BMW Championship interview: Jim Furyk

September 14, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: BMW transcripts archive

DOUG MILNE:  Jim Furyk, thanks for joining us again for a few minutes after a 2 under 69 today in round 3 of the BMW Championship.  With that, I'll just turn it over to you for some comments, please.
I guess I said yesterday leaving here that the goal was to go out and shoot a good number today, get myself in position to win this golf tournament.  It could have been better out there.  There was a putt here or there, a wedge shot here or there, didn't feel like I got a lot out of the front nine, but shot even par and then played pretty well on the back nine.  So obviously dropped that shot at 18, which I'm disappointed, it was probably one of the easier holes of the day scoring wise.  Giving up one there was disappointing.
    But I've got myself in good position, so rather than harp on the last hole, I'd probably tend to want to think about tomorrow and what I have to do to try to win a golf tournament.

Q.  What was the hardest part of following a 59?
It kind of felt like a victory lap.  People kept cheering for me all the way around.  It was a good day, a lot of positive fans, the occasional one that likes to give me a hard time, but 99.9 percent were very positive.  It was fun.
I think it's always difficult, even if you go out and fire a 62 or a 63, it's always difficult to kind of follow that up with a low number, and it probably took me a few holes to really get in the flow out there and feel good.  Made a couple mental errors I felt on the front nine with shots and hitting shots in the front places, short sided myself a couple times.
But felt like I played a very, very good nine holes of golf on the way in and was happy how I played on the back nine.

Q.  You play your way into this top 5 of the FedExCup which would guarantee you that trophy if you win next week.  Is that crossing your mind at all?
No.  You know, the goal really, obviously it would be nice to get in the top    is it top 5 or 6?  Top 5.  I can tell you how much I thought about it, I'm not sure what it is.  I knew it was around there.
No, I mean, it would be nice, obviously, but that's kind of putting the cart before the horse.  The goal really was I started the week at 15, so as I said yesterday, the big picture was anything positive moving forward this week, getting ahead of 15 gives myself that much better chance to win, and then I kind of forget about the big picture and really concentrate on this golf tournament.
Any time you show up you're trying to win a tournament and trying to figure out the best way to do so.
You know, I've got myself in contention right now.  I'm not really focused on the FedExCup or    even when I had a shot to win at East Lake and I was leading for most of the week, I wasn't thinking about the FedExCup all week, I was thinking about that tournament and the shot and the round I had ahead of me and the shot I had ahead of me and taking it one moment at a time.
That's just what I'm doing right now.  I'm really thinking about trying to win this golf tournament.

Q.  Kind of a spin off on Karen's question:  What's the hardest part about following up the 59 with a good round?
You just don't see a lot of guys go shoot 61 62.  You see a lot of 61 68s, 69s.

Q.  Why?
I don't know.  Don't look at me.  You're the smart ones with the pens and the typewriters.

Q.  If you do it once, you can do it again, right?
I think there's probably a mental battle to it that    I felt good with my swing today.  I felt like I played a solid round of golf.  I hit the ball well.  I had a lot more opportunities yesterday.  I hit the ball better yesterday.  But you're not going to have many days like I played yesterday.
You know, I've done it.  I mean, I've shot back to back 64 65.  I've shot low numbers back to back.  It seems to be a mental battle more than a physical.

Q.  I think I know the answer to this, but was there any extra motivation after being left off the Presidents Cup team coming into this?
You know, it's done with, it's over with.  I said yesterday, as well, that I showed up here kind of not thinking about it and not worried about it, and the emotions of talking to the press, talking to y'all doesn't really bother me because I know that's coming and expect it so I am prepared, but talking to other players and friends and talking about the teams we played on, it definitely    I was bummed on Wednesday.  Actually bummed a little on Thursday because Thursday morning I had breakfast with some of the guys and we talked about it, and I was kind of grouchy the rest of the day on Thursday to be honest with you, and then realized that, again, there's nothing I can do about it now.  It's over with.  It's done with.  I had my chance to make the top 10.  You never want to leave it to a captain's pick, and I've been in a really fortunate position with the teams that I made, I really never did.  I made all of them but last year outright, so I've kind of been on the good side of getting a good phone call and now I've been on the bad side of it.
But I'm not really a spiteful person and I'm not trying to stick it to anyone.  I said yesterday I really don't feel like I have anything to prove to anyone in this game, and I'm just going out there and trying to win a golf tournament.

Q.  Did anyone from the 59 fraternity reach out to you, get in touch with you?
  Russell Knox from the TOUR.  He's a friend of mine and he left me a text about welcome to the club, and I thought it was great.

Q.  Anybody else that you hear from that kind of  
Goydos, as well.  I heard from Paul.  I got a text from Paul.

Q.  What did he say?
His was just real simple.  It was nothing about him.  I texted him back and then said, hey, happy to join you.  But Paul got a hold of me.
But I don't know Al real well or    I don't have Chip's number and I didn't hear from David.  David is a good friend.  I'm going to see him pretty soon here in a couple weeks.

Q.  He's in Italy.
Good for him.  That's one of my favorite spots to be.  I'm jealous.

Q.  As you know, a lot of the players were just shaking their heads about your round yesterday given the gusting winds.  How much did conditions change today from yesterday?
Well, they were still real firm and fast.  I mean, the greens, they're greasy out there.  The ball can get away from you real quick.  I thought I hit a pretty darned good first putt at 18.  When it left the putter I was really happy with it, and then as it got halfway there, I was thinking, oh, shoot, it's gaining speed.
But the golf course is firm, it's hard, it's fast, and I mean, I love those conditions, but it's very difficult.  You can make a bunch of birdies out there, but you can make a bunch of bogeys, as well, and I'm sure y'all are seeing that.  Some guys like Kuch today put a bunch of birdies today, and I'm sure you'll see guys making six birdies and five bogeys and shooting 1 under.  It's just the way the golf course is set up.
The difference yesterday, I think it was a lot windier.  Today it was breezy early but it kind of died out later in the day and made the golf course a lot easier.

Q.  Do you feel any pressure to win tomorrow based on the series of close calls over the last 18 months, or is it still the same?
Well, there's always pressure to win, and I'm going to put pressure on myself because I expect myself to play well, and I expect more of myself than anyone else.
You know, it's been three years.  No one has to remind me of the TOUR Championship in '10, and as I've had some of the close calls last year, I definitely put some more pressure on myself, and that'll be part of the mental game and the mental aspect of it tomorrow, to go out there and stay in the moment and just play golf and not really worry about it.  I'll play my best if I'm focused on the task at hand, not on the results.

Q.  After Al shot his 59 he got a phone number with 5959 as the last four digits.  Chip got 59 in his email address.  What, if anything, might you do to immortalize your 59?
I don't know.  That's a good question.  I haven't thought about it.  I had a lot of people call me Mr. 59 today, and it just feels wrong.  That's the best I can say.  I always think of Al Geiberger as being Mr. 59, so I guess I'll have to come up with something else creative, because he was the first and should be the only probably.

Q.  You said you were going to celebrate and enjoy the round last night.  How did you spend the evening?
I was worn out.  By the time I got out of here and did some more media and got in the car and drove back, I had probably twice as many emails and texts last night than I have ever had after winning a golf tournament.  I tried to    and I did, I answered all of them.  A lot of them were very short replies, thank you and such, but I answered all of them and just had some room service and watched some football on TV, which is difficult on Boise State's field.

Q.  What was the longest reply?
Oh, I probably had a five  or six liner in there.  Is that what you meant?

Q.  Yeah.
Yeah, there was a lot of thank yous, though.

Q.  You mentioned twice in this interview mental battle, one following up a low round like 59, the other one trying to win after so many tough finishes.  What's the difference between these mental battles, and which one is tougher?
Well, following a 59 is a breeze, man.  How upset are you going to get today?  Making a bogey it was a little easier to shake off.  Yeah, I shot 59 yesterday; what do you think of that?  So I think winning a golf tournament is obviously the tougher one, and as you said, it's been a while.  I'm going to put pressure on myself.  That'll be the struggle.
And I think as I get older and have played out here long enough, you know, when I've played well, when I've won golf tournaments, I've been able to win that battle within, not trying to get ahead of myself, not worrying about what's going on on the leaderboard around me, not letting other play affect the way I'm going to play the golf course, and just    I think when it's all said and done, when I make a bad swing    I made a bad swing off the 18th tee today.  I really don't believe it was a mechanical flaw.  I said that last year when I hooked it on 16 at the U.S. Open.  It was a mental error.  I made a bad decision.
Today I got quick, but I mean, I think Roger Maltbie told me I had hit something like 32 fairways in a row or something crazy, so I'm not going to sit up there and worry about the mechanics of my golf swing, I'm going to think about, okay, how did I approach that shot mentally, what mistake did I make, because there's no way you can tell me you hit 32 fairways in a row and all of a sudden there's a swing error.  It probably was something I did before the golf.  I tried to hit that shot a little too hard for some reason.  I wanted to draw it, rip it down there.  I really didn't need to hit it hard, I just needed to get it in the fairway and I would have been able to reach that green in two.

Q.  (Inaudible.)

We were talking waiting after I laid it up.  We were waiting for Sneds to hit his second.  He was joking with me, saying, geez, you hit 32 in a row, how the hell did you miss this one?  He was kidding around.  I got a big kick out of that.

Q.  You mentioned the fairways hit.  Do you feel like this tournament might be one of the best tournaments you've had in terms of fairways hit?  You've obviously had a lot of them.
I don't know.  I don't really    it's not a stat that I really pay much attention to, to be honest with you.  And I guess I could preface that by saying there isn't a stat that I pay much attention to.  At the end of the day, I know why I'm hitting on all cylinders, what I like about my game, and what I don't, and I'll go work on the things that I'm not happy about.
But I rarely, rarely ever look at stats or try to figure out    if I'm standing over the ball with a driver in my hand and I think I'm going to knock it down the middle of the fairway, then it's good enough for me whether I do or I don't.  If I'm standing on the tee box looking down the fairway and saying, oh, shoot, and the fairway looks like it's this big, I probably need to go work on my driver a little bit.
Stats don't really do it for me if that makes sense.  I had a really good week one year at Flint, Michigan, with a bunch of fairways, I remember, and I think I had a week where I only made two bogeys all week at Flint, which was pretty cool.  But I don't think I still won, so it didn't really do much for me.

Q.  I'd imagine you were pretty wrapped up in your Mr. 59 6, whatever, yesterday, but we had an incident with Tiger yesterday when his ball moved, he was docked two shots.
  I saw parts of it on SportsCenter last night on ESPN, and I was too far from the television when they went through it because I didn't see the ball move.  I've got good eyesight, I was probably 20 feet from the television, and my TV in my hotel isn't giant, but I guess it barely moved, looking at the tape.

Q.  But I guess my question is do you find it odd or can you think of another circumstance where one of the top players has been involved in so many rules things like this   this is three this year   in a single year, Abu Dhabi and the Masters and this.
  I don't know about Abu Dhabi.  Yeah, the Masters was an interesting one, but I blame the staff there before I blame Tiger.  That should have been taken care of before he ever got to the scoring trailer.
You know, this one, I mean, like I said, I looked; I didn't realize that ball moved.  It was so minute, it was probably tough to pick up.
You know, for better or for worse, there's some good things about the microscope he lives under, I'm sure, but there's got to be a lot worse.  It would be tough for him to grab his kids and go to Chuck E Cheese and have a pizza and watch them bounce around on the playground equipment when they're little, and he just can't do that, and he can't go to Disney World, he can't do certain things in public with his family lifestyle because of who he is, and that same thing probably goes around golf.  He gets a lot of people around the gallery    I remember when I first got on Tour guys used to bitch that Nicklaus and Palmer always had big galleries so if they hit one over a green it would always hit someone and drop instead of going farther over the green and that was an advantage.  You know, like they weren't the best.
But Tiger now, the scrutiny is that he's on television, and every step, every little thing he does is not only watched but then everyone has to weigh in on whether it was good or not or bad or every little swing and every little this, that    it's just I thank the Lord that I don't have to live that way on a daily basis.  I got a taste of seeing parts of it playing with him like at the Ryder Cup, and it's maybe fun to jump in a little bit and jump out, but I wouldn't want to live my life like that.
I realize there's a lot good that comes with it.  But I really cherish my privacy and the ability to spend time with my family in public, and I enjoy that a lot.

Q.  Do you find it funny that some players might bitch and moan that Tiger and Phil and those guys get all the TV time, and yet Tiger and Phil might complain that it's unfair because they're on TV all the time as it relates to rules?
  I don't know that they make that.  I've never heard them make that    I've been around both of them a lot.  I've never heard them make that comment.  But they're on TV because that's who people want to watch; let's be honest.  You know, I think Lance and Tommy probably have a pretty good idea how to put together a show and what the viewing audience wants to see, and probably do a pretty good job with it.

DOUG MILNE:  Jim, thanks for your time.  We appreciate it.