What they said: Jim Furyk

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April 23, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: The Heritage transcript archive

MARK STEVENS: Welcome Jim Furyk. Jim, you're at minus 10, one off the lead going into the final round. Familiar spot for you here at the Heritage. Talk about your round today and then we'll take some questions.

JIM FURYK: Well, I'm pleased with my round. I got off to a touch of a rocky start there on No. 2, but I was able to knock in a 20-footer for par. And from there I really felt like I played very well today. I was told, I think by XM that I hit ten greens out of 18, which doesn't sound is very good. I struck the ball well and hit a bunch of fairways. When I missed greens there was a lot of them on the edge of the fringe. It was in spots where it was very likely to get the ball up and down. And I felt like I did a good job of putting the ball in places where I could play today.

Going to bed last night the weather forecast that I read was winds five to ten. And getting out here and seeing it being quite breezy and when I was warming up on the range it was quite breezy, I knew the greens were going to get baked out and the golf course was going to be a lot tougher. Getting it in under par today was the goal and putting myself in a good spot for tomorrow.

Q. When you realize conditions are going to be like that, is something that you say, here we go, this is my type of golf??

JIM FURYK: Well, I don't root for tough conditions or windy conditions by any means. But it definitely separates the guys that are playing well from the guys that aren't. And the guys that went out there and shot 4- or 5-under today really played a heck of a round. There wasn't a lot of birdies out there. There wasn't a lot of opportunities to get the ball that close. My hat is off to those that played a good round.

I was happy with being real patient and putting it in play. I tried to take advantage of the par-5s; I birdied two of them today. And pick and choose your spots. When I had the ability to go at pins and be aggressive I did, and tried to play a little more conservative when I knew that was the smart play.

Q. Obviously with your history here, you told us when you play well here, you really play well. Do you feel like doubly confident tomorrow??

JIM FURYK: No, I wouldn't say that. I think I'm there. I'm in position and when I'm playing well I feel like this golf course suits my game. I'm sure there's a lot of guys -- I look at the leaderboard and Luke Donald, Scott Verplank, those are guys who I think have very similar style games to me. And I'm sure they're confident, as well. But it's nice when I come here to have -- there's a few courses I have to play year in and year out that I'm not that fond of. When you step up to the first tee and you're not fond of the place, it's tough to -- basically in your mind you say, hey, I can play anywhere when I play well, but you still don't have that great feeling about it. But when I come here I know that if I'm playing well, it suits my style. I've been in contention a bunch before and that's the goal. You try to put yourself in contention and give yourself a chance to win on Sunday.

Q. You've been close before last year, but hadn't won it and then you closed it out last year. Is there one thing that you can point to that's the key to closing it out and winning here??

JIM FURYK: No, I'm not sure I played any better down the stretch last year than I did in the past. I had some guys beat me in the past. Got a couple of good breaks last year with Brian, comes back and birdies 18 in the playoff. Had to call a penalty on the playoff. So things just kind of fell into place, really.

But it's a hard golf course. You have to hit some very crisp shots down the stretch. 17th and 18th greens are very difficult to hit even with a relatively short iron in your hands. So I'm hoping to put myself in position early in the day where I can battle it out down the stretch and try to win the golf tournament.

Q. Winning back-to-back titles anywhere is always going to be tough. Now that you're in the final group on Sunday, is the hardest part of that out of the way or is the hardest still ahead tomorrow??

JIM FURYK: I think tomorrow is the most difficult part, but each day has its piece of the puzzle. Each round is only worth 25 percent of the event. I've got 75 percent of it out of the way, but the fourth round is the most mentally tough when you're in contention. There's more pressure on Sunday, because you're trying to win the golf tournament.

I still think the toughest part is tomorrow. There's a lot of guys -- I was out on about 15 or 16 I noticed there was a lot of guys piled up within about four shots of the lead or five shots of the lead. So a good round tomorrow by one of those like 20 people could separate themselves from the field.

Q. With many players bunched together, when you tee off tomorrow, will you be looking at the leaderboard a little more than you normally would or do you not look at it??

JIM FURYK: I didn't really see it today until about 8, when I looked up. I'm not sure how many of them were out there before 8, to be honest with you. Off the top of my head I don't know the answer to that, how many leaderboards are out there.

Q. Would you like to be aware??

JIM FURYK: I always like to be aware. I don't really think that it changes the style of my game that much. I know that, especially if it's windy again tomorrow, that you have to pick and choose your spots here. But I like to be aware of where I'm at. Earlier in the day I don't think it's that big of a deal, but by the time you get late on the front 9 and get an idea of where you stand and how things are going.

Q. All week when Luke's come in, we've obviously talked to him about being third in the world and being the chance to be No. 1. You had three wins in the past year, and to win tomorrow, if you win tomorrow, should we be talking about Jim Furyk in that conversation, as well??

JIM FURYK: I'll be as simple and blunt and as honest as I can be, I really don't care. I think I've been on record, the guy that looks over the World Golf rankings, I've been in the same room with him and he's been disgusted by me saying it.

I understand being ranked No. 1 and I've always said that would be cool. Even if it was for a week, to say at one time I was ranked No. 1 in the world. I had the No. 2 spot for 16 to 18 months and quite honestly I didn't really enjoy it that much because, you know, Tiger is not all that accessible or wasn't at the time, and guess who was next? And I didn't enjoy -- I'm not a guy that looks for attention or really enjoys it that much. I have a very great relationship with you all. I don't know if I go out of my way, but I definitely talk to you all and enjoy the banter back and forth and have fun with it. But I just never have gotten carried away with World Golf rankings, and probably for two reasons, I've been in a very fortunate spot that I haven't had to worry about my eligibility in the top 50. And the second part of that is when I was No. 2 I wasn't even close to being No. 1, because Tiger was so far ahead of everyone that it didn't matter. So it really has been a nonissue for me to this point.

I don't know where I stand in World Golf rankings, I never look. I know because you all tell me. From Luke's perspective I get it, because it would be cool to be ranked No. 1. And I understand why you all talk about it. But I think that's what they're for, they're more for the fans and the excitement and enjoyment. And I also think some of the foreign players, or even the foreign media, make a big deal out of it. I hear England is No. 1 or Scotland is No. 1, or South Africa is No. 1. And it doesn't matter where the ranking is. But it's a fun thing, but it's not that important to me. I know how I'm playing.

MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Jim. Good luck tomorrow.

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