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June 19, 2003

Jim Furyk


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: U.S. Open Champion, Jim Furyk. Thanks for joining us. Nice start today after winning last week, a 5-under 66 puts you in a great position. Obviously it's early in the tournament but nice to get off to a good start.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, absolutely. I put myself in a good spot. Briny played a heck of a round today. Looks like he's going to separate himself three shots from the field which is super.

I'm happy with my spot right now. Try to keep plugging away and hopefully get some decent weather tomorrow and get after them again.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: No bogeys on your card today. Does that mean you did pretty well as far as fairways and greens?

JIM FURYK: For the best of my memory, I actually think I hit every fairway today. Got up-and-down on 16; I missed the green short right and pitched to about six feet past and made the putt.

I hit an awful shot on 3. Hit it right down the middle and hit it about ten yards short of the green and pitched it up to a couple of a feet. I'm sure there was a couple other good pars, too, but they just don't come to mind right this second.

Q. It might be difficult sometimes coming off a win like last week to keep focused, are you happy to be able to do that?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I didn't really know how to plan my week or what to do with my schedule, because I had an outing planned on Monday. I knew I was pretty tired and didn't want to touch any clubs on Tuesday. I went home to Florida, just kind of relaxed all day on Tuesday. Came in here late Tuesday night. Yesterday obviously was not very taxing with only nine holes in the Pro-Am. One of the best things is I really got three good nights of sleep, after maybe not sleeping hardly at all on Sunday, Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night with a late tee time today, I got three good nights of sleep and I'm well rested. I was worried a little bit about loss of concentration or not focusing that well, but it seemed to -- I haven't run out of energy or run out of steam yet and my game physically is in good shape. As long as I can keep concentrating well, I'll be in good shape.

Q. Is there anything about your game this year that you think has made a difference?

JIM FURYK: I definitely have had a better year this year, and really have played well. One of the things, I definitely have to do at this point in the year for the first six months -- I won't say I've putted great, but I've putted better than I have the last year and a half. I really felt like the last two years I've played solidly. I've played well. But I really feel like if anything was the weakest part of my game in the last couple years, it was probably my putting. I always get that -- when I came on TOUR early in my career, I was known as a good short game, not a good ball striker. So everyone just assumes that I'm a great putter, and that was probably my weakest stat the last couple of years. I've been working real hard on that trying to improve.

Like I said, I didn't putt poorly but I felt like if I would have putted well the last two years, I would have had two great years, and I had two good years. That's what I wanted to work on. That's gotten better. I think that I'm definitely hitting the ball farther this year and that's helped. A lot of it is hitting more shots right-to-left now instead of holding on and kind of hitting a cut. I let it go and my equipment -- I'm using a golf ball this year that goes a lot farther than what I used last year. I'm hitting them a little farther and I'm putting a little better; that's a good combination.

Q. Did they identify you as the U.S. Open Champion on the tee today?


Q. Did anything strike you at the time?

JIM FURYK: I smiled. (Laughter.)

It was nice. I was expecting that to happen. They always say how many wins you have and maybe your latest win. Although I was really proud to win the Memorial; it was real nice to replace that with the U.S. Open.

Q. Was the reaction any different at all from the crowds today?

JIM FURYK: Yes. I got a cheer when I walked on to the practice tee today. Quite a few people wishing me well and congratulating me. I was just walking up the fairways and such today. That was definitely -- I felt a very positive reaction from the crowd.

Walking out on the tee, kind of surprising how they cheered. It took me a while to -- oh, that was for me. I waved to the crowd, which was nice. It was a good, warm feeling. I appreciated it.

Q. You don't normally get a cheer when you walk on to the practice tee?

JIM FURYK: Not often, no. The Masters is about the only place -- obviously our more popular players, Tiger, Phil, they are going to have a lot of people pulling for them. The Masters is one of those places if you're in contention when you set foot on the practice tee, everyone likes to cheer. When you're walking off they give you a cheer going out there. I don't get that that often.

Q. Do you feel like you got more attention today, and your family got a lot of air time on Sunday and obviously people relate to that, did you get a sense of that today, that there's a lot more people rooting for you for various reasons?

JIM FURYK: I definitely did. I don't know -- yes, I guess -- it's hard to elaborate on that question. You kind of covered it all. I'll just give you a good "yes." (Laughter.)

Q. Because of the whirlwind several days it's been and I'm assuming a lack of sleep to some degree, are you surprised to come out here and put such a good number up here right away, as much as you do like this course?

JIM FURYK: We did actually talk about it. It's not a big deal.

I actually got a lot of sleep which is what I was telling everyone before. I went home on Monday after getting no sleep basically on Sunday because I had an early outing already planned with the company I'm with, Exelon. I got a lot of sleep Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night. I didn't really practice that hard on my game the last few days. I played Monday. Tuesday I didn't touch my clubs. I came out yesterday and hit a few balls, went and played nine. I stayed around for an extra 30, 40 minutes last night and chipped and putted a little bit. It was not a taxing day with nine holes in the Pro-Am. It was a short day for me. So I got three great nights of sleep.

I was curious to see how well I would hold together mentally. I did real well today and I actually thought my way around the golf course very, very well. So I was happy with it.

Q. On any ride there's usually an end; do you ever think about, you know, "I'm playing well, I just won the U.S. Open, I shot this today after not having a lot of sleep and now I'm getting some sleep"? Do you ever think about the fact that, "Wow, when is this going to stop?"

JIM FURYK: Can I tease you for a second? Way to pull the negative out of the positive. (Laughter.) That's kind of like sitting over your tee shot looking at all the trouble instead of the middle of the fairway. I'd like to focus on the positives.

Sure, you're going to hit runs and dry spells and good spots. I played great and went and missed the cut at Wachovia; glad I didn't think, "Well, that's the end of the good run," because I would continue to play well after that at the Byron Nelson, the Colonial, and then went on to win the U.S. Open.

That's part of it. We're going to have peaks and valleys in this game and you just keep plugging away. You try to get your licks in when you're playing well and doing good. When you're not, you're always trying to get back up on top.

Q. What do you know of Briny Baird and have you played with him before? What's your impression of him?

JIM FURYK: A little bit. I don't know all that much about his game. Obviously, like everyone else, I'm real impressed with the round. Any time you can separate yourself from a field by three shots, 8-under is obviously a good score, but I think it's even a better score considering the second best in the entire field is 5-under.

He seems like he has a real solid game as far as he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he doesn't hurt himself. I don't think he's overly long or overly -- he doesn't stand out in any one category. He must have a consistent all-around good game.

I see him practicing his putting a lot. I see him on the putting green a lot; that's one thing I see.

Q. Was this week a lot different than playing after one of your other wins?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, I think I always wore myself out before. I think I tended to take Monday off, get back out there on Tuesday and just kind of getting away from it. The best idea really was probably taking my wife and everyone home on Monday night and just sitting at home on Tuesday and trying to return a couple phone calls here and there. Unpack, wash, pack and just doing -- being at home, actually, kicking back. That was probably the smartest thing, just to kind of get away from golf for a day and get away from, you know, saying, "Hi, congratulations" and talking to everyone. Not that I don't enjoy that but it was nice to sit down for a while, relax, take a deep breath and then come back to it. And I appreciate all of the congratulations and hearing it from everyone here in the room but also from a lot of peers and a lot of people that I admire on TOUR.

Q. Did you actually leave the house?

JIM FURYK: I didn't leave the house. I didn't even realize how hot it was. I was loading the car at about 5:30 to go to the plane and it still seemed like it was about 95 degrees. I broke a sweat moving my golf clubs about ten feet putting them in the car. And I was happy, actually, I didn't go outside after that. But no, I didn't go to the store; didn't do anything.

Q. Do you enjoy the increased amount of attention or do you prefer to do well off the spotlight?

JIM FURYK: Really, I've only been -- this is my third or fourth day after winning the U.S. Open, so I really don't know what to expect in the future. I think what Gary was going to say, if I went to eat lunch or if I went out, "did people recognize you, did people notice you, did people want to talk about the Open?"

Is it nice to be able to go to a restaurant and sit there with my family, with my wife and daughter and my parents and talk and not have to sign autographs? Yes. But people come up time to time and wish you well or "I like watching you" and that's nice to.

I think if you get put in a class like Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, which obviously I'm not, then it becomes a point to where you can't live your life normally like everyone else, then it becomes a little bit of a bummer even though it's nice to be recognized. I probably get the best of both worlds because people come by to wish you well, but people also give you time for your privacy.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Let's go over your birdies.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, 12 is a great birdie. Nice to make 3 on that hole. I hit a good drive and a good 3-iron just short of the green. I was about three yards short of the green. The pin was up front there on the right and I pitched it in.

13, I hit a 3-wood and a 6-iron to about five feet.

18, I hit driver, 3-iron and laid up and I hit a wedge to about three feet.

Then on No. 2, I hit driver and my gap wedge, basically, a 50-degree wedge to about eight feet.

No. 4, I hit driver, 6-iron to about six feet.

Q. Winning one major is a big hurdle. A lot of times people talk about if they have won one maybe it's easier to get to the second or the third because you've experienced it, you've been through, in your own mind you know what's going on. Do you feel now that you have a better chance to win another major or a third major because you've won this first one?

JIM FURYK: That's actually a good question. I'll cautiously answer yes; how's that? I feel like most of it is the experience and going from "I think I can" to "I know I can," winning my first tournament in '95 in Las Vegas was a big step and I'm not saying it makes it easy to win a tournament. It may make it a little easier, I don't know if I want to use that word but it's nice to draw off those experiences. It's nice to have that confidence going in that I've hit these shots down the stretch and I've won the tournament.

I think I learned something from this last event, learned something about myself. And one of the things I went into this golf tournament really focused on, the U.S. Open, I really focused on winning the golf tournament. I talked to my wife -- I made it a point to talk to my wife about winning the event. I had that putter over the weekend that I got a call from the manufacturer saying, hey, it's been deemed non-conforming, you can't use my putter during the U.S. Open and I looked at my wife and said, well, just have to use another one to win the tournament. That's how it goes. Just tried to stay real positive.

Obviously you can't win every week and you can't win major championships all the time. It's a humbling game. So if I go out and win once or twice a year, it's been a great year. But I think just having that positive feedback and thinking about winning golf tournaments and focusing on it, having that past experience can only help. I'm not going to say -- easier might be a little bit of a tough word -- I'm not going to say it's going to be easier to win because it's already difficult to win. Maybe it's a little less difficult because of the confidence factor knowing that you can do it.

Q. But it's in your mindset now?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, more than anything. And that's confident. It's in my mindset because of the confidence and the fact that I've done it, I guess, would be -- yes.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Jim Furyk, thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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