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March 9, 2003

Jim Furyk


JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Jim Furyk to the interview room. Jim, thanks for coming by and spending a few minutes with us. I will ask to you comment on the playoff and then your thoughts on coming back in the morning and having the putt left.

JIM FURYK: Well, I'm a little disappointed, I kept hitting it down in the middle in the playoff and just couldn't end it. It was a long day playing almost 20 holes being in contention most of the day or having the lead or close to the lead. I was happy with the way I played. I got some good shots down the stretch under pressure. I wasn't real happy with the way I played the 18th hole. I hit a beautiful drive in regulation and got a little excited, got a little steepin over the top on a wedge and knocked it over the green. Hit a great pitch and knocked in a testy little three-footer to make par. It looks like Scott did the same exact thing. He had a tougher pitch than I did. I got to test it in the playoff. In the playoff I just hit a poor drive. I hit it left, I hit it hard obviously to carry the water and I got a good break that I could hit it at the pin, but in order to get it back there on the green I would have had to hit an incredible shot. The fact I had to knock it over one of those palm trees and I just kind of trapped it there in the sand and got a little aggressive and killed it. But I was trying to make sure I got it up over the tree and the water. I might have had extra club in my hand and flushed it. I put it in a spot where I could get the ball up and down and made a great 4 and off we go.

The finish, everyone is asking about. I feel like I have to go through the same interview 20 times with local and national television about finishing and calling it off for darkness. The option, as you know already from Scott, was given to us and, by the rules official. It was Scott's putt first. He decided he couldn't read his putt. They asked me if that was okay. I agreed it was difficult to read the putt out there. I got no problems with the situation. It is awkward. I feel badly that -- the fans were obviously a little upset about it. There is nothing -- I understand their side of it too. They have to go to the work. There won't be many seeing the finish. They watched a day of golf and wanted some finality to the day. Just as Scott and I did. Winning a golf tournament is important and not being able to read a putt and leaving it up to the end of the day I think the right decision was, made.

JOHN BUSH: Questions.

Q. You were given the option to putt if you wanted to?

JIM FURYK: Well, I'm not stupid. If he has to putt first, I wanted to see what he does. You don't know, there is spike marks, there is 89 guys played today. Tomorrow greens will be absolutely perfect. The sun is going to be out. I'm going to get a better read. The green will be smooth there. The problem is -- that's the good news. The bad news is I was putting pretty good today, felt good with the putter. Tomorrow it will be the first shot I hit. It will be the first shot Scott hits. It's the same for both of us. I don't know actually if I could hit or not. That's a good question. I don't think anyone in that situation would, so I never real inquired.

Q. If he had putted, would you have putted?


Q. That's a lot of pressure. You know how the fans are going to react. You know everybody wants to see it finish. How many guys do you think could have done what Scott did and say screw it, I'm not putting with as much abuse as he takes already?

JIM FURYK: Well, Scott thrives on that. We all know that I think Scott, like I said yesterday in here, his charm, in a strange way is that he tells the truth, and for good or for bad, he tells the truth and he tells it like it is. You have to appreciate that fact. You would like to stick a sock in his mouth once in a while so he didn't say it. He does tell the truth. He is a friend. A younger player, more inexperienced player might not have been able to read the putt and might have went ahead and hit it, just in the situation wanting to finish it. Scott has been around for a long time. He has won a lot of golf tournaments. If he felt that he couldn't read the putt, he couldn't read the putt, I have no problem with it. I was looking at mine and I was hitting my wedge shot thinking it's dark out here. I was looking at thae lie and bending down and looking to see how it was sitting, I was thinking to myself it's getting dark, there is no way we are going to one more hole after this. By the time I got up there he is looking around, the option was given, he said he couldn't putt it and it was difficult to read the putt, I agree with that.

Q. If you would have been out, would you have called it, do you think?

JIM FURYK: I think either we both should hit the putt or both should not have hit the putt. Had it been my play first, I would have discussed it with the other player and see what he thought. That wasn't the case. So it's kind of tough to say. Had he hit his putt and wanted to go, I probably would have. I felt like, you know, if he would have hit his putt, I would have just for the sake that --

Q. Did he discuss it with you? You said you would have discussed it in a reverse situation.

JIM FURYK: You are making way too much out of it. I'm going to be direct and not rude. I have taken it once today from TV and they changed what I said, so like I said, Scott is a very close friend of mine. I agree with the situation. Please don't turn this around and make me sound like I have any animosity toward it. I don't want to be rude. I just want to be direct about that. He basically told the rules official that he couldn't read his putt. Both Scott and the rules official looked at me and asked if I was okay with that. I said yes, I have no problem with it.

Q. (Inaudible)

JIM FURYK: I felt it was twisted. And since I don't know you personally, I'm just nervous about it. NBC already switched one around on me, I had to be be direct with them.

Q. You don't think that was putting a lot of pressure on you to make a decision, when the rules official and executive said to you what do you think?

JIM FURYK: It's not putting pressure. It was clear cut, very simple -- I think the very difficult part of the situation was the fans. They were upset. They were chanting, they wanted us to play. And I definitely understand their side of it. It's awkward in golf that you hear that much noise and that much anomisity towards what had happened. It wasn't like a bad call in a football game that ruined a national championship game. It's kind of ironic in this part of the country. Even though I was rooting for the Buckeyes.

Q. What is your approach going to be tomorrow? Are you going to hit six-foot putts?

JIM FURYK: I'm going to try to approach it the same way. I have an 8 o'clock tee time tomorrow. I start on a putt. I got to loosen up, warm up. I didn't like the two drives I hit on 18 and one to the left. I am going to try to get in a rhythm and try to make some good golf swings and go over to the green and hit some putts. I have an idea of what my putt is doing. Not exact. I have an idea. I'm going to try to hit some putts on those lines. I'm going to emulate that putt a little bit from length and break and gets ready to go like I would any other day.

Q. Did you say what club you hit from behind the palm tree?

JIM FURYK: A 9-iron.

Q. How good is a par from there?

JIM FURYK: From there, a par is pretty good, from over the green, it's real good.

Q. Were you aiming at the bleachers?

JIM FURYK: No, I wasn't trying to hit it in the bleachers. I could have pulled that shot off and hit on it the back center of the green. I would have hit a very, very good golf shot, I didn't. I hit an average golf shot from there.

Q. How far was that?

JIM FURYK: 144 to the pin.

Q. Have you been in situations in the past where you have played, when you really shouldn't have played?

JIM FURYK: Sure, I did once in my career. It was at Kapalua when it was a November event. The rules officials called it for darkness, said we have the option to finish the hole if we would like. I'm playing the 17th hole into the wind and for some reason decided to hit my second shot. I hit it in the junk and realized it was to dark, it was a stupid play. I came out the next morning, knocked an iron on the green and made the putt for 5. Why I teed off the 17th hole I have no idea. I should have gone home. The next day the wind was blowing the other way. I could have hit a driver, 5 on the green. It was a stupid mistake. We were trying to rush and get in. We wanted to sleep in. It was a poor decision. I would not have made that decision with a lead in the golf tournament.

Q. This comes on the heels of two situations like this last year, one in Europe and one in Australia, shake hands and share the title?

JIM FURYK: It probably would have been more unruly than let them putt. I'm not sure. I think that those players -- I know it was Colin and Bernard. I have admiration for both of those players. I don't really understand the decision. I want to win a golf tournament and I know Scott does too. Whether it happens today or tomorrow or Tuesday, you know, I would like to finish the golf tournament. You are just driving up to Honda, what's the difference?

Q. How good were the chips on 18?

JIM FURYK: The first one was easier. I had more green to work with and not a severe SLOPE. I drew a terrible lie. The second one I dropped it into an absolute perfect lie and it was a more difficult golf shot. I had to land it short of the green to get it by the pin. The other one I flew it by the green and stopped it by the pin. So the second one the chip that Scott had in regulation was more difficult than the one I did.

Q. Are you concerned as the fan base gross more with golf even though you said you understand what the fans -- their annoyance about being able to see this happen, are you concerned about what can happen as we go forward?

JIM FURYK: I guess you can't -- you can't have it both ways. You can't ask for a few people to come to the game of golf. You can't ask for 50, 60, 70, 80 thousand fans to come to a golf tournament, the purse is to go up, sponsors asked for more money and then ask the fans to be that quiet. You can't ask for everyone to come out and generate the revenue and expect them not to make some noise and cheer. I don't think what they said was -- or did was a terrible thing. They are just expressing some emotion. I didn't hear anyone swearing or cussing or any extremely bad remarks pointed toward Scott or I. I have no problem with the expression of emotion out there. Golf is a growing game. We are playing for extremely big purchases. We of drawn a lot. Tiger is one of the biggest reasons. We have drawn younger people to the game, they are used to watching football, basketball, baseball making noises, because they come watch us. We make a better living. You can't ask them to come out and watch and be quiet. The game is learned and the etiqutte is learned but people want to come out and make noise and cheer when you make a birdie, there is nothing wrong with that.

Q. Are nerves as much of a factor in those little delicate shots as they are the approach shot at 18?

JIM FURYK: I think in all aspects of the game. In all aspects of the game are affected. In the situation like I was in. You got to hit the shot or you are not going to win the golf tournament. It's kind of a do or die, sometimes that makes it easier. You can go for broke. If you hit a bad shot you hit a bad shot. It's not like if I dump it and leave it shorted and make 6 it it's going to leave me another shot. It's either 4 or nothing. I have to hope for Scott to miss his shot.

Q. The 2 chips that you and Scott had to make, the 2 up and downs on 18 in regulation you had to do on a playoff hole, Scott driving into the foot print on one (Inaudible) -- have you ever had a weirder 45 minutes or an hour on the golf course?

JIM FURYK: There was a lot going on. I didn't realize that he drove it into a footprint. Probably someans walking out there or something that stepped in there. Or possibly a pro hat didn't rake the bunker. Probably some people walking through there.

Q. Slugger said the bunkers had been raked before you guys got out there, and right before you got to the tee someone walked through it, a little kid?

JIM FURYK: It's a bad break, he had a good shot out of there, and a good wedge.

Q. Another strange set of circumstances?

JIM FURYK: It's strange. The whole day, the whole finish, the first 18 holes were fine, from there on out it was a strange day.

Q. You said that you were hoping to speak to David Duval. Did you connect yet?

JIM FURYK: I phoned him last night. He is seeing a doctor here in town. I gave him the name of a doctor that I saw back in Jacksonville and just wanted to tell him that I was concerned and hoped he felt better and asked him some questions to see how he was doing. He thanked me for the call and thought that he was getting some good care here and would keep it in mind. I'm hoping that he feels a lot better. It's strange, we live in the same home town, I see him more on the road than I do at home. He is a friend. I want to see him healthy.

Q. Scott said on the third shot second playoff hole he was having difficulty but he did it anyway. If he would have said I can't see at that point would you have been comfortable with that?

JIM FURYK: Sure. I told you over my wedge shot without even hearing I didn't know he said that. Without hearing, I was thinking over my wedge, I gripped the club and looked down at the ball and looking at the lie I said geez, it's getting dark out here quick, this hole will be it for sure. Then it started closing in on us.

JOHN BUSH: Thanks for coming by. Good luck in the morning.

End of FastScripts....

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