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May 9, 2005

Jim Furyk

Quail Hollow Country Club, Charlotte, North Carolina

CHRIS REIMER: Well, Jim, an exciting week for you. Probably not the way you wanted to finish, but you have to be happy with the week overall.

JIM FURYK: I played well. I played really well. Maybe for about two shots today, three shots maybe, I hit the ball as well as I could have hoped for or expected. I hit some really good putts out there; some went in, some didn't. I hit a couple bad ones and just kind of kept clawing my way up.

Coming down the stretch after 14, 15, didn't really look like I was going to have an opportunity to get back in the golf tournament and get in that playoff. You don't expect to birdie two of the last three on this golf course. I'm proud of the way I played but obviously disappointed because I felt like I played good enough to win this week and just came -- sometimes just getting that close and coming up short is a little worse than finishing 5th.

CHRIS REIMER: Talk about the birdie on the 18th in regulation to get you into the playoff.

JIM FURYK: I hit a really good tee shot. I was surprised it cut so much and got over in that short cut. I hit it down the right center of the fairway and I had a perfect yardage, a 6-iron. I was 182 yards if I remember. I just kind of aimed it a little bit right of the pin, had a little uphill lie, which was going to help you draw it. Everything about that shot just felt good for the yardage.

I hit the 6-iron just the way I wanted to and had about an eight-footer there to tie. It was exciting to knock that one in. Sometimes those kind of putts are a little bit easier to go in. It didn't matter if I ran it ten feet by, just go ahead and knock the putt in; it didn't matter at the time. That's all you're focusing on. I hit a good, solid putt.

Q. This is the second time I've covered a long playoff with you. The other was in Akron. Seems like both times odd things happened to you, like the approach shot hitting the pin the last time you played. What do you think about playoffs?

JIM FURYK: Well, I've played well and my record isn't near as good as I'd like it to be. I could have lost that playoff twice with Tiger; I probably could have won it three times, too. And here today, you know, I really felt like I hit a good putt on 16 and thought I might have won the golf tournament at that point. 17 I had that same line twice. I mean, the last four feet of that putt, it was breaking a foot and a half. So I knew Vijay had a really tough putt in front of him and I wasn't really counting that one in.

Strange things. I mean, it hit the pin on 18, but I drove it in a spot that I couldn't -- just a little bit left. I was trying to cut it off the left side there and just hit a slight pull that never cut. I hit it solid but obviously you'd rather bail out right on that hole, and I think when you're in a playoff, it's tunnel vision. I'm thinking about hitting perfect golf shots and just missed -- basically I mis-hit one shot in a playoff barely and it was that one.

From there I had no chance. Once I dropped it, I drew a really bad lie. It was on a very severe side slope, so at that point I was playing for 5. Even with Vijay in the middle of the fairway, 4 is not guaranteed. Once he hit it in the bunker, I thought, "Geez, if I can only hit this tight; get it up there where he knows I'm going to hit the putt, hit it three feet and put a little heat on him and extend this playoff," and when it was in the air I was thinking, "go crazy, get tight." Obviously if it misses the stick it would have been close, but it didn't, and that's part of it and Vijay made me feel better by knocking it up there six inches, too.

Q. With regard to Vijay, just talk about whether you marvel at whether he always seems to be there in contention. Seems like week after week he's got a shot at it.

JIM FURYK: He's a tough competitor. He works hard. I see how hard he works at home, not only with his game but with his physical fitness. He lives and breathes golf and has a one-track mind and no one works harder than him, so he deserves a lot of the success. We're friends at home. You know, I would never have that I-wish-someone-else-would-win-if-I-couldn't attitude, especially after losing a playoff, but I respect him as a person, I respect his game and how hard he works, and it's good for a lot of people to emulate.

Q. I understand what you say when you say coming that close can be more painful than being 5th. What's the hardest part of that, the one shot here or there?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I learned not to do that a long time ago, to look back and think about all the times you could save one shot out there. That would be easy. I'm sure Sergio has about 20 of those today. I'm sure Vijay has the same amount. You just kind of add them out, play hard and hope it turns out your way at the end.

You know, if I would have walked out and shot 69 today, finished 9-under par, I would have really been pleased with the way I played this week knowing that I had a chance to win. I would have walked out of here with a smile on my face -- obviously about 15 minutes from now I'm going to be kicking myself on the way out the door this time.

Q. Do you feel like you need a win to show that you've come all the way back from your wrist injury or do you feel this is close enough?

JIM FURYK: I don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone, the position I'm in. I played hard today. I hit all the good golf shots I needed to hit down the stretch, and I'm not really worried about what anyone thinks, whether I'm healthy, not healthy. I think Vijay and Sergio think I'm healthy. That's good enough.

Q. I mean for yourself, as well, not just for other people.

JIM FURYK: No, I'd like to win and I'd like to maybe quit fielding that question. Not to criticize; I understand why it's coming and it's going to continue to come until that day happens, but I want to win not to kind of get the monkey off my back or to prove that I'm healthy; I want to win because I want to win golf tournaments. I'm a competitor like everyone else, show up every week thinking about how can I win the golf tournament, what do I need to do to prepare, how can I be better prepared, how can I better my game. I just want to win golf tournaments.

I know I'm healthy, that's all that really matters. I was physically capable -- I was hitting the ball a lot harder than most people expected I could today, keeping it out there pretty close to the big boys. I'm healthy and able to swing at it.

Q. Wouldn't this type of performance prove to us anyway or other people that you are nearing your form you had a couple years ago?

JIM FURYK: Well, the form that I played in in '03, that's part of getting hurt. When I was hurt in '04 and came back, everyone obviously was going to go back to '03 and compare everything to the best year I've ever had. And I think that's -- right now that's the bar for me. That's the best I've ever played. So it's going to always be compared to that.

You know, I had a lot of these near misses there early in the year and broke through later on, and whether that will happen or not, we'll see, but I think the good thing about '03 was I put myself in position a lot. I had more opportunities to win that year than I ever had in one single year. I won two tournaments, which I had never done before. That's the mark for me of a good year.

That's why Vijay is one of the best players in the world, if not ranked No. 1, and the reason is he has a chance to win 10 times a year, 15 times a year, which there aren't many players in a year that are that talented and that good. That's what we all want to do is keep giving ourselves opportunities and keep knocking on the door and win tournaments.

Q. How good did it feel to be back in contention at a big event like this? And your emotion on 18 when you drained that putt to get into the playoff; you're not a very demonstrative person generally but you really let it out when that went in.

JIM FURYK: Well, yeah, kind of out in front of the whole world there to see and had an eight-footer to get in a playoff with Sergio and Vijay. I felt like I played good enough to win the golf tournament today standing on that green and I felt like I could knock that putt in and win in the playoff. Obviously it's a release of emotion, and then you want to go up and sign your card, kind of walk a few paces slower, make sure you're not rushing, get calmed down, get yourself settled to hit a good golf shot or a couple good shots in the playoff.

Q. Sergio had played so well for 54 holes and had a six-shot lead. Was there a point today where you felt he might not be able to hold onto this lead or just something you noticed in his play?

JIM FURYK: Well, early on he missed a few putts. 1, I think he just lost some concentration. He pretty much missed a tap-in from maybe a foot and a half. Then 2, hit it stiff and missed it; made a decent save a 3; putt didn't go in at 4; putt didn't go in at 5. I think that that always gives you -- I'm sure he hit a lot of good putts in there on a few of those holes that didn't go in because these greens are icy and pins are on some -- there aren't very many flat spots on these greens so you're putting defensively and lay the ball out of the hole quite a bit.

But had he gone out there and ran the tables and knocked in three or four putts early then it might have been a little different story. I think playing alongside him, you can whittle some shots away at this golf course. If you make some pars and sprinkle in a few birdies, you can make up some ground quick.

Q. With the Open around the corner, is this something to start building momentum toward that one?

JIM FURYK: There's a lot of events. There's five more golf tournaments before I play the U.S. Open. Two of three of what I'd say are my Top 5 or ten events, so I'm looking forward to those. I'm getting prepared and trying to do what I did in '03, just keep building good finishes, trying to win golf tournaments and putting myself in position.

Q. In the beginning today a six-shot lead looked like a pretty tough thing to overcome, yet two of you did that. I mean, he shot par; it wasn't like he gave a bunch of shots back. Is there something about this course that enables people to do that?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think with the severity of the greens and the severity of the golf course, it's a difficult golf course. 6-under was tied for 2nd after three rounds; it obviously isn't an easy golf course. It being that way, if you can go out there and fire a pretty good number, to be honest with you, I wouldn't have bet that three guys would have shot 66 today because I think DiMarco did it, also. Phil did, as well. I wouldn't have bet four guys would have shot 66 today. I would have bet against that.

But if you can go out there and make quite a few birdies -- I would have expected to catch Sergio it would be like a 69-75 type of thing. I have no explanation for it other than Vijay and I both played well.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks and good luck.

JIM FURYK: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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