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August 3, 2003

Jim Furyk


TODD BUDNICK: You held off a charging group of players today. Talk a little bit about today.

JIM FURYK: Early in the week, I think that my swing, my ball-striking was very mediocre, at best. I putted very solidly. I got the ball up-and-down. I did what I needed to do with my short game. So to keep myself in there and score pretty well. As the week wind on, I started hitting the ball better and better to where I had a pretty decent ball-striking day yesterday and then a very good one today.

The putting was not quite there as much today as it was in the past. I think I got in my own head a couple times today and didn't close the door earlier when I could have. My ball-striking really came around and I had a lot of confidence today. I think the only green I missed was the 18th today, and probably because I wasn't playing real aggressive. I was trying knock to the knock it the middle of the green and didn't come close to the middle of the green, come to think about it.

Overall, though, unbelievable, the way I scored. I got the ball in the hole and got the job done, and that's the difference between having a pretty good week and winning a golf tournament. I just scored very, very well this week.

TODD BUDNICK: This is your ninth career victory, yet the first time that you've won twice in a season. Was that something that you had thought about in the back of your head?

JIM FURYK: Absolutely. It was something I've always wanted to do. I've been fortunate enough in ten seasons I won before now, I won eight different tournaments all in a different year. So while that string has been fun, I always did want to win multiple tournaments in a year. I had a good opportunity today. I'm glad that I went out there and got the job done.

TODD BUDNICK: Here at Warwick Hills, you played your last 21 rounds below par. That's a pretty impressive streak.

JIM FURYK: Again, these things I don't need to hear. I saw on SportsCenter last night that I made 45 of 46 putts for the week inside of ten feet. I'm going, I don't want to hear that stuff. Sorry I even had it on. It's a nightly routine and a morning routine to have it on. Kind of like when I went out Sunday morning and trying to think of what they said on the U.S. Open telecast. I didn't want to hear what they had to say about the tournament yet and put some more pressure on yourself.

TODD BUDNICK: In this case, it's over and you won and it says something about you and the course here.

JIM FURYK: I love the golf course, actually. When I'm playing well, this golf course really suits my game. It's a tight golf course. It's one of the shorter golf courses we play on TOUR. It puts a lot of wedges in our hand and the greens are perfect. I think the strength of my game when I'm playing well or I hit the ball accurately off the tee, I hit a lot of fairways and from 100 yards and in, I feel like I'm one of the better players on TOUR with my wedges. So this golf course plays to the strength of my game. Of course, you have to be playing well in order to take advantage of that. But I'm always very comfortable here and I always felt like this is one of those tournaments that I really thought I could win.

Q. You said earlier in the week -- was there something specific you did differently or was it just a matter of --

JIM FURYK: Kind of worked through my setup a little bit. Made a couple of adjustments with ball position and group and kind of working on some fundamentals. Probably more than anything, it was just a bit of a timing issue. I had some time off. I did practice at home and I was really prepared but some of the things I worked on most, that I always do coming in here, I work on my short game a ton before I come here. I hit a lot of wedge shots from 50 to 60 yards to play to holes like 12 and 13 and 14. It seems like during the day we have so many of those, and that's where you do your scoring out here, so I really worked on my short game which was evident. My short game was very, very good this week.

But my timing was probably a little off on my swing. I know some weeks, I just kind of gradually got better as the week went on, to where Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, every day I felt more than comfortable with my swing and ball-striking. And it came in handy because down the stretch today I missed a couple putts and I really relied on myself to hit the ball solidly, and I did.

Q. After the beautiful sand shot on 18, you thrust your arms up. How much of that was elation and how much of it was realization that you had gotten that second win and all of the emotions?

JIM FURYK: A little of everything, a little relief. I really was out there, you're out there on 17, 18, you've got a two-shot lead, it's your tournament to win. I kind of felt like I couldn't get to the house quick enough today. I just wanted to get it over with.

A lot of it was, you get to that point where you know you can't screw it up. That was the point. So I was happy to win the golf tournament. It was a lot of fun.

Q. You are now one of eight guys who has won multiple times this year. Do you think there is a group of you that are just playing better this year consistently, or is there an explanation for that?

JIM FURYK: I don't know. Keeping that Kapalua field small, isn't it?

I don't know. It's pretty awkward. Some years, we have a lot of first-time winners and a lot of guys winning -- a lot of guys winning tournaments. This year it's just been the opposite. It seems like a lot of veterans and the guys that have won before, guys like Davis was just on fire earlier this year. Tiger has had a very solid year with four wins. Kenny Perry struck fire through the summer after Davis. Mike Weir was on fire earlier this year on the West Coast and then winning the Masters. So guys just seem like they have gotten on those two- and three-month runs where they have just lit it up and won a lot of golf tournaments. I don't know what the reason for that is. There's just a lot of guys that have played very well this year.

TODD BUDNICK: Could there be any correlation to playing for the Presidents Cup this year? Last year there was nothing up for grabs and you had 18 first-time winners.

JIM FURYK: Could possibly be. Could possibly be. But for us as Americans there's always something up for grabs because every year there is a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. You know, it could be. It could be. At this point I'm comfortable. I want to make the team. I always want to. At this point I'm comfortable on the team, and for me the motivation is I'm happy I'm having a really good year; and I'm doing great now, and not to rest on your laurels and go out there; and really focus on winning some golf tournaments and strike while the iron is hot, and that's what I'm trying to do.

Q. With the two-shot lead at 18, what was going through your mind, were you trying to stay aggressive or did you just make a mistake and come up short?

JIM FURYK: Actually I made a mistake and hit it way left. That ball should have been in the middle of the green. Should have been clear of that bunker. I was in the short cut. Had a down-lie in the rough and for some reason it turned over on me pretty good. I did hit it pretty hard. I thought it was actually going to go in the bunker and it was closed in that top corner.

Really, I changed clubs. I always hit driver off that tee. I felt like the only way could screw that hole up was hit it right over the top the bunker in the trees, so I hit 3-wood knowing I could not carry the bunker. Just trying to keep the ball in front of me. Had I hit driver on the same line I hit 3-wood on, it would have gone through into those trees. It would not have taken a left kick. Just trying to keep the ball in front of me, play intelligently and make 4 or 5 and get out of there.

With the bunker shot, instead of just -- I actually tried to actually hit good golf shots. You're trying to hit one down, rip one down the middle with 3-wood, hit one where I'm aiming with 8-iron, which I didn't do and then trying to hit a good bunker shot. No sense of wishing it out or knocking it out. I'm just trying to knock it up there tight where I could tap it in and get out of here.

Q. Over the last few years, you've established yourself as maybe one of the premiere players in the game. Talk about that, being thought of as one of the world's top players, but also the fact that you are still trying to reach more goals?

JIM FURYK: Absolutely. I still consider myself relatively young at 33. I've been out here for ten years and quite a bit of experience. Yeah, I still feel like I've got a lot of years and a lot to prove to myself and a lot to do. You know, right now I'm at that point where I've learned enough and have some experience behind my belt, but I think physically I'm still hanging in there. I'm beat up a little bit with my hands but I've been very fortunate, knock-on-wood, with back and a lot of injuries. And I've got through a couple of them out here very well, where I feel like I've come back stronger than before I was hurt.

Yeah, there's always ways. A lot of it has to do with your determination and your drive out here and how much you want to accomplish. When I lose that, then it's over and it's time to probably get away from golf and, I'm not even close to that right now. I have a lot of things I'd like to accomplish, and basically it's a drive to just keep winning golf tournaments, keep putting yourself in position. It's a thrill to wake up on Sunday morning, knowing you're in contention and that a good round can win the golf tournament. That's what we work for and work hard for. I love the nervousness, that's jittery. You eat, but it never really goes down all that well, and I love that part of the morning that you're nervous and you have opportunity.

Q. Can you talk about the birdies on 13 and 14?

JIM FURYK: Big birdies. I knew after 3-putting 11, I had a one-shot lead. Everyone in front of me is on those three holes, a lot of birdies are going to be made and my goal was to birdie two of the three. I hit a bad drive on 12 and hung it right, but I was trying to get down the right side of the fairway to get a good angle at that pin. Didn't hit a particularly good wedge shot out of the rough, hit the putt.

13, hung the drive where I could not go for it in two. My idea was to get the ball up close to the green as I could away from that water and give myself a half-shot, because I knew the ball was going to be spinning back and both of the guys in my group were farther on wedge shots and spun the ball off the green and had to scramble for pars. I wanted to give myself a half shot. I hit a little 60-degree wedge to three feet and knocking that in calmed me down a little bit.

Then 14, although I hit my drive a little bit left, bad angle to the pin a little bit for that wedge shot and in the short cut of the rough. I flipped it over the bunker to about 15 feet and that putt really was nice to see that go in. I hit a good putt at 15 that didn't go in and just kind of rushed a little bit on 16. At that point I think I got a little out of my routine. Not such a veteran move. Maybe a got a little quick, just going to knock that easy one in, ended up missing it and that could have proved costly. Luckily it didn't, and I played solid the rest of the way in.

Q. How long was the putt on 16?

JIM FURYK: Couldn't have been more than tee feet. I would be surprised if it was more than three feet. It was straight uphill right, you could kick it in. I think I was just so excited to hit the pitch shot, I wanted to run up there, knock it in and didn't take my time, just quit on it and pulled it to the left side. Again, kind of had the same feeling I had on 11, like you work so hard, don't give it away now.

I think the key shot at that point was really getting up there on the 17th tee with the tough pin on front left and making sure I hit a really good solid iron shot. I hit one of my best shots of the day. I hit a 6-iron 15 feet behind the hole.

Q. You talked earlier about not closing the door when you had a chance earlier. Were you talking about the putts at 9 and 10?

JIM FURYK: 9, 10, 3-putted 11 and then I clawed my way back out of it, made some birdies and had a good lead and I could have shut the door again probably at 16 and didn't knock that little one in. So kind of had a little dejavu there on the 16th green with the same feeling I had on 11. A little bit of it was just I think I was a little -- I just wanted to get the ball in the hole so bad that I didn't just relax, go through my thought process and knock it in. But every time I made a mistake -- 9, I hit actually a pretty good putt. Was just fooled.

10, I pushed it slightly and missed the putt.

11, it was probably the one glaring mental mistake today. I think because I missed those two putts I just tried to get through and jam it in the hole and knocked it way by. I hit a pretty good second putt and it broke out of the hole, but every time I made a mistake like I did on 11 and 16, I came right back and hit good golf shots, and when things got down, maybe I was leaking a little bit of oil on those two holes; I came back and hit good golf shots and put it away. So, proud of that.

Q. You talked about the wedge on 13 a little bit, but Ogilvy had just pulled within one before you hit that one, were you cognizant of the leaderboard at that time?

JIM FURYK: No, I didn't know. I think once I got to the green, I had time to sit there and watch the other players putt, I could peak at the leaderboard. I didn't know who the player was. I didn't know it was Ogilvy. It wasn't till I got to 16, I just looked at the numbers on the right, 21, 19, whatever it was. It wasn't till I got to 16 that I sat in front of that board forever. It was 50 feet away, and every time it changed, you could hear the clicks and we were waiting for five minutes on that tee. So I kept looking up at the board, and I knew who the players were and what holes they were on at the time.

At that point I knew who the players were and exactly where I stood. Before that, I had a good idea that I was 1-up or 2-up for most of that back nine.

Q. Inaudible?

JIM FURYK: Like it, actually. If someone would have went birdie, birdie, birdie and I would be 1-down. I would rather know that than be blind and think I had a one-shot lead or tied. I would rather know. It doesn't affect the way I am going to go play. I am still going to play aggressively down the stretch but I'd like to know. It's not like I'm looking up there all day to figure it out, but if I've got a chance to win a golf tournament, I want to know where I stand coming down the stretch.

Q. Inaudible?

JIM FURYK: Well, a lot of it is experience. One thing I did really well at the U.S. Open is when I had the opportunities. I really separated myself from the field. I closed the door. Not closed the door, but I got out ahead pretty good and I really tried to put that tournament away early. Where I had that opportunity today, I didn't take advantage of my opportunities today like I did, and sometimes that happens. And what I really tried to talk myself into was the fact that, hey, don't worry about the fact of 9, 10, 11 not going in. Don't think about what it could have been or how many it could have been up. Look at the present situation. You've got a one-shot lead, you have some short holes with wedges coming up; you have to make some birdies. Instead of looking at it as a blown opportunity, look at it as I'm still leading this golf tournament, I have an opportunity to win, focus on what you need to do to win the tournament.

Q. There's five of you with over 4 million on the Money List right now, all of you could still come in first on that, and also Player of the Year -- the last four or five years, Tiger has dominated both of those things. Will you talk about how it's a close race in both of those going into August?

JIM FURYK: Well, again, leading the Money List or being voted on as Player of the Year would be great thing, a great accomplishment. Yes, it's something that yes, I would like to do, but again, I don't -- it's not really the motivation for the year. I'm trying to win golf tournaments. I've always tried to do that. I show up trying to win tournaments, and if I can keep playing well and keep putting myself in position, I can maybe win another tournament or two, like I said yesterday. Then those things kind of come along with it. That's what I'm focusing on. That's what I want to accomplish and if those awards come at the end of the year, then it's kind of icing on the cake. If they don't come, it's not going to be -- it's not going to lessen my year. I'm really proud of what I've accomplished and I want to keep going.

Q. Was this your best year because you won a major or does winning a major and winning another one solidify that or is this icing on the cake?

JIM FURYK: It's definitely my best year. It's been my most consistent. I've won two tournaments and I've never done that before. I've won a major championship and I've never done that before I had some opportunities. I lost the playoff at Doral. Had opportunities to win some other tournaments. I put myself in position more times this year and gave myself more opportunities to win. That's why I have won twice and lost a playoff. I'm high up on the Money List. I've won more money than arrive ever won. It's no question the best year I've had to date.

Q. You're one of three players now with a chance to be a two-time major winner this year, and with having won this week, at what point do you mentally and physically begin your preparation for the PGA Championship?

JIM FURYK: Probably mentally and physically not until next Friday, Saturday. I'm playing, actually, the next two days. I have an event in Utah. My dad and I are playing together. I have a Pro-Am tomorrow and we have a better ball tournament on Tuesday. I expect to just go out there, and, really, want to play well, but more than anything, I get to spend a couple days with my dad. We are going to go fishing on Wednesday; three days with dad, really hanging out and having a good time. We'll fly home Thursday and I'll probably do a little bit Friday, Saturday, start hitting it hard again and start focusing on the next tournament. It will keep me playing, keep me going along real well, but it won't be a real stressful week, either. Hopefully it will keep me nice and loose and playing well, but it won't be too much stress.

Q. Now that you've won twice in one year, wouldn't it be a good time to win back-to-back tournaments?

JIM FURYK: This would be a good time, with a major coming.

Someone asked me yesterday, I'm trying to think of the wording, just how important was it to for someone to win this event coming up with the PGA. I said, well, it's probably more important when it was the week right before. No one had ever won this event the week before and gone on to win the PGA. It's just nice to have some confidence in your game, know that you are hitting good golf shots, you're scoring well and knocking some putts in. I feel good about my game. I'm going to have a week off, so mentally I'll get ready. Physically I'll get ready later in the week. It's good to know that I am playing really well, but does that translate to a good week at the PGA? No. Does it help? It probably helps a little bit, but it doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to play well. And I need to get mentally and physically ready and try to figure out that golf course.

I hit driver off the first tee. I hit a 3-wood on to about the front fringe. Although I was still probably about 90 feet, I hit an 8-iron pitch-and-run to about 15 feet short and knocked that in.

2, I hit driver, 7-iron to about two or three feet.

6, I hit a 3-wood and a wedge to 15 feats feet.

Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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