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August 24, 2001

Jim Furyk


TODD BUDNICK: Looks like you started off with birdies on 2 and 3 today.

JIM FURYK: Yeah, 2 was an interesting hole. I drove it down the right side just into the short cut on the right. Caught a good lie. It was kind of a sidehill lie and so I had to hit a big draw with a 4-wood and it hung out to the right and hit one of those overhanging trees short right of the green, kind of dropped down in the fairway about 40 yards from the pin and I knocked it up there about three or four feet and knocked that in for a birdie. That was a good break. No. 3, I hit a driver and 9-iron to about three or four feet again and knocked that in for birdie. 4 was my only bogey. I hung a driver out to the right just a little bit into the fairway bunker and had a pretty high lip in front of me and a little bit of a marginal lie and just tried to hit a 9-iron out, which I got a little heavy and hit out to the right and left it in the rough. Knocked a sand wedge on the green about 20 feet 2-putted for bogey there. The next birdie was on No. 10. I hit a driver and a pitching wedge to about 10 feet. 14, driver and a pitching wedge to about a foot on 14, which was nice. I can handle most of those. 16, I hit a driver and a 4-wood and then I hit a little pitching wedge to about eight feet and knocked that in.

TODD BUDNICK: Well, you have the lead heading into the weekend. Give us a comment on today and what you are looking forward to.

JIM FURYK: I'm happy with how things went. It was -- the first nine holes for me, I got off to a good start birdieing 2 and 3, and gave one back and a string of pars and ended up sprinkling a few birdies in on the back side, 10, 14 and 16. I turned it into a real solid day. The key is, I just -- I've been playing pretty well. Making some birdies. I've limited some mistakes, where I've hit a couple errant shots, I've gotten the ball up-and-down. Today I just kind of strung out a lot of pars there for a while and was able to make some birdies on the back side.

Q. Phil said that this is the kind of course that you are not going to get a stretch of holes where the leaders can run through with a bunch of birdies and run away. Do you look at it this way?

JIM FURYK: It's tough. It's a tough golf course and there's not a lot of holes in a row where you are going to get some long irons, you're going to get some long shots where it's tough to string a bunch of birdies in a row together. There's only maybe 10 and 11, are two holes where you're going to get maybe a short iron in your hand back-to-back, but you play 12, 13, good, hard holes and 14 was playing a little shorter today and then 15 is a 3-iron or 4-wood for me every day, so you are never really going through a string of short holes where you feel like you can make up some ground or maybe a bunch of birdies in a row. The course just keeps coming at you. I think it's a tough golf course. It has got some length to it. It is demanding and the greens have a lot of slope on them, which I think is a little underrated at times. They are difficult putting. You really have to get the ball on the correct side of the hole if you want to be aggressive with the putter. If you're not, it seems like you are lagging putts down there and the greens, they are fast and the ball can get away from you from above the pin.

Q. When you get to this point of a tournament, you mentioned yesterday it was still early and now today it's not so early again and you are on top. How does your mindset change heading into Saturday and Sunday in terms of aggressiveness?

JIM FURYK: Well, it really doesn't. Two shots is -- is nothing. Two shots can change on one hole. So my mindset, really, I still think we are very early in the golf tournament; halfway. I'm going to go and try to attack the golf course and play it the same way I have the first two days. I want to play aggressive, but I want to play intelligently and want to pick and choose some spots, and I'm not going to -- I mean, at this point you just -- you have to forget about what place you're in and go out and play the golf course and try to play another good round. Try to put together another good round like I did on Thursday and Friday and put myself in position for Sunday. If you've got a few holes left and a big lead, then I think you can start thinking about getting the ball in the middle of the fairway, middle of the green, 2-putt and get out there and try not to shoot yourself in the foot. At this point, it's Saturday. It does not matter if you are in first, fourth, fifth, as long as you have yourself in position and that's what I'm looking at right now. I'd rather be out ahead, but it really -- it doesn't mean anything to me as far as how I am going to play tomorrow. I am just going to try to play the same game and be aggressive and play a good round.

Q. If you look at the past champions on this course, it seems to favor a bomber, which you said the other day you are not the longest guy out here. Any thoughts on that or are you more the type that if you are playing well, you can win anywhere?

JIM FURYK: I think that a lot of players, if they are playing well, they feel like they can -- they can do well at any golf course, whether it is long or shot. Last week was a long golf course. Felt like I played pretty well. I like the golf course here. I've had a couple good finishes the last two years, and I liked it. It's a traditional golf course. You know it's straightforward, it's right there ahead of you; you can see all the trouble. There's nothing hidden. There's not blind shots. The greens, there's not little fingers on the greens. The greens are round in shape and slope back to front -- and keep the ball below the pin and it gives you some options. You can hit some different shots off the tees sometimes. I'm comfortable on the golf course. I like it. But like you said, there's days where the wind is blowing and it's playing really long. There could be days where I'm hitting a lot of 3-irons and 4-irons into greens and that can make it tough. I just have to find a way to hit some good 3- and 4-irons.

Q. Do you have more family friends with you this week than otherwise, being that it's three hours from Pittsburgh?

JIM FURYK: I'm going to have some relatives coming over Sunday. They just let us know today that they were coming over on Sunday, an aunt and uncle, some cousins. I think five of them are coming. My wife is from Columbos, so her parents are up here, and she has an aunt and an uncle here today, and I have -- I think my mom's cousin or aunt -- I'm having a hard time with the family tree. I should have known that after my wedding last November. I kind of learned the tree pretty well, but it's escaping me now. There's a little family in the area but it's not been like a terrible thing for getting tickets or anything like that. It's been nice to see some familiar faces.

Q. Tiger looked like he was going to get on a tear. Do you do much scoreboard watching while you are out there?

JIM FURYK: I do look at the board. Just more out of curiosity sake. Really, I like to see how everyone is doing, see if there's any good scores. Like today, I saw that Stuart played very well at 64. But overall, the impression I got by looking at the board was the scores were not quite as low today as they were yesterday. I think the pin placements are a little more difficult, a little harder to get to and that probably changed it a little bit. I probably do. I like to look. I don't think it affects -- I don't play any more aggressively and it didn't really change the way I attack the golf course. More I just like to see how everyone is doing and maybe get a feel for where I stand in the pack a little bit.

Q. Based on how you've played the last couple of starts and this one, you are kind of like in maybe your best stretch of the year. Is there any part or part of your game that picked up recently?

JIM FURYK: I said yesterday, too, I was really happy with my game early in the year. I took a long time off in the winter. There was some doubts about my health and I went out and played great the first few months of the year and through the Masters and I was happy with that. I kind of lulled and like I said, there wasn't -- it wasn't one thing I could pinpoint. A couple weeks, it might have been my putting. A couple weeks, I didn't think my iron game was that sharp. There's nothing I thought was really bad. I was shooting a lot of 71s. It's not terrible, but it's not going to get you in the lead of a golf tournament, either. Right now I think everything is a little stronger. My wedge game is -- my short game, I saved a few shots where I let go throughout the summer. I've made a couple more putts here and there, and I'm hitting the ball pretty solid, so I think overall, just the level of my game has gotten a little better. I think Flint got me on the right track and I really worked on my wedge game going in there. You are going to get a lot of short shots at Flint. It is not an overpowering golf course. You have to keep the ball in play off the tee and you are going to have wedges in your hand and give yourself a lot of opportunities. So I worked on my game at home for the week leading up to that event, practicing from 100 yards and in. So that really showed there and I just -- worked on my putting. I wasn't really putting all that well until about Wednesday at Flint and something clicked and I started making some putts, so hopefully that will keep up.

End of FastScripts....

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