home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 24, 2004

Jim Furyk


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Jim, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at THE PLAYERS Championship. I know you're disappointed not to be playing right in your back yard. But would you start out and give us an update on your hand and then we'll go into questions for you.

JIM FURYK: Thanks for having me. I think I can explain the story once here in detail, and then I won't have to explain it 25 times this week while I'm at the course.

Basically I had surgery on Monday. I had arthroscopic surgery, and after last week, basically I spent since Sony trying to rest my wrist. I hurt it practicing the first week of February, was supposed to take a few weeks off and see how rest would react, and it didn't react well when I started practicing again. I lightly practiced for two or three days before the pain started again, and I got to the point where I was having trouble even gripping the club, let alone making the swing.

Last week was kind of a tour of doctors. I saw four to five doctors, got their opinions on what I should do. And the unanimous decision was surgery was the route to go. So I decided to have it scoped and had surgery in New York on Monday and flew back last night, actually back to Jacksonville.

Surgery went very well. In talking to the doctor he was happy that I made the decision. He said I could have rested it for ten years and it still wasn't going to feel better, that surgery was needed; it had to be done. All the doctors thought that beforehand, but he said it was very apparent when he got in there that there was a tear in the cartilage, and it was basically the TFC cartilage, I'm sorry, was triangular cartilage, which is the TFC, and there's a whole area called the TFC compound.

Basically there was a flap of cartilage that actually kind of pulled up, and actually went down into the hole that it made, so kind of a flap got peeled off, made a hole in the cartilage, and it went down into its own hole. He had to go in and just basically remove the flap, shave it off. It was I

guess -- I don't know how big things are, in the pictures was about that big, but he also said that the instrument was only two millimeters wide that he went in there with, so the flap was probably in that two-, three-, four-millimeter size.

But the surgery went very well. The doctor was really happy with the way it went. Right now I'm in a holding pattern. I'm going to rest for a couple of weeks, and after two weeks I get to start lightly moving my wrist, looking for range of motion, and do that for about a month. The idea now is that they gave me a very wide, wide range of recovery, from three to six months.

That leaves me with a lot of questions for the rest of the year. I think originally when I heard surgery for the first time was about ten days ago, where doctors started mentioning that you might want to think about surgery. And that comes to -- in my profession that comes as a little bit of shock. That was the first time I heard it, the first time that I wanted to think, geez, surgery, I'm going to be out for a long, extended period of time, at least half the year from now.

It was difficult to deal with that in one sense, but in talking to all the doctors and going through that tour last week and getting a bunch of opinions and seeing some of the best doctors in the country and hearing what they had to say and hearing about the healing, and it's actually become a very positive thing for me. I'm obviously disappointed I'm not playing here, I'm obviously not going to have an opportunity to play at The Masters in a couple of weeks, I'll miss both of those events.

One way to look at the events right off the bat, I want to play at THE PLAYERS, I want to play at the four majors, I'm in very good position to make the Ryder Cup team, so that being the last event of the six that are very, very important to me, that's one that I would love to slate and would love to be playing and be healthy for that.

But -- and then listening to the doctors and what they had to say about my wrist and be being a hundred percent last year when this started bothering me through the summer, I was fighting an uphill battle. The more I practiced, the more I played, the more it hurt, so I would back off the practice, then I could play, but I was going through the circles of it being painful to not bothering me to being painful to not bothering me. As I practiced more it felt worse, and I kept going through the circles.

I love to practice, I love to be ready for events, I like to get ready, and I wasn't able to do that towards the end of the year. In order for me to be a hundred percent, in order for me to get back to the level that I was at midsummer last year, this was the route I had to take. And that's why I'm viewing it as a positive. I'm viewing it as this is what was needed to get me back.

The doctors have given me every indication that the surgery went great and that it wasn't -- no surgery is a minor surgery, but they gave me no indication that it wasn't going to heal and allow me to play for many years ago to come. That was the goal. I want to be healthy 10 years from now, 20 years from now and be able to play golf.

Q. I know there's a lot of questions, but I take it the U.S. Open is probably out, too?

JIM FURYK: Well, the U.S. Open is three months, is mid-week of the Kemper -- I'm sorry, the Booz Allen, it's changed names so many times. I should know that better. So in that speaking, it would be difficult for me to go back there and defend. But I'm not going to push it. If I were able to play, a hundred percent healthy, but if I'm not I'm not going to piece something together. It would be nice to have that opportunity to defend. I don't know if it's a victory lap. I'm not going back there for a victory lap, just to wave hi to everyone, but hopefully I'm a hundred percent ready and ready to go.

I know where three, four, five, six months, I know where every one of those weeks are. Six months is the week after the Ryder Cup. And right now I'd have to say that my main focus is -- I'd really hate to miss that. There's going to be a lot of U.S. Opens, there's going to be a lot of Masters, PGA's, British Opens in the future. There probably won't be so many U.S. Opens that I'm defending at. But Ryder Cup is only once every two years. That's probably my main focus right now, considering it's at the end of my six-month recovery rather than the beginning.

Q. Are you safe on the points?

JIM FURYK: I don't know, I've been told that it's -- actually I've read some of the predictions, and by the predictions that have been written, it seems that I'm safe.

Q. Never trust the media?

JIM FURYK: You never trust anything you see or read. It will be close. I don't want to put the cart before the horse. Obviously I have to make the team first. I think that I'll -- it will be close. I'll be a borderline call, probably for making it or not making it. It will be difficult for me to probably earn too many points before that time, to be healthy to be back there. I would like to get my health back and would like to participate on that team. But it's kind of wait and see.

Q. Have you talked to Hal, have you seen him?

JIM FURYK: I haven't seen him. It's one of the things I'd like to do this week. If I were -- the team is going to be decided six weeks before the event, so it's not probable that I'll be back there playing a lot of events before then, if any at all. It's also possible I won't be ready to play during the Ryder Cup time. If I were to qualify for the team, I would have to stay in very close contact with him and let him exactly how I stood and how my health was. I love the Ryder Cup too much and I care too much for that event to go in there not ready to play and try to play. I would rather someone else represent the team and try to get the Cup back than for me to go in there and not be ready to play.

I also want to focus -- I guess I brought that event up more than any, because it is the end of that six months and I'd like to be ready. But the important thing is getting back to a hundred percent health, and even if that's eight or nine months down the road, I want to play this year, there's no doubt, I want to play in '04 and get my health back and be ready to do that, but January of '05 I want to be a hundred percent.

Q. You are going to have cabin fever after two or three months.

JIM FURYK: I have it now. I haven't played since the second week in January. I think it was good I played a lot of events last year, and more than I usually do. And I think that I was ready for a little time off after Sony. So at first I was viewing it, hey, if it's a minor injury, if I have to take a month off and get rest, it might be good for me. Now that it's progressed past that and surgery was needed, the cabin fever has eventually set in. It has set in. I would like to get back and play.

There's a lot of blessings in disguise. I get a lot of time with my family.

Q. You getting out of changing diapers with that thing?

JIM FURYK: I changed one already this morning.

Q. Probably not.

JIM FURYK: There's definitely two parents and two kids now, so I can carry my oldest with one arm. So I kind of made breakfast and changed a diaper this morning and got around the house with her pretty well with one arm. She was used to me traveling on the road and being gone a week or two at a time here and there. Now I've been home now it seems like for about four months now, other than two little weeks in Hawaii, I've been pretty much at home. She's not going to get used to me leaving again. It will be difficult.

Q. How did you originally injure your wrist?

JIM FURYK: It was playing, wear and tear. It started bothering me at the British Open. I charted for the doctors how I felt, how much I practiced each week, how many days I took off. It was good for me, because I realized I don't take off that many days. And I charted how my wrist felt at different events, and it was kind of on again, off again. The British Open was the first time I felt any discomfort. And then it kind of became irritating, and then towards the end of the year through THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, to The Presidents Cup, by the time I got to the Grand Slam, I was actually quite sore; I was taping my wrist up in practice rounds, for range balls and that, and I was looking for some time off.

I saw a doctor in December about it, and then again in February and up until I had the surgery, here. It was basically wear and tear, just hitting balls and I had gotten sore -- probably in hindsight, although it wasn't painful and although I could play, I probably should have had it checked out more long ago, and I'm not sure this would have been avoided, but I never did ask that question. And it probably would not have, but just wear and tear, kept hitting balls, and kept beating balls and it eventually wore out.

Q. Just kind of a sharp pain or throb?

JIM FURYK: More of a sharp pain on the outside of my left wrist. And it was kind of from basically from the time that I got to impact through the ball. So as my wrist kind of

hinged -- is that pronating? That's supinating, isn't it? Rotating. I should know all these doctor terms now. I did, actually. I'm trying to forget them.

As I kind of went through impact and that wrist rolled over and bent, it had a pretty sharp pain at that point. And if I really irritated it and it got bad I squeezed and squeezed the grip, and at address it bothered me. It was difficult to play.

But viewing this all, whenever I get back, this is a positive, this is a moving forward now. I have a plan of attack. I know what's wrong. I know that from surgery and that day on it's moving forward. The hard part is sitting and waiting, not knowing if it's going to get better, is it not going to get better, how is it going to react to the rest. I felt like I was working toward a goal, but now that it's scoped, now it's just a healing process. Although the time is unknown, every day is a positive.

And I really -- my family has been real supportive. They've been there for me. The sponsors and the companies that I represent have all called and really responded well. And they've given me a lot of support. And it's not really -- it's not killing me, put it that way. It was tough at first, and now, like I said, I'm moving forward and it's positive.

Q. Knowing how much you like to practice and how much you like to work, how do you avoid this from happening again, and with all due respect to your swing, will you have to change your swing at all?

JIM FURYK: No, no, my swing from the ball through impact isn't different from anyone else's. And my swing, the style of swing never caused the injury. I think it was just a matter of hitting -- just a lot of years hitting a lot of balls and practicing really hard and probably not -- earlier in my career I wasn't really wise about practicing through some pain or getting sore and hitting a lot of balls and not knowing when to stop. I said that when I hurt my right wrist, I learned to practice -- be a lot more wise with my time. Hit less balls but get more out of it. I think once this gets back to a hundred percent, I'm not sure when that healing time is, but I give myself a hundred percent bill of health, but it won't keep me off the range anymore. I haven't been given any indication that it won't heal.

Q. Do you feel you should have had it checked out at the end of last season?

JIM FURYK: I did have it checked out at the end of last season. I don't think that any doctor is going to tell you that they want to try -- they want to try the rest route first. You don't know whether it's going to heal -- basically what I got off an MRI, what I got off an arthrogram, what I got off any test they can run, can't show you exactly what the problem is until you go in with a scope and take a look at it, and most doctors are going to take the route first of let's give this some time, give it a cortisone injection, give it some time, see how it goes, and that's what I did in December.

I gave it rest before January, I gave it rest after January, to where it broke down in early February. I gave it some more rest, and it just became apparent that it wasn't going to work. And that's when the doctors -- all different opinions different times. I went to every doctor and asked their opinion first before I let them know what everyone else said. Everyone said you definitely need surgery. Four out of five basically said the exact same surgery. So it made the decision very easy, very simple and very clear.

I did have it checked out towards the end of the year, and I gave it the rest, I gave it the time, and it wasn't responding to that. I initially probably didn't want to hear surgery, but that was the way to go. And after you hear it four or five times, you go, okay, you become a lot more positive with it.

Q. How long is this on, this thing here?

JIM FURYK: Two weeks -- well, you know what, that's a good question. It may go back on after the two weeks, but after two weeks I have stitches and two little portholes to heal those up. So those are coming out in two weeks. I'm going back to New York. They may have me continue to wear this just for support past then. But after that point I get to start moving around a little bit and trying to get some range.

Q. Did you have any cortisone shots before The Presidents Cup?

JIM FURYK: No, not before The Presidents Cup. I had one in February. February 5th, before that three-week period to see if it would heal.

Q. Are you being recruited at all to do any NBC work for this tournament this week?

JIM FURYK: No, I'm doing some ESPN work on Thursday and Friday. I'll be in the booth.

Q. Are you going to say anyone's swing would make Hogan puke?

JIM FURYK: That might be the pot calling the kettle black (laughter). It will be interesting. I think it will be fun. I'll be looking forward to it. I'll probably get a couple of hours each day. I'm meeting with ESPN after this, trying to get a rundown of what they expect. It will be fun. It will be a new experience. Hopefully I can lend something to it and help out and be a positive for the group.

Q. Welcome to the media.

JIM FURYK: I'm turning to the dark side today.

Q. Will this turn into a long-term thing?

JIM FURYK: I've been given -- the best I can say -- every doctor said three to six. The doctor who did the surgery, who obviously I trust and confide in, he's the gentleman I picked to do the surgery, he's the one that -- the one I trust -- all the doctors I talked to, but this is the one gentleman I picked to do it, and he was very happy with the way the surgery went. He said that everything in my wrist looked great. He couldn't have been happier with the way it went. He found the problem and fixed the problem, and he said it would be a three- to six-month process to get back out here.

Q. Actually I meant the TV. Will that be a longer period of time?

JIM FURYK: I make no bones about it, I play golf for a living. When that career is over, maybe we can discuss it. I have enough on my plate with kids and a family and other interests out of golf to try to want to split time that way. Who knows, they might think I'm terrible in two days, too, and not want to have me. But I think it should be fun. And no, it's something that I would keep open for the future, but when I'm healthy, when I'm ready to go play golf, that's pretty much all I want to do right now.

I've always kept my focus on being very simple in this sport and trying to keep my plate very clean and focus on playing golf.

Q. Obviously the doctors are sometimes wrong. Is there anything that you can do to speed things up and get back in time to defend your title, and have you played Shinnecock?

JIM FURYK: I've played Shinnecock once. My first ten years on Tour the only U.S. Open I missed was the U.S. Open in '95. Something about that must not be good for me, I don't know.

My intention right now is I've come this far, the doctor has given me a plan of attack, and I've trusted in him so far, and I'm going to follow his recipe to a tee. So whatever he tells me to do I will take very literal and will follow exactly. Hey,

if -- I don't know if it would be miraculous, but if it gets speedier and it happens, that's fine. If not, I'm not going to push it.

My goal is to be a hundred percent. If I push it too fast, I could end up slowing this recovery down rather than speeding it up. I'm going to follow his recipe to a tee and try to get as healthy as I can, as fast as I can. I'm not going to come back until I feel like I'm a hundred percent.

Q. Why did you miss Shinnecock in '95?

JIM FURYK: I didn't qualify. I had qualified for Oakmont in '94. I missed qualifying in '95. And I think I've been exempt from '96 on. I've been exempt for all U.S. Opens.

Q. On a sheer emotional level, not many people get a chance to walk up to the first tee at every tournament and be introduced as the defending U.S. Open champion. Do you feel life has cheated you out of that a little bit?

JIM FURYK: I've been introduced as the U.S. Open champion in every event I've played since I won that tournament. So I've already been introduced that way probably 15 times.

Q. But you'll miss it the next few months?

JIM FURYK: You know what, though, the great thing about major championships and the U.S. Open is I'm always going to be the 2003 U.S. Open champion. But I'll always be the 2003 U.S. Open champion. I was playing as a rookie in Milwaukee, and Tom Watson and I got paired together, and we went off like first off the back nine. We were dead last in the tournament and we were playing in a twosome going off Sunday morning, off the back nine, and there's ten people around the tee, and the announcer was very excited that Tom Watson was on the tee, and he went through every major championship he won. The group behind us was just about getting to the tee when he was done, and then he said, next on the tee, Jim Furyk. So those titles always stick.

And yeah, it would be nice to -- I'd be lying if I would say it wouldn't be nice to play the U.S. Open as the defending champion. But that was something I got over last week, and I put it behind me.

The first time my doctor mentioned surgery, I took the big gulp and said, oh, no, surgery, I can't believe it. And -- but I've been over all that. I'm to the point now that I know that PLAYERS Championship is out, I know The Masters is out, possibly the U.S. Open, possibly more major championships, possibly the Ryder Cup down the road. And I'm fine with that. I'm very happy with the way things went. I'm happy that my doctor had a big smile on his face after surgery and said things went great. And he's given me a time frame, and it's a big, general time frame, and we'll see how my body heals.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thanks for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297