June 13, 2003
OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS
Q. Where do you stand going into the weekend?
JIM FURYK: I'm not sure exactly how the scores are going to stack up this afternoon or actually how good the morning scores were yesterday, I never did look at the scores last night, but I'm happy with the position I'm in. I played a really solid round, probably my best round to date in the U.S. Open. I had control of the golf ball, I put it in play and hit a lot of greens today. I want to continue to do that and of course I'd always love to knock in a couple more putts, so that would be great.
Q. Can you play this golf course the way it now stands a little more aggressively than you normally would at a U.S. Open?
JIM FURYK: In what way?
Q. Are you able to go at more flags?
JIM FURYK: I think you have to pick and choose your spots a little bit. For me, a guy that -- I don't hit the ball overly high or spin it a ton, but the course is really straightforward. They can put the pins in some knobs and tough areas, but I thought the pin placements were maybe a little tougher today than they were yesterday. I thought putting to the flags was a little more difficult today and they were in -- yesterday they seemed to be sitting on a few more flat spots than today, but yeah, the golf course isn't -- the fairways are relatively firm, we're hitting the ball a long way off the tee, and the greens aren't -- I wouldn't call them soft but they're not maybe as firm as we've seen in the past at the U.S. Open, but I'm sure there's plenty of room for that.
Q. Have you always considered yourself a good fit for the U.S. Open?
JIM FURYK: I think that's also -- in general, yes, but that's also going to depend on the year and which course because we're playing a new course every year.
Q. Your game seems to lend itself to certain courses versus others.
JIM FURYK: In general I would say yes, but this course probably lends itself to me a little bit better than Bethpage did last year just from a length issue.
Q. You seem to have made a swing change. Your swing seems a little more conventional than it has been. Can you talk about that?
JIM FURYK: I really haven't. I know NBC said that, Johnny said that back at the Pinehurst Open and that was four years ago. I don't know, he must be looking at something a little different than me. I haven't figured it out. I think over my ten-year career my swing has every year maybe become -- I hate to use the word, maybe a little bit more conventional little by little over ten years. It's still obviously not conventional, but it's maybe a little bit more towards that. I really haven't made any swing changes. I've started to draw the ball a little bit more this year versus the past, and that was even last year, and I'm a little bit more comfortable hitting the ball right to left and hitting the ball both ways than I was earlier in my career, but really it's the same swing for the most part.
Q. The USGA doesn't seem inclined to top the rough again. I think they're going to let it go to -- they said it could be five inches by Sunday and a little bit of June sun ever comes out they expect the greens and fairways to firm up. Do you ever get the sense that you got the low score while the getting was good? The wind has been down and so forth?
JIM FURYK: Well, I expect the weekend if it gets windy and if the greens get firm and pin placements get even tougher, yeah, but it's not like -- it's still going to play difficult for everyone. The golf course is pretty much the same for everyone every day. Yeah, I don't know. We'll see how the setup comes for the rest of the week and I'll get out there, look at the conditions, look at how the course is playing and judge from there as I'm going.
Q. Are you satisfied you've capitalized on the course the way you have?
JIM FURYK: Sure. No one is going to step up here and say they absolutely played as good as they could and they leave anything out on the golf course, but seven under for two days we U.S. Open I'm happy with that.
Q. There were more birdies on the first round than the last three tournaments combined. Is that attributable more to the weather conditions or to the way the USGA has set up this course? Have they set it up maybe easier than a lot of open layouts?
JIM FURYK: I would feel it hard to use the word easy. Maybe less difficult would be good for the U.S. Open. I'm not trying to upset anyone this evening. I would say Bethpage last year was a very difficult golf course to start, and it was a very difficult setup, the hardest I've ever seen setup-wise. This is I think a difficult golf course and a very good golf course. I said that back on Tuesday in a half a dozen interviews. The setup I think has been maybe less difficult than what we saw last year at Bethpage, but there's a lot of room. I think you have to be pretty careful at a golf course like this and also at Bethpage. There's a lot of room here to make the course more difficult. A course, for example, like Congressional -- I want to say Congressional was about 96 for the Open?
JIM FURYK: The greens were less quick and less firm than any U.S. Open that I had seen to that point and maybe ever, but yet the scores weren't that low because it's such a difficult golf course. I think after last year with the scores as high as they were in spots, maybe they're being careful on a golf course like this this year with the scores, but like I said, it wouldn't be very tough to make the greens a little firmer, a little faster, and all of a sudden it would be all we could handle.
Q. Can you just speak to how impressive it is to have Tom Watson where he is hanging in there?
JIM FURYK: Oh, it's fun. Was he at 3 the last I saw, 4? I think it's pretty special. He's a fan favorite, someone that's been great for golf for a lot of years, so there's going to be a lot of people pulling for him out there.
Q. Are you surprised to see him up there?
JIM FURYK: Absolutely not. He's a great ball striker.
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