for 2nd at MCI and then three of the last five tournaments have been Top 10s. You've got to feel like you're playing pretty well.

JIM FURYK: My game has been in good shape. I've been real happy with -- I've been hitting the ball pretty well and getting the ball in the hole and having a few slip-ups here and there but been taking them in stride and been able to recover. Yeah, I've been real happy. I just want to try to put myself in contention and give myself a chance to win some tournaments.

CHRIS REIMER: Talk about the conditions today and the way you played today.

JIM FURYK: Well, the wind definitely died down, but as they kind of predicted yesterday, it definitely kind of firmed up a little bit. Some of those greens were relatively firm out there, pins were in some tough spots and I think the scores reflected it. There were a few guys that played well, but overall with the benign conditions, scores didn't really move under par too much today.

It's just a tough, penal golf course. The greens are very severe. As firm and as fast as it is, it's hard to keep the ball in the fairway in places, and you just have to strike the ball well and keep it in front of you.

You're going to get in some tough places out here, that's just the way this golf course is.

Q. What would winning again mean in terms of your journey back from the surgery?

JIM FURYK: Well, that's obviously the goal. I think we all come out every week trying to win the golf tournament and put ourselves in contention. Maybe if everyone would quit asking me how my wrist is doing, that's one thing. I realize everyone means well, but wow, have I answered that question a lot in the last 12 months.

Q. Talk about trying to catch Sergio.

JIM FURYK: Obviously it's going to be tough. He's playing a little bit different golf than anyone else. He's lapping the field right now. Last I heard he was 12 and I think Vijay was 7. It's not a golf course -- a lot of it is going to depend on the setup.

Tomorrow I heard the weather is supposed to be even warmer and quite nice tomorrow. It's not a golf course where if they set it up difficult you're going to see a guy blitz the golf course and shoot under par. The golf tournament is obviously in his hands. Right now he's going to determine who the winner is. If he plays a good solid round tomorrow and shoots under par, he wins the golf tournament.

Q. I know this tournament is young, but I think David had about a five-shot lead a couple years ago. Is this a tournament or a course where it's hard to make up a round? I realize a lot depends on the setup.

JIM FURYK: You know, a lot can happen, even with David you saw on the last few holes. A lot can happen on 17 and 18 and ground can be made up. If you make a couple birdies -- I just don't think ground is going to be made up with Sergio shooting 69 and someone shooting a 62 or 63 out there. The way the golf course is, that score just probably doesn't exist. Even par is a pretty darn good score around this golf course, so if you shoot 2- or 3-under par a guy can make up some shots. A guy that's got a five- or six-shot lead, he still controls the golf tournament. He goes out and shoots 70, you can hand him the trophy tomorrow.

Q. Is there an advantage to possibly getting into the final group and playing alongside Sergio?

JIM FURYK: I don't think it's really a major deal either way in that -- if you can go out and post a pretty good number and put some heat on it, you still hear the roars and still see the leaderboard and you know a guy is putting pressure on you. I don't think it's a major deal.

Right now instead of worrying about that, I just want to go out -- actually I want to relax because I'm stressed out after that round, but just think about doing the same things. I played really well for the last 14 holes today, actually played well for 18, but to start out a couple over par and then turn it around and shoot 69 today, I want to do some same things tomorrow, knock in some putts and give myself some opportunities.

Q. Have you played with Sergio much since Brookline?

JIM FURYK: Oh, yeah, a ton since Brookline.

Q. In the big picture of things, how encouraging is this to at least see yourself scoring?

JIM FURYK: It's real good. I wasn't real -- I'd say late '04, early this year, I wasn't really too upset about many of the parts of my game as far as mechanics in my golf swing. At times I wasn't real happy with my putter, but the mechanics of my golf swing. I couldn't really put a finger on it. I wasn't playing poorly but I wasn't sitting here talking about playing a good round, and I wasn't scoring. I wasn't getting the ball in the hole and doing the things I needed to do. I found a way to turn 69 into 71 or 72 every day or a 71 or 72 into 74, and not scoring and not getting the ball in the hole. I think those things come from attitude and patience and just letting it happen instead of maybe trying too hard and trying to force things to happen.

Sounds easy, but it's not.

Q. Do you feel you're like you're 100 percent back?

JIM FURYK: Absolutely. I really feel stronger than I have in a long time. I feel stronger now than I did probably have before this even.

Looking back, it was a little bit of a blessing. I was a little scared going into the surgery, a little nervous about what it would do for my career, but it was something that needed to be done. It was even sore through the second half of '03 when I was playing so well. So to kind of get that out of my mind, and I got some time off, fresh, I got to spend some time with any kids and a newborn at home, that was born in December of '03. A lot of it was a blessing. It was tough to get back in the flow of things, and it didn't come right away, but I feel really good about my game right now and I feel like I'm playing well.

Q. Obviously you didn't look at it as a blessing at the time. When did you start to look at it that way?

JIM FURYK: Well, today (laughter). No, what I mean by it being a blessing is not really the injury or getting hurt but making the right decision. This is good once in a while. Our season is so long, basically over ten months. It's easy to get stale, it's easy to get out there and play too many events, and sometimes you just step back and take a deep breath, look at things from the outside a little bit. That's good, but I think the blessing came, just making the right decision, having the surgery, doing the right thing. It was a positive thing.

Yeah, you're right, I was scared to death when I first did it. The first time you think about "What am I going to do if I can't play golf for a living" isn't a nice thought, and it's been so long since I've thought about anything like that.

But now having been done with it, realizing that it turned out very positive and very good and it's behind me now, I'm very healthy, you know, it ended up being a blessing.

Q. How's your wrist? Sorry, I couldn't resist.

JIM FURYK: Perfect. Thanks for asking.

CHRIS REIMER: Can we go through your birdies and bogeys?

JIM FURYK: I bogeyed 3 off of a pretty darn good drive that actually went through the fairway and then actually got a little bit of a tough lie in the rough, and the rough is such that you can get a club on it but maybe not always control it. That's what happened. I hit it left of the pin, just hit it on the wrong side, wasn't able to get the ball up-and-down.

Then 4, hit a poor drive in the fairway bunker, had to pitch out, hit a wedge to about 12 feet, missed that putt.

Hit 3-wood, 3-wood on 5 to about 12 feet, two-putted for birdie.

Hit a driver and kind of -- I have a hybrid club in my bag, just left of the green, pitched it to about five feet on 7, made birdie.

Then hit a driver and a 3-wood about I'll guess 40 feet on 10 and two-putted for birdie.

Driver, 9-iron to about ten feet on 11.

Hit a 6-iron to about 20 feet on 13 for birdie.

14, I hit a 3-iron and a 50-degree wedge, like my gap wedge, to about five feet.

Bogey, I hooked it off 16 tee as we talked about, pitched it out and hit a 7-iron about 20 feet and two-putted for bogey.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Jim.

End of FastScripts.

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