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December 9, 2004

Jim Furyk


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Jim, thank you for joining us for a few minutes. Great start with 32 on the front side and good start to the week, also.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, real good start. Actually, the golf course is playing real wet out there. Guys could be pretty aggressive, and I think, you know, a good percentage of the field is under par. So, it's good to get out there and get off to a good start early and keep it going.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Questions, please.

Q. After you came back from your injury, you had a couple Top-10s right off the bat, not as good as the last part of the year; was there anything different that happened?

JIM FURYK: Just didn't play as well as I would have liked to. I don't think that health-wise I'm much stronger than I was back in June or July. I don't have any concerns with my wrist. I can work out or pretty much do whatever I want and feel like it never happened. So I'm happy about that.

Towards the latter part of the year, I didn't play nearly as well as I wanted to. Actually I played pretty well at the Ryder Cup and well at Las Vegas, and then the last three events of the year where I missed the cut was just poor play. And a lot of it was kind of, one thing led to another, and a lot of it was my putting. I was using the latter part of the year to test some equipment and just really probably wasn't focusing enough on the task at hand and playing as well as I needed to be playing, and I played poorly. So, no excuse for that.

But I really kind of played relatively the same throughout the year as far as consistent-wise until those last few events, and I had my moments good and bad and wasn't as consistent as I've been in the past, and really my only shot where I felt like I was in contention or I had a chance at all was in Las Vegas where I was around the lead and just didn't putt well enough to scare a chance at winning the golf tournament.

But overall, it was a successful year in that I didn't like the way I played, but also felt pretty fortunate to play in three major championships and the Ryder Cup and get 15 events under my belt, counting the Ryder Cup and a couple here in the post-season. I didn't think that was going to be possible at the end of March when I had my surgery. It wasn't the best of years, but, you know, I'm kind of looking forward to '05 with a fresh start.

Q. Would it be a consolation, winning here?

JIM FURYK: It would be nice. My year is over. I've made my peace with it. It's done. There's nothing I can do about it. You know, sure, I would have liked to have played better. But it's done, it's gone with. And I had a month off before going over to South Africa and I had a little rust there to knock off. Although I played well towards the end on the weekend, I think that's carried over to this week. Had I not gone over there to play, a lot would have been rusty this week, and I would not have played as well today.

Yeah, it would be nice to win this golf tournament. That's the reason we all come. It's a little more relaxed atmosphere than I think you see at most events on TOUR, but still, you don't come just to show up. Everyone wants to try to win the golf tournament, and I'd like to do that, but you know it's not going to really change whether I come in here and play poorly or play great. It's not going to change my outlook on this year or even next year. Playing good or bad today or next few days is not going to reflect how I play in '05. I'll use it as a little bit of a stairstep and a means to keep my game sharp and keep my game going in the off-season so that it's not a big jump; it's not a two-month jump from the end of October to January 1 where eight weeks off is going to take you five weeks to get back in the rhythm of things.

Q. Are you playing in Sony?


Q. Are you playing in this as a primer for next year -- inaudible?

JIM FURYK: I guess both. I've always liked to play, if I had it perfect, I'd like to play about two events in the off-season and I'd like to bridge the gap from the end of the PGA TOUR season to the beginning of the next PGA TOUR season.

If I were going to take eight weeks off, it would be pretty tough to tee it up in the first or second week of January and go out there and expect to win a golf tournament. But putting a couple of events in there, mixing it up and trying to get your game in good shape and practice, I can deal with three or four weeks off, but it's just tough to deal with eight.

So this is a good golf tournament with a great field and big purse and it's an elite field. It's an honor to be here, and I want to come and try to win the golf tournament; and also, it's a great tournament for me to put in there, and you've got to be sharp at this golf course. You have to hit crisp shots, and Jack designs courses that there's a double-bogey waiting around every corner out here. You've got to hit your irons to the right distances and keep them crisp, and it will keep me sharp and keep me going for next year.

Q. Playing here before, does it seem a little ragged around the edges this year? Do you find that at all?

JIM FURYK: I think this golf course has always set the bar very high for the conditioning of the golf course, and that every year I've been here in the past, it's been in pretty much immaculate condition. It's not as good as it's been in the past, and I don't know if that's due to the rain. It's extremely, extremely wet out there. It's like walking in sand out in the middle of fairways.

So I don't know if that led to it or what the case may be, but I think it's noticeable here, because like I said, it's so good usually that the bar is set so high at a course like this.

Q. Looking back on it, is there a particular time where you had to trust that you were going to be okay when you were hitting balls because of your wrist?

JIM FURYK: Absolutely. I think the first time the doctor told me to go out and -- he gave me a call just to see how I was doing, and I was out at the golf course at the time. He asked me what I was doing, how I was coming along and I was excited to tell him I was hitting about 30 or 40 yards. I was kind of going right on the schedule that he had set up. He had assumed that I would cheat and get a little ahead of him, so he held me back pretty good. I did not; I wanted to do exactly what he had said and he told me to just go out that day.

He says, "Do me a favor, go out and hit some 9-irons and give me a call in a couple of days and see how it feels."

I said, "Full 9-irons?"

He said, "Yes, why", and he said, "you don't think you're ready, do you?" I hesitated a bit and I said "yeah,."

And he said, "Don't be nervous, you're ready to heal and from what you've told me, you'll be ready to go." It took me two or three days to really work up to that full 9-iron to where I felt like I could go ahead and take a swing at it. I hit maybe some 100-yard pitching wedges and maybe some fuller pitching wedges and then the 9-iron. And every day I just started adding a club, so after about ten days I was the whole way through the set. You know, gave him a call, told him, yeah, it feels fine. Actually the half-shots were hurting more because I was always holding against the wrist. The full shots felt good because I could release the club and let it go, but holding on and kind of hitting a half-knockdown or half-punch shot and holding against the wrist caused a little bit of uncomfort and he was right.

Q. How long was that after the surgery?

JIM FURYK: The time frame is kind of -- it's so long ago. I was told that the human body always takes in any case always takes about six to eight weeks to totally heal, so it was definitely after that eight-week mark. I would say on the sixth, seventh week I was starting to putt, maybe just hit some little bump-and-runs. After the eight-week mark, I was probably hit something pitch shots. And it was probably that ninth, 10th week, probably ninth week that I was probably starting to hit some shots and that U.S. Open was only about -- I was playing golf for about -- probably on the golf course for two weeks off and on for every other day, nine holes, for about two weeks before going to Shinnecock.

Q. Playing in the U.S. Open, as defending champion, was that a source of pride for you?

JIM FURYK: Well, I think that there's definitely a source of pride there. I think that the ultimate goal, the reason we're all out here is to win. I had a year earlier in my career where I had the most Top-10s and everybody made a big deal about it and won more money than anybody who didn't win a golf tournament, all of those labels that you really don't want to have. I would rather win once or twice and have five Top-10s than 15 Top-10s and win a bunch of money.

I think definitely my goal this year was to go out and win a golf tournament, put myself in contention. And it felt like if I -- if I could do that, it would be a tremendous effort for the year. I was not able to achieve it, and wasn't able to win and, you know, I definitely -- I think it was -- I set a pretty high goal for this year in trying to get my game back. From June, July, once I got into August, September, I felt pretty good about my game. I had been playing a lot of golf. Those first few months were tough, but I never played more than two events in a row, or one event in a row. I never played two events back-to-back. Once I got into that and started playing two or three, I even had a stretch where I played five events in a row, maybe just a little bit -- so everyone would quit asking me about it.

Q. Where did you hear the label, most wins or most money without a win and that kind of stuff?

JIM FURYK: I mean, there was a TOUR stat; it was in the media guide; it was written in a lot of publications. It was nice -- it showed that I was consistent and I had a very good year, so I didn't take it in a bad light, don't get me wrong. But you also -- I don't want to be the guy that wins the most money during the year. I'm glad because of the purses we've played for that's been broken over and over and over again, but I was not sad to see someone else win more money by winning a golf tournament, I promise you that.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JIM FURYK: Well, I think a lot of it, this golf course sets up in that you can make a bunch of birdies and a bunch of bogeys and that it's just a very -- like I said, the difference between a birdie and a bogey here can be a yard or two, and you can hit a shot that looks good and ends up bad and vice versa. You get up to holes there like 15, for instance, and make a good swing on that hole and the ball is up in the air and you're still puckering up and waiting for it to land. You not sure exactly what's going to happen, and there's quite a few holes like that on this golf course.

It would be a great golf course even for like a Skins Game because you could go out and make a bunch of birdies, but being aggressive, you could get bit quite a bit. You live by the score and die by the score on this golf course.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Jim, appreciate your time.

End of FastScripts.

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