June 12, 2003
OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS
Q. You must have thought after six holes that maybe you got to the wrong golf course or something.
JIM FURYK: Well, I started on the backside. No, it seemed like U.S. Open to me. I shot two over. I kind of had definitely an opposite round on my front and back sides. The back, where I started, I hung a lot of drives to the right, hit it in three fairway bunkers. I think I only hit two fairways on that side and kind of scrapped and clawed and did the best I could and made a great up-and-down for par on 17. I actually had to get up-and-down for bogey on 18.
That kind of held me in there and I started hitting the ball a little bit more solid and straight on the front side, my second side. I put the ball in the middle of the fairway every hole and gave myself some opportunity.
It was definitely different, but after shooting a couple over on that first side I wanted to go to the front and post a -- trying to go back there and shoot a couple under and play solid and get myself back in the golf tournament. I birdied five of the first six and rounded off a string of birdies and just got it going. It was a fun day there for a while.
Q. How much different is the golf course today than during the practice rounds, and even this afternoon how much different do you think it is than this morning?
JIM FURYK: Well, I didn't -- well, no, the greens are not soft but they're relatively receptive. They're quick but they're not terrifying. I don't think it's changed too much from the practice round. I think the difference -- this golf course is very straightforward. It's right in front of you. There's one blind tee shot. You can see where you want to go. The setup right now, they've pulled the reins back. They could make this golf course really difficult. They've let us play aggressively today. Over the weekend as the greens get a little quicker it'll be a different story.
Q. That's probably their intention, isn't it?
JIM FURYK: I don't know. I'm grateful to have played today.
Q. Tell us about your play this year.
JIM FURYK: It's been consistent. I've had a solid year. Although everyone mentions a lot of top ten finishes, sometimes finishing tenth is a good solid week, but what we're looking for is trying to win golf tournaments, trying to get ourselves in position, and quite a few times this year I've been within the last of the playoff -- I've been within a few shots of the lead during the tournament where down the stretch I had to make a couple birdies to win the tournaments. That's what we're looking for.
Q. Are you surprised there weren't more low scores this morning when there was no wind at all?
JIM FURYK: No. You look at the score board, and the two guys posted four under early on, and when I was eating breakfast this morning and getting ready it seemed like guys were making birdies and there was a whole bunch of guys under par. That's not really what you see at the U.S. Open. No, I'm not really that surprised. I think that you could go out and fire a pretty good score today if you played solidly, but it's not -- if you miss the fairways and you don't keep the ball in play it's it's easy to start making a bunch of bogeys, and that's what happened on my first side, on the back.
Q. Do you feel like this course suits your game?
JIM FURYK: I like the golf course. I like the fact that a lot of times we go to the U.S. Open, and I was telling someone over here we play on some real old golf courses, and I like the older style golf courses, but a lot of times they're very quirky, they have some blind shots, some sharp doglegs, and it's hard to get -- we're used to playing courses year in and year out and you get to know courses well and know the conditions and after about two or three practice rounds you're still undecided, where this golf course is very straightforward. It's right in front of you. There's one blind tee shot on 12. It gives you some options off the tee.
There's three shorter par 4s where you can -- you can lay it back with an iron or with a short fairway wood and maybe hit an 8-iron to the green, or you can actually try to drive it up into the neck and get yourself a wedge into the green. It gives you some options but it's right there in front of you and you can read your yardage book and figure out how to play it.
Q. Talk about your strengths 10 through 16. You were sticking everything three, four feet away. Were you feeling it a little more?
JIM FURYK: It happened to be that way on my second side. 1, I hit a good pitch to a couple of feet.
2, I made about a 12-footer. Geez, I can't even remember.
3, I made a really good putt, 15 footer downhill.
Good 2-putt at 4, great 15- to 20-footer on 5 that was braking about six feet.
Knocked it on in two on 6, made a great eagle putt.
The difference was I put the ball in the fairway and gave myself a chance to play. I allowed myself to get some rhythm out there to start hitting solid shots instead of beating out of the bunker right or in the rough and trying to get the ball up-and-down and getting calmed down out there. I just got on a good run and hit some solid shots, and then it helped I knocked in a few tough putts, too.
Q. You've got to be pleased with posting such a good number in the afternoon. Talk about going out now tomorrow in the morning.
JIM FURYK: We're relatively fortunate. When I warmed up this morning it seemed like it was breezy, maybe not quite as breezy as now, but it seemed like the conditions weren't that much different. I think we were pretty fortunate. It was a nice day. There was a slight breeze. It was very similar to what it was the last couple of days so we got to practice in pretty similar conditions.
You never know, tomorrow could be awful in the morning, great in the afternoon. I'll just wait to see what happens, but I'm looking forward to getting up early and coming out.
Q. Do you think this back nine might be able to springboard you into your first major?
JIM FURYK: I don't know, it definitely helps. The key holes were probably 17 and 18 where I was one over par and made a great up-and-down on 17 to save par, hit it in the right fairway bunker on 18 and hit the lip on the way out and had to hack it up onto the green and made a great putt for bogey. Those two holes kept me in the game and not put me too far behind and allowed me to come back and play a good solid side to get myself back in the tournament.
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