September 19, 2001
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We would like to thank Jim Furyk for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center. You had a chance to play today in the Pro-Am and see the course, and obviously it's great to be playing back in your home state of Pennsylvania. Maybe a couple comments on both of those things and we'll go into some questions.
JIM FURYK: I think it's a beautiful golf course. I had only been here once before in '96 to play the Family House and I remember some of the holes. I don't think there's been many changes since then that I remember a lot of. There's probably some greens that have changed and the 11th hole has been changed a little bit. Other than that, not a lot of big changes I notice. Although some of the greens may have changed. I just don't remember. I think it's a very difficult course. I think the par 3s are extremely demanding. I think it's going to be a big difference on the course this week. They are very long. Depends on the setup, and if they want to, they can really make them very long where I have to hit wood into a couple of them and long irons into the other two. So, they are obviously very penal, and three of them have fairly small greens. So I think that's one of the keys to the golf course this week. But other than that, it's going to depend on the setup. If they want to get the greens real firm and fast, the scores are not going to be very good this week.
Q. Which of the par 3s will you hit woods on?
JIM FURYK: No. 8 I can. Depending on the setup. Today it played 234 and the wind was in the center of the green so that's a 5-wood for me. No. 17, it was in the 220-some range, a little into the breeze, so I had to hit a 5-wood there, also. I hit 3-iron into the other two. I hit 4-iron into the one on the back, but it wasn't quite enough club and I hit 3-iron into -- I guess it was about No. 5, I would guess. So there were playing very long and again, they all have fine tiny greens. The only green that has any size to it is No. 8 where it's a very deep green, but none of them are very big.
Q. How far away did you grow up from here?
JIM FURYK: I consider Lancaster, Pennsylvania home, which is probably a good, solid -- it's probably a little under four hours, but approaching that. My dad was a pro down the road in Uniontown for a couple years, probably from the age of -- about 1973 to 1978, and that was about ages 3 to 8 for me. I remember some of Uniontown but not a whole lot.
Q. Do you still have relatives in the area?
JIM FURYK: I do. I do. My parents grew up in the Kensington area, so my grandparents live there. I have aunts and uncles. I have an aunt that lives in Chestwick and quite a bit more family, but I spent a lot of Christmases in Pittsburgh when I was a kid, pretty much every Christmas in Pittsburgh.
Q. Do you have any family members that play golf --(inaudible)?
JIM FURYK: They go to -- it's South Park, which is interesting, and I do. I have two cousins one is 17 and one is 15 and they play for the South Park team.
Q. What's South Park?
JIM FURYK: It's from the "adult cartoon," I guess you want to call it.
Q. What did you think of the flags today?
JIM FURYK: Well, I was so tired this morning, it took me to the fourth hole to figure it out. I heard of some players say it took them to about 8, this morning. I thought it was great. Actually, I was really happy to see that. I thought it was a great idea. Something that I had not thought of and I think it's a great tribute and was happy to see it.
Q. Can you talk about the Ryder Cup decision a couple days later, how you feel about it? Is this the right thing to do?
JIM FURYK: Oh, I think it's absolutely the right thing to do. I think no matter -- beforehand, I kind of had it in my heart that no matter what happened, there was going to be a criticism, critics either way thinking it would be positive to go over or a poor idea, poor decision to go over. I think a lot of people supported the decision, not only the players, but everyone involved realized that it was a very good decision. And I talked to Curtis a lot, as everyone knows, he spoke to the players on pretty much a daily basis to get our ideas. And I didn't really know what the other players were saying because we were never all in a room together, which we wanted to do at St. Louis, but the tournament got cancelled before we could have that meeting. So I never really knew what the other players were saying, and I kind of never really gave Curtis much to work with. I never said yes or no and kind of -- he said he would put one down for me for sitting on the fence and that's kind of where I stood. I would have supported the decision either way. I think everyone had a little -- there was a little nervousness about going over, and I think for -- I'm happy with the decision and I support it.
Q. What's the mood now with the players the last two days? Is the mood a sense to get on with?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I still think there's -- even this long after it's happened, I still think there's a dense sense of disbelief and a lot of people telling stories. There's some extremely chilling stories out there. It seems like everyone has got some sort of tie. You have a friend that knew someone that was affected or it was just -- you know, there's a sense of still, I think, disbelief. It's hard to imagine. Yeah, I think ultimately, I think what's going to happen tomorrow at noon, we're going to stop play to have kind of a -- is it going to be a few minutes?
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Like a five-minute program, you'll hear the audio all through the golf course and then we blow the horn again.
JIM FURYK: I think it's nice to probably get on. That's what President Bush talked about, mentioning that we have to get on. But also, I think it's due respect to remember what happened and also to remember the tragedy of the other people so I'm glad that we are also doing that tomorrow.
Q. Do you think it was the smart thing to do, to push the Ryder Cup back to 2002 and leave it in even-numbered years rather than trying to cram everything in and keep it on schedule?
JIM FURYK: Yeah, I guess I'm fine with it. I didn't know what was going to -- I didn't know what was going to happen, but that question has been asked of me a lot, how the Presidents Cup was going to react or were the two going on in the same year or were they going to play the Ryder Cup in 2003. And I had no idea until, really, today, I started asking some questions in here and that is, to the best of my knowledge, what they are planning on doing. I think it is a good idea. I don't know if it's right to try to play the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup next year and then the Ryder Cup the next year. It kind of has a history of being in every other year, and although we missed one here, it was for a good reason, and we just kind of fall back in line. So I see that being -- I don't see it as a problem at all. I was kind of curious myself just like everyone else was about exactly what would happen to those events.
Q. We asked DiMarco how it was going to change some of the things he does. Do you anticipate any changes, start thinking about the private jets or do you do that anyway?
JIM FURYK: Well, I started flying privately about two months ago, but I know there's quite a few guys that drove here, even from Florida, from the southeastern part of the United States, some long drives. But I don't know how I would react. Right now, I guess I'm reacting -- I have that luxury and I have the ability to right now fly privately. So whenever I get the chance right now, that's the way I'm going to fly. I feel a little better about it. I guess ultimately you have to trust the people in command and in charge. When they say it's safe to go on the airplanes, you have to believe that and trust. It's a part of our career and a part of our lives that we have to be on a plane an enormous amount of time. I guess ultimately you have to trust in that fact, and it's probably very difficult and a lot of people can't do that. So it may affect some lives out here. It's one of those things that I can't really control too much. A little bit, I guess I can a little bit because I'm flying privately. But it's one of those things I can't control that much, and ultimately, I think that you have to -- you have to worry about it and drive yourself crazy or you have to let go and have some trust.
Q. What was your decision to go privately? Just get the right deal?
JIM FURYK: I've tossed it around for a little while. Three years ago I was looking at the options and I could not really justify the expense. I really didn't know -- until you fly, you don't really know exactly what you're gaining or how much help it is, but I couldn't justify the expense without really having a family, or right now it's just my wife and I traveling. So if I had children and they spent a lot of time at home, there would be no price tag that would want to keep me away from wanting to be able to get home on Sunday nights and leaving home on Tuesday mornings and getting to spend a few extra nights. There's no price tag on that. But I was kind of weighing my time and my wife's time. We definitely spend some extra hours at airports and such, but that's the way I felt more comfortable. And just recently, I've been feeling that maybe I was giving up a part. I spend too much time in airports, lost luggage; I had flights cancelled. I felt like make maybe it was hurting preparation and I wanted to try the other way and see what I thought. I'm a little bit on a trial and error basis right now and seeing how I feel.
Q. When did you decide to play here? What were the factors behind that? How did that work out?
JIM FURYK: What happened was about six months ago, I committed to this event. About a month before the PGA, I talked to Curtis on the phone and one of his major questions about me in the Ryder Cup, I was sitting at 11th on the points list was how healthy I was. He was considering me as a pick but wanted to know how my wrist was feeling and how healthy I was, and I told him that I felt pretty good; that I played too much -- that I felt I played a little too much in a row during the U.S. Open and played four events in a row -- tried to play four. I didn't get through them and hurt my wrist a little bit and just said I needed some time off. It felt great. But I promised him that -- first of all, I told him I didn't want to worry about being a pick. I wanted to earn my way onto the team. He said, "I realize that, but just in case it happens." I just let him know that I would do everything in my power to make sure I was healthy for the event and I would least him know otherwise, and at that point if I did make the team I would probably withdraw from Pennsylvania, just because I was going to play the World Golf Championships last week and I didn't want to make the Ryder Cup a third week in a row and having the possibility of playing 36 holes in a day. I just -- three weeks is my maximum and that's where I really start to feel it a little bit, so I didn't want to make that the third week, and I withdrew from the event for that reason. Then with not playing last week, I immediately turned around and committed, re-committed for the event. I feel like now it was a great preparation in case we did go play the Ryder Cup. It was great preparation. I didn't want to take a month off and go into that event, and it was good prep and I was also -- being from Pennsylvania, I obviously wanted to be here. It means a lot to me, and I hated to withdraw, but I also -- the Ryder Cup is an important -- is as an important event to me as any, so I wanted to make sure I was giving 100% going there.
Q. Are you going to Texas next week?
JIM FURYK: No, I'm not. I'm playing Anheuser-Busch in Vegas right after that.
Q. Are you going to go for that ceremony?
JIM FURYK: I probably will be there. To the best of my knowledge, I'm going to do my best to be there.
Q. Where exactly were you? Were you already in St. Louis when the attacks began? Were you already there?
JIM FURYK: I was in my hotel room. Probably slept until about nine that morning, and my wife made a phone call when we got up and right after we had gotten up and found out about the news we immediately turned the TV on. So spent quite a few hours in the room just watching everything.
Q. Did you drive home?
JIM FURYK: I drove home from St. Louis.
Q. How many hours?
JIM FURYK: It depends who is driving. My wife, she can get there a lot faster than me. Driving time, it was exactly 12 hours and 15 minutes. But that's not counting stops.
Q. So she did the driving.
JIM FURYK: I drove about eight hours of that, but she made up for more than her share in that 4:15. I fell asleep asking if they were through Macon yet and she said we were through Atlanta. I said, "okay."
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