home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 24, 2002

Jim Furyk


GORDON SIMPSON: Jim, welcome to the De Vere Belfry for the Ryder Cup. As we keep saying, it's been a year in waiting. How do you feel about getting to practice today and getting really involved in things.

JIM FURYK: It's exciting. I've waited for this week for quite a while. And just from the PGA, when the talk gets big and builds it up, that last six weeks, seems like this week will never come. I'm excited about starting the practice rounds. And it's still a long way off until Friday. But it's an exciting week. I'm looking forward to it.

GORDON SIMPSON: What's your assessment of the golf course.

JIM FURYK: Much different than I expected. I've never been here before. It was described to me as a very straight-forward golf course. And I expected to step up on some tees and know exactly where I wanted to put the ball, and I found my group today reaching most of the tee boxes and looking around and going, "oh, where do I hit it? What club do I want to hit?" I think it leaves a lot of options off the tees, and the first time you play, it's tough to find a distinct point to aim at, know exactly where you want to hit the ball off the tee. I think it will be good to get two or three rounds in and get comfortable with that and know exactly what we want to do and in different conditions.

Q. I've been asking most players today about getting nervous in the Ryder Cup and the effect on your nerves. Do you notice this or has that happened to you, first off. And if so, do you notice that this creates more nervousness in you?

JIM FURYK: Well, I don't know if it's more nervousness than -- it's maybe just a different feeling. If you're coming down the stretch in a big tournament or major championship with the opportunity to win, you're going to always be nervous. For me this week it's definitely I'm more excitable. I remember my first tee shot at Valderrama, I got up, I was playing with Tom Lehman, who at the time was probably about 10 yards longer than me off the tee, easily. And we got up and hit 3-woods off the hole, and I knocked it 20 yards by him. And I don't know, I wish I knew where it came from.

I'm not a real excitable person. You don't see me getting too upset or too happy usually on the golf course. And this week, I'm excited about being here, I'm excited about playing this event. So some of that may be translated from nervousness, but a lot of it, instead of stepping up on the first tee at Valderrama, being nervous, terrified, I was nervous, excited. I was happy and ready to go. I think sometimes that can translate into a positive, that you're just so anxious, and so happy about being there.

Q. It's been three years since Brookline, but is there anything that you can carry over from that event, what happened Sunday, the way you guys played so well. Is there any carryover into this event this year?

JIM FURYK: Well, I'll never forget what happened that day, but I think we can draw some positives from that. But you also -- we also are at a new golf course with a new team. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We want to go out and focus and get ready to play really well this week. So I'd much rather come over here with the Cup than empty handed, knowing you have to defend it. But I'm not sure -- I'm sure the European team doesn't care too much about it anymore, and they're ready to move on and trying to take the cup from us.

Q. Were you paired with Hal Sutton today?

JIM FURYK: We were in the same group, yeah. I played with Hal and Scott Verplank and Scott Hoch.

Q. Obviously Hal is not at his game, all year hasn't been his best. But do you think that matters this week? Do you think he's ready to play?

JIM FURYK: Hal would be best served at telling you whether he was ready to play. I think he's perineally one of our best ball strikers. He hits some of the best iron shots I've ever seen. And I've paired with him before at the Presidents Cup. It's great.

With a driver in your hand you're nervous, because you know if you put it in play, he can hit a laser in there with an iron, where you can tap it in for a birdie. He's a great leader on the golf course and off. He's one of our -- I don't know if I want to use the word "elder statesman," but he's one of our proven veterans out here, and I think his word is respected. So it's always nice -- you can turn around, I know there's probably some guys here from both sides that aren't playing as well as they'd like. But it takes a good shot here, a good day there and pretty soon you start building some momentum, you can turn it around pretty quick. Especially in an event like this, where you want to play well.

Q. In the few holes he played, it looked like he was hitting the ball well?

JIM FURYK: Yeah, it was tough today, too, in a sense, because like I said, there was a lot of holes where -- I can't remember the number -- on the back 9, I'm going to say it was about 15, three of us hit shots where we thought they would probably be in the fairway and they weren't. We thought Scott Hoch was in the center of the fairway, and he was on the right side. We picked a bad line. But it's something we'll learn from, we'll hit it in a better spot tomorrow. And a lot of that, a lot of times on the course today guys hit shots that looked bad I'm sure from both sides, they weren't quite aiming in the right spot, and I think you'll see that improving as the week goes on.

Q. Putting obviously is a very important aspect in this game, but I'm wondering if it's magnified in match play, if putting is really more crucial?

JIM FURYK: Well, it always seems like the team that losses talks about, well, the other just made more putts than us. And seems to be the statement. But it can definitely -- putting definitely rights a lot of since, you can -- a guy can knock a 5-iron there six feet, and make a bomb from the other side of the green, and that 6-footer looks longer than it did before. So it is quite important and I think can at times not really change the strategy, but it can shift the momentum very quickly in match play, and it does become very important.

Q. With regard to passion about winning the Cup, it seems -- the perception is that the European side is more passionate about winning it, is that a misperception, do you believe, and how much does --?

JIM FURYK: That was pretty good, because I was expecting this question first. We must be getting better as a team, because now it's the 10th question. A couple of years ago I had to stand up in the pressroom at the Presidents Cup and basically get angry, so they'd quit drilling us, it was about the third or fourth question in a row about how we're not a team, and don't get along, and I think we're all -- I can speak for myself, I can speak for the team, we're all very passionate about the sport we play, the game we play, and about representing our country this week.

In my mind there's no way that they're more passionate about this event than we are, and I'm not saying that we're more passionate than them, but we have 12 good players on each side that are playing for a lot of pride this week. And we've been criticized a lot in the past as a team, and I'm not quite sure what that stems from, other than we lost a few times. I didn't hear about how poor of a team we were after Brookline, and how we played in Sunday. I heard about how we gelled on Sunday, whatever that means. I think that both teams -- both teams -- I have a lot of friends on the European team, also. But once the matches start, there are some heated rivalries, there are some things that are happened in the past that have raised eyebrows, but I think before, after and during the matches we're friends and each team has a lot of passion and pride resting on these matches, they want to go out and win.

Q. As a follow-up on that, Mark Calcavecchia said that Curtis brought that up last night as to maybe the European side comes in so passionate and fired up that they have gotten ahead often. I think he threw out a stat?

JIM FURYK: The last two Ryder Cups we've definitely gotten behind severely on Friday and Saturday and haven't done our job, haven't played that well. And really put ourselves behind the 8 ball going into Sunday. But he spoke about getting out there and getting a fast start and getting ready and being ready to play; doing our homework and getting out there on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and making sure Friday morning we're ready to play. Some guys might want to play 9 holes or 18 every day and hit some practice balls.

I think that every year the European team gets criticized about how they don't look as good on paper. That's what we read and that's what they read, and I think for that reason, they come in here with a chip on their shoulder and have more passion in your eyes. But that's a criticism that we as Americans would never say personally, but that's what we read in the European press, that's what we read in the American press. And I don't think that's rightfully so. I think it's the team that goes out -- I don't know if they necessarily want it more, because I think both sides want to win, but the team that executes and makes the shots and makes the putts, that's the team that will win this week.

Q. After everyone spends so much of the year shooting at Tiger, trying to knock him off the top of the mountain; what's it like having him as just one of the guys?

JIM FURYK: I think we're always -- Tiger doesn't have much of an air about him. I don't think he treats people any differently this week than he would all year. He might be around a lot more. He leads a very private life, but rightfully so. He can't go out to dinner. So you can't say, "Let's go out to Friday's and have dinner"; it's not possible. He can't go. Most of us can. And for that reason, I wouldn't trade that for anything. A few people might come up to dinner and say "hello, good luck this week," but I can take my family to dinner and enjoy it where he couldn't. So I think he is one of the guys. We get along well. It's nice that -- my memory of both Ryder Cups, I definitely remember losing at Valderrama. I remember winning at Brookline. But my memories stem at how close I became and how well the families, our wives, girlfriends, the players -- how much fun we had, how much we did together, how much we pulled and cheered for each other. I got to know -- that Valderrama team was pretty young on Tour. There were some wives that I'd never met before, so by the end of the week you feel like you're all part of the same family. And those memories are what -- that's special about this tournament that we don't have anywhere else. And that's -- that is part of what I remember most, the special relations with people you make. At the Ryder Cup you get to test your game under the ultimate pressure, under the ultimate microscope, and from a professional standpoint it's the pinnacle, but from a personal standpoint, getting to come in here and spend time with those 11 other players and your captain and the assistant, that's rewarding for me.

Q. Does this course remind you of any other particular course, and do you classify courses like stylistically, and if so, how would you classify, what category this course falls in?

JIM FURYK: This might be a boring answer. This golf course doesn't remind me of any other that I've ever played. That doesn't make it bad or good. It has a combination of a few different things. Off the tee it's much different than expected. Like I said, it's going to take these two days to get a feel for exactly where you want to hit the ball off the tee. A lot of the fairways are very tight, very narrow, pinched off at 260 yards. You want to hit 240 -, 250-yard tee shots. It doesn't remind me of a lot of golf courses, nor does it remind me that it favors any style of play. But that's about the best answer I think I can answer that.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297