|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
March 12, 2014
PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA
DOUG MILNE:Â All right.Â We'll go ahead.Â Jim Furyk, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the 2014 Valspar Championship.Â The site of your win in 2010 which obviously was quite the good year for you.
You had a chance to be out, see the course.Â Just some comments on the Copperhead course and being back here this week.
JIM FURYK:Â Yeah.Â It's always nice to come back.Â I won back here in 2010.Â I have had some other good opportunities.Â I love the golf course.Â It's one of my favorites of the year.
It's a hard golf course but I think the way it's sets up right now, you know, obviously the wind is going to be blowing tomorrow.Â In good weather I would see scores being pretty decent because the golf course is pretty soft, fairways are relatively soft but the greens are very soft and it's would give the guys opportunities to score out there now.
That being said, the wind and cold tomorrow, supposed to be brutal so I could see them drying out very quickly in that case.
I guess depends if we get anymore rain or not and, you know, we'll see, I guess, maybe be nice to get up in the morning and just kind of assess the situation, see what the scores look like before I head to the range because I'm playing in the afternoon tomorrow.
DOUG MILNE:Â We'll take questions.
Q.Â If I'm not mistaken, you probably first played here 20 years ago at the old J.C. Penney Classic.Â What are your recollections?
JIM FURYK:Â You are mistaken.Â I played a couple of junior events here, actually.Â I did play two J.C. Penney's.Â What are the differences now?
Q.Â What are your favorite memories from the first J.C. Penney you played here at Innisbrook as a professional?
JIM FURYK:Â Well, I had already known the golf course.Â I already had liked it because of the two junior tournaments.Â I played with a girl named Lisa Kiggins, who was a nice gal, real tough, actually good gritty player, grinded it out well.
I made a hole in one on what's now No. 4.Â It's a good memory when you think about it.Â When I say now No. 4 when I played it as a junior it was kind of 1 through 9.Â We played three different 9s through there.Â Everything was 1 through 9.Â To me the 10th hole is still No. 1 if that makes sense.Â Everything is 1 through 9 for me.Â That's the way I played it as a kid.
Q.Â What was the other 9, part of the island now?
JIM FURYK:Â I feel like now I feel like it was -- we didn't play the island but I feel like it was 9 holes that was part of it -- seemed like it was down No. 1 and across the street, if that makes sense, kind of over that way if that's what the third course is.Â It was part of that 9.
Q.Â First hole in one?
JIM FURYK:Â No.Â No.Â It's a good memory.Â As far as J.C. Penney, we never did all that well.Â We didn't do bad but all that well.
Q.Â Would you play in that if they had it again or are you too old for that now?
JIM FURYK:Â I think with the right partner I would.Â If I could just kind of blind luck pick someone out and go, probably not as much but I think with the right partner, someone I knew and enjoyed playing golf with and being around, then, yeah, I may but at that time I didn't -- I forget how we got paired up.Â It ended up being a great pairing and worked out well.
Q.Â What were the junior events that you played?
JIM FURYK:Â AJGA, they had it like in November sometime.Â Big match play event.Â They had a medal play event in Roswell, Georgia in the summer and two biggest events at that time, one of the two big ones.
Q.Â Did you win?
JIM FURYK:Â No.Â My college roommate did.
Q.Â Do you remember who beat you?
JIM FURYK:Â No, I don't.Â I don't remember much about it.Â I think, in fact, one year I came down, I think the top 16 made the first -- like the first go and I might even have been the second 16.Â I think I might have won the second, like kind of like a consolation flight or something one year.
Q.Â Pretty bad questions so far, aren't they?
JIM FURYK:Â Not really.Â You know, the golf course like I said, if we got back to that, it's a little soft right now and -- but the wind blows 25 miles an hour tomorrow and it's cold I guess that will kind of dry up real quick and you can attack it right now as far as the iron shots.
Not what I'm used to.Â After playing last week when everything was brick hard, it's actually nice to play 5-iron three, four yards short of the pin instead 14 or 15 more yards.Â I'm enjoying that.
Q.Â One more junior question.Â When you got here playing the junior events, did you take to this course right away even if the results didn't --
JIM FURYK:Â I thought it was hard.Â You know, it's not -- I think back then did I take to it right away?Â Probably not.
Some of the reasons coming from Pennsylvania, getting used to the grasses and I remember things being more bermuda for some reason.Â I don't know why.Â Maybe they were, maybe they weren't.
I always liked the golf course because it didn't remind me of Florida, wasn't flat, wasn't water everywhere.Â It was tree-lined, elevation change.
It reminded me of a golf course or the style, greens, lot of slope at times from back to front so it reminded me of kind where I grew up in Pennsylvania.
But I didn't have early success on it but I always liked the golf course.
Q.Â Jim, what are your Masters preparations and have they changed over the years?
JIM FURYK:Â They haven't really changed.Â If I would -- if I really thought the week before would be a good week for me to play, I would play in the golf tournament.Â It doesn't seem to ever work out that way.Â Houston, I've never played there and I have nothing against it.Â Guys say it's a great track.Â Lot of guys like the track.Â "Tell me about the track."Â They say, "High, bombing, long draws."
I go, "Well, no, no, not really."Â So, kind of like they go, "Yeah, you might not like it."Â That's kind of what everyone says to me.Â That's kind of more than anything else really a lot of guys on Tour and when I say a lot, ten guys have told me the same thing.Â You hear that ten times, not one guy goes you'd love it kind of keeps me away.
I don't really want to take two weeks off before playing in a Major Championship.Â I'm not going to play next week at Bay Hill which I usually do, little bit of schedule, little bit our event on Monday, I have a charity event on Monday.Â I'm going to entertain a little bit after that event.
It makes that week very difficult for me.Â So I'm going to take Bay Hill off this year, first time in a lot of years, go to Valero, where I played well last year, finished 3rd, and then I'll take Houston off and get ready at home.
Really it's hard to emulate the conditions so it will be playing a lot of golf and playing is going to be more influential than practice.Â When I get up there around the greens, the putting that I can't work on really at home as well I'll work on there.Â
Actually I'm playing in my member-guest the week before I go to Augusta.Â I'm not sure how good a preparation that is but I'm bringing a friend from New York down and I think we have matches on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before I leave for Augusta.
Q.Â How many strokes do you get in the member-guest?
JIM FURYK:Â Either +6 or 7.Â I posted some higher scores the last time home, I wasn't scoring very well so I'm hoping it goes back to 6.
Q.Â That's what you're supposed to do before the member-guest.
JIM FURYK:Â I see everyone else do it.
Q.Â You mentioned the high --
JIM FURYK:Â Cost me a few bucks.Â I don't know how good it was.
Q.Â You mention the high draw.Â I don't know if I've had a chance to ask you about the loss of the Eisenhower Tree.Â How did you feel about it and how did it feel about you?
JIM FURYK:Â My quote from sentimental and the history, it's a shame that, you know, that it was destroyed, or I saw pictures where it was cracked in half and lost a lot of that tree.
It's grown so much over the years and gotten so much taller.Â It used to be not really a big deal to pop it over when I first started playing.Â I think it was shorter.Â The tree was smaller and we were -- the tee was a lot closer to it so it wasn't -- it was a lot harder to hit.
Now I seem to hit that damn thing at least twice a year.Â It's a very difficult tee shot for me.Â So, from the history of the game I miss it but my game sure won't miss it.Â Put it that way.
Q.Â Just along those lines, Jim, when you think of 17 at Augusta, would that be the first thing you think of, talking about --
JIM FURYK:Â Yeah, absolutely.Â Now it would.
In the past, I'd say 20 years ago or the first year I played there, no, that would not have been but over the years that tree has grown in my mind, it's grown a lot higher.
I'm hitting the ball a lot farther than I did 20 years ago.Â That tee has been jacked back and the tree has grown so high that for someone of my length that hits a lot flatter trajectory, it's a difficult tee shot because if you play out to the right of it, that fairway is very small.Â You just block it a touch and you get into the rough and kind of behind those trees that angle out in the corner.
What I used to think of really was the green, it was extremely difficult.Â And also the way that fairway has gone toward if you do happen to hit one high and hit it good and get it up on the flat you gain a bunch of yardage of roll, where if you hit it a little lower or it's in the wind you hit into the hill, the ball dies and you have a much farther shot.
I think the longer players, if a guy hits it 30 yards by me usually he might hit it 40, 50 by me on that hole just because of the way the fairway is contoured.
So, you know, that's one of the first things I think about.Â Originally when I played there it was the green.Â You think back some of the famous putts made, Nicklaus in '86, where the pin placements were.
It's a tough green and one that's very hard to get a good birdie putt.
Q.Â Strategically a good hole in the finish of Augusta.Â I wouldn't think you would stand on that tee thinking birdie.Â Lot of guys would, accept Jack.
JIM FURYK:Â When I was trying to win there in '98, I sat on that tee thinking birdie but once it was redesigned, that's not the first thought that goes through my mind.
The first one is how I'm going to get the ball in the fairway so I have an opportunity with the iron shot.Â Strategically it's a very, very difficult hole for me.
There's a couple holes there that depending on the wind condition I feel stress my game and they all tend to go the same direction that No. 17 goes.
You've heard me say this before.Â 14, 17, I like to see -- I want to get there and see the wind in my face on 1, if there's going to be any breeze.
I want 1 to play hard, the rest of the golf course then turns in my favor, I believe, and the short players, guys that won there -- when Zach won there, when Weirsy played well there, when it was long the wind -- everyone talking about Zach laying up on 13 and 15.
Zach couldn't reach those holes because he doesn't hit it any farther than I do and I couldn't reach them.Â He laid up out of necessity and put a lot more stress on the longer players to get there in 2.
They hit a lot longer irons, woods to those holes and made 14, 17 which into the breeze we hit into those hills it makes those second shots a lot more difficult when they're down breeze and get it over the hill, and get over there now we have a short iron in our hand.
I just felt like depending where the breeze comes from and how soft the golf course plays, if 1 is downwind and it just rained for the last two days, I know it's going to be a long day for me.Â It's going to be a tough, tough golf course.
Q.Â Does playing the Copperhead help at all in your Masters preps?
JIM FURYK:Â Yeah, I think so.Â I really like the golf course.Â I don't think that a golf course has to be manicured the same.Â I don't think that -- you know, I know like Houston they try to really get everything firm and fast, shaved down a lot of the chipping areas.
That is good preparation, don't get me wrong but I'd much rather play a golf course that's suited to my style of game that I felt comfortable playing because I think still that hitting good golf shots and playing at a place you like to play and thinking your away around the golf course is still good preparation for getting ready the next week.
I'd say the one thing here, you do get a lot of greens that have quite a bit of pitch and slope to them, especially back to front, and so you have to hit some putts here that feed to the hole.
You're not -- you get a lot of six footers here that are more than a cup of break and you don't see a lot of that in Florida as well.Â You get a lot of right edge and left edge, ball out, inside right.
Here you have to fit a lot of putts that really feed into the hole and that helps a little bit for getting ready for Augusta.
DOUG MILNE:Â Anybody else?Â All right.Â Jim.
Q.Â Couple more.
JIM FURYK:Â Damn.Â I was just that close.
Q.Â I've got a long list right here.Â You talk about the softness on the course.Â What about the greens, what do they look like out there?
JIM FURYK:Â They're soft.Â Big ball marks.
Q.Â They look almost painted.
JIM FURYK:Â They look -- yeah, the overseed is a funny color, I would say.Â They're a different color.Â I'm guessing that the winter has been a little tough.Â The overseed might not have taken as thick as in the past but the greens roll pretty well.
They're just very receptive right now and there's some places in the fairways where like in the low areas on, say, like 6, fairway is right to left.
It almost looks like some of the overseed got washed on the low end.Â You've got some thin spots of grass but it's been real cold.Â I'm betting they had some rain just by the way it looked a little bit.
Q.Â I had one other one that wasn't Lisa Kiggins begins related.
Jordan was talking about how last year there was a stretch on the back-9 that was very special to him, getting special membership and basically going on to doing what he did last year.
I'm curious if you can go back to '94 or even thereabouts if there was ever a moment that you could look back on it at the start of your career that was really meaningful toward pushing you over the hump.
You never lost your card or anything.
JIM FURYK:Â No.Â I think in Jordan's case, you know, he came out of school early, lot of talent, expected to be kind of a world beater.Â Lot of pressure not only he puts on himself but a lot more outside pressure media-wise.
When I got my card, no one knew who the heck I was and looked at my swing and the only thing they paid attention to was really my golf swing rather than the way I played.
I was able to float under of the radar.Â For me and a lot of young players, I think it's really a sense of belonging or a sense that knowing you belong on the PGA TOUR, you can compete here, this is where you're supposed to be, and getting comfortable with that.
And so for me early on -- I missed my first cut in Hawaii and I went to Tucson and played a course there I was very comfortable on.Â I played -- did most of my practice in college there and I held the 36 and 54 hole year.Â I think I shot 1-under on Sunday.Â A little bit of immaturity and I finished 7th.
My dad was telling me -- we talked about the round a little bit -- "little bit more seasoning you really could have won that golf tournament today."Â It was kind of the light was going on.Â There's probably not a lot of other people who know who I am or believe that -- there's people who believe I belong on the PGA TOUR but I was starting to get a feel at that point that I really do, I could have won this golf tournament and now it's a matter of kind of getting better.
And then I played pretty well for a couple of months and gotten a little -- I started playing good enough in the summer where I knew I made it by June, July I already made enough money to keep my card and so it was just kind of a little bit of a sigh of relief, I had a card and job and now all of a sudden agents were knocking on my door, people remembered who I was and wanted to talk to me.
It was more, for me, it was assuring in Tucson that, okay, I belong at this level, I can play and I can win at this level, I just need to figure out how to do it and how to get better.
Q.Â When you walked into the locker room at the in Hawaiian Open, who made you nervous that you saw?Â Who intimidated you, not in a stare-down way?
JIM FURYK:Â I've told this story before and I'm sure you heard.Â I had the funniest thing happen to me my first week on Tour that most rookies couldn't imagine.
I had a bad incident happen on Tuesday but it was more equipment related and then -- I would never talk about.
Q.Â It's a shame, but go ahead.
JIM FURYK:Â Thursday, my very first round of the year I'm hitting balls on the range, the predominant wind is into right to left on the driving range.Â It's really small.Â It's usually pretty sandy and it was damp and wet, first thing early in the morning.Â The wind is howling.
I drop some balls and my dad was with me and my caddy took off to go wet a towel or do something.Â I scraped a couple balls over and there was a pin over in the front left, always had a pin short left on the range.
I was on the right center of the range.Â I turned 45 degrees to hit a shot, little pitch shot 40, 50 yards to kind of warm up the sand wedge, real sandy lie.Â I was stiff.
I just -- I laid the sod over it.Â I hit it three inches fat and, of course, all the sand went up in the air and coated the guy next to me (laughter).
I didn't really pay attention to who it was but I turned to look, "Sorry about that" and I'm staring at Lanny Watkins (laughter).
That's about as intimidating as it can get.Â "Sorry about that."Â And then I turned and looked at my dad with a grin on my face, "Holly crap, can you believe I just did that" like -- I was kind of smiling because I knew Lanny was behind me.
I, like a dummy, scraped another ball over, same pin, you're a kid, not thinking you're going to hit two of those.Â Next one now I'm starting to think about it, nervous, sandy lie, just laid the sod over it again.Â I see the sand go up.Â I'm listening.Â Literally can hear it hitting him.Â Oh, geez.
I turn now, "Hey, man, sorry about that."Â Maybe -- "I guess I'll aim a little further right."Â He didn't break stride over the shot, he goes, "That would be nice".
So now I put the sand wedge back and I'm going to try the pitching wedge.Â Heck with it, I'll go straight to the 8-iron.
I aim it down the right fence line and just blade one over, thin one really bad over in the fence and took me awhile to get calmed down.Â It was a funny way to start the week or start the year.Â But very first competitive round.
I played with him -- I got to play with -- my second year and I won an event my third year.Â I won the Hawaiian Open my third year and very next week get paired with Crenshaw and Lanny at Rivvy, of all places.
They couldn't have been nicer to me.Â I'm sure I talked to Lanny about that.Â I couldn't believe but they were great.Â They were fun to talk to and talk about the history and heard about shots and players they played with and it was good.
Q.Â Do you think they tell that story about you?
JIM FURYK:Â Probably not.Â Probably not.Â I heard some good ones.Â I've heard some stories of guys saying they played with me there or, "Hey, I remember when such and such played with you, your rookie year, they came in the locker room and said you wouldn't believe the swing on this kid I played with today.Â No chance."Â Saying how bad it was.Â But it's kind of funny.
DOUG MILNE:Â All right.Â Jim, we appreciate your time as always.Â Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports