Fab four feels good about how they got the ball rolling
In their news conference after Tuesday's first round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Jim Furyk, Geoff Ogilvy, Tiger Woods and Mike Weir discussed their play over the opening 18 and how they'll approach the final round.
JULIUS MASON (PGA Grand Slam of Golf moderator): We're here at the halfway point, ladies and gentlemen, of the 2006 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, and your leaderboard looks like this: Jim Furyk, 5-under 65; Geoff Ogilvy, 4-under 68; Tiger Woods, 2-under 70; Mike Weir, 1-under 71.
Let's go ahead and begin with an opening comment from Mr. Ogilvy. Geoff, what are your thoughts on the round today?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, I played quite well. It's obviously a little tricky with the wind the way it is, but I guess it's always like that around here.
No, I played nicely. I didn't hit too many bad shots, just one bad shot on 17, the tee shot. Apart from that, I was pretty happy with it. I putted quite well which is usually my Achilles heel on Bermuda, but I seemed to putt quite well so it was all right.
JULIUS MASON: Mr. Weir, some thoughts on the round?
MIKE WEIR: Yeah for myself, I didn't strike the ball as solidly as I've been doing the last little bit, so that was a little bit disappointing. Seemed like just scrambled around a little bit. Didn't get the ball in the fairway, and when you're not hitting the ball out of the fairway in this bermuda, you get some flyers, which I believe I did on No. 8 when I airmailed the green by about 30 yards.
Outside of that, I hung in there pretty good and hope to have a good one tomorrow.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much. Questions, folks.
Q. Mike, can you talk about your steady play today? Everybody seemed to be -- well, Tiger was kind of all over the course, and you just seemed to be really steady. And if you could talk about Jim's round, too, because he had a lot of long putts that he just missed but he came on strong at the end.
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, I guess I was steady because I drove the ball well. This Bermuda rough can go a club shorter than normal or it could go any distance out of this rough, and that's the challenge for it. It's not getting it out; it's knowing how far it's going to go. I drove it quite well. I didn't miss any on the wrong sides of the greens. I tried to miss it in the right spot. I just hit nice shots when I needed to and didn't hit any bad ones, really.
Jim's just the best scorer in the world. He seems to get the most out of every round he ever plays, which is why he's the second best player in the world; because he hits a lot of good shots, and when he does have a 40-footer, he hits it a foot. He's a great putter and great chipper and does everything well. Pretty standard Jim Furyk round I would have thought; pretty tidy and takes advantages of his chances and doesn't make any silly bogeys, you know.
Q. Mike, you got off to a phenomenal start with that approach on No. 1. Do you feel like you're still getting in the groove of your swing right now and grinding out there? All things considered, it wasn't that bad of a round.
MIKE WEIR: No, it wasn't that bad. Like I said, I made a change with some different coaches in the last little bit, so been working hard on it. Haven't played any tournament golf since I started working with him and this is the first rounds. When the wind is blowing, just kind of threw me off a little bit. It takes time to kind of work into that. Like I said, just a matter of playing a bunch of rounds with kind of a bit of new thoughts in there.
There was some good shots out there. I hit some good shots. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little better.
Q. What do you feel you needed to work on with it?
MIKE WEIR: Oh, man, we could spend a long time here. (Laughter).
I mean, I'm just -- bottom line, just trying to compress the ball a little bit better. I've always kind of swept the ball and picked the ball off the turf and trying to compress a little more to keep it easy. Been doing that well, but today I didn't do it as well. Like I said, I think it's just, you know, a matter of the first tournament round in a while, and getting more comfortable with it.
Q. Could you talk about the 13th hole; were you surprised to see the tee, where it was, and talk about your tee shot on that hole there.
MIKE WEIR: Well, yeah, when I played in 2003, we didn't use that tee. When I saw it in the Pro Am yesterday, the security guy, Jim, who was with us, said they used last year.
Yeah, I got lucky. I pulled it a little bit and got riding with the wind. I was trying to hit it where Jim and Geoff hit just to the left there, and pulled it and the wind started riding it over there, and I knew it was not looking too good. Obviously I could not see that far up there what happened. Obviously it must have got a nice little bounce, and it was coming left to right, and to end up where it did, it must have kicked up just inside the hazard line or something.
Q. Geoff, you had three birdies on the front nine and one on the back, along with a bogey. You were in the lead for a long time and then you disappeared. Any thoughts about going into tomorrow, with a one-shot deficit and any thoughts about what you need to do to make sure you get the winner's check tomorrow?
GEOFF OGILVY: One less shot and the other three guys would get the winner's check. If I can play like I did today and maybe take a couple more opportunities, I can probably have a good score. It's going to take a decent score. Tiger has obviously had some pretty good scores around here in the past. Jim's been here before.
It's going to take a decent score again tomorrow probably. I don't know, if I can just play the same and make a couple putts, make a couple more opportunities; it's hard to say when there's only three guys, four guys who might not play bad tomorrow, it's probably not going to happen. I'll just try to do the same thing and have the lowest score I can and hope it adds up to less than everyone else's.
JULIUS MASON: Geoff, Mike, thank you very much.
PGA Player of the Year, Tiger Woods, joining us after the first round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Tiger, some thoughts on your round before we go to questions.
TIGER WOODS:: No. 1 and 18 was solid. Next question. (Laughing.) Yeah, the other 16 holes were just not very good. I struggled today. It was frustrating. I had a two way miss going, and I could hit it either way any time, not a whole lot of fun to play. Somehow I was able to shoot 2 under par. I don't know how I did that. I'm only three back, so hopefully tomorrow will be a little better day.
Q. You said you struggled today obviously with the tee shots, but you never really put yourself in too bad of possible positions. I think it was on 16, you caught a good break there, didn't you?
TIGER WOODS:: I did.
Q. You caught a good one there. Could you talk about that hole a little bit?
TIGER WOODS:: I hit the drive way right. Second shot, I again, I had a two way miss. My second shot, I pulled way left, and it should have been gone. Should have been in the bushes over there left, but somehow it skirted by and ended up on the green. I actually had a birdie putt. I mean, that was a it shouldn't have been -- that should not have happened that way. But very fortunate to have that happen.
Q. It seemed like No. 13 was where you started really wondering to yourself, what's going on here. And then I saw you thinking, it looked like you were thinking deeply on the 16th tee. Were you thinking about anything like making a charge there? And also, can you talk about 13?
TIGER WOODS:: Well, 13 was just a 3 wood I was just aiming at the left bunker, just put that ball over in that left bunker over there somewhere. Again, laid the club down and got stuck behind it and hit it way right. Put it right in the water.
And on 16, hitting driver, I knew that driver would bring in the hazard on the left hand side. And looked at Stevie [caddie Steve Williams], what do you think, should I hit 3-wood?
Well, 3-wood brings the bunker in the right hand into play. You could lay up with 5-wood. And that means I have some kind of 5- or 6-iron into the green. Let me just try and squeeze a cut out there; well, cut was a block slice.
Q. Seems like the other guys squandered some chances to put you away; does that affect how you go into tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS:: I'm very fortunate to only be three back the way I hit it today. So hopefully tomorrow, it will be turned around somehow and I can hopefully get off to the same positive start as I did today and just keep it going.
You know you're going to have to make birdies out here. This golf course can be had. Jim putted great today, and that's exactly what you have to do in order to, you know, to win the tournament.
Q. You said you've been fighting this driver in Japan and China [at two recent tournaments]. Has it kind of carried over a little bit?
TIGER WOODS:: It was not just the driver, it was everything. Just a normal 100-yard sand wedge, all the way up to the driver. I've been kind of fighting a little bit.
I have my days when I -- when it went well. I had one day in China where I shot 64. I really put it all together that day. But other than that, it's been kind of sporadic. It will go in spurts. Today wasn't in spurts; unfortunately it was just bad all day.
Q. You said you were fighting every element of your game. That being said, what was it that allowed you to get into the clubhouse at 2-under considering the travails you had on the course today?
TIGER WOODS:: Well, this golf course is not the most penal golf course. You know if you miss the ball in the correct spots you can get away with things. And for the most part, I was able to do that today and I also made a couple good up and downs.
But other than that, you have to understand how to read these greens, first of all, and how to putt them. I've been here enough to understand that, and most of the day I hit really good putts; made a few. Also just came close to making a few more.
Q. '98, '99 match play winner; 2001 you had a second-round 65, and 2005, 64; do you remind the other guys in front of you that you own the second round?
TIGER WOODS:: Well, in those second rounds, I hit the ball a little bit better than I did today. That's what I'm going to have to do. I'm going to have to hit the ball well and give myself plenty of looks at it. I feel very comfortable with my stroke right now. I putted well in China. I putted well in Japan. I just didn't give myself enough looks at it. If I do that, I feel like I can make some birdies.
Q. Any specific positives you can take to tomorrow besides 1 and 18?
TIGER WOODS:: Yeah, well, I'm still just three back. For as poorly as I felt over the golf shots, and as poorly as I executed today, to only be three back, I'm very fortunate. I've still got a chance to win the tournament.
JULIUS MASON: Tiger Woods, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
Jim Furyk, ladies and gentlemen, looking really good at the top of the leader board at the halfway point at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Mr. Furyk, love to hear your thoughts on the round today, and let's go through your card and we'll go to Q&A if you didn't mind.
JIM FURYK: Obviously happy with where I stand after the first round. I did a good job of getting the ball in the hole and scoring. I kept the ball in the fairway most of the day. Didn't hit a ton of crisp iron shots.
I was putting from long distance for a lot of the day, but my putting was very good today. And I was able to just kind of, you know, keep in play and keep in on the greens and keep making a bunch of pars and a few birdies here and there, and a good finish with a birdie on 17 and 1, ended up being a pretty good day.
Tomorrow I would like to do a lot of the same stuff. Hopefully keep the putter rolling and give myself some more opportunities with those iron shots.
JULIUS MASON: Let's take a look at your card. Birdie on 1.
JIM FURYK: Birdie with driver and sand wedge to about seven feet. Then 6, the par 5, I hit a driver and my hybrid probably about 30, 35 feet past the pin and two-putted on the way back.
My next birdie was on 13, the drivable -- they moved the tees up on the drivable par 4, and hit a little past pin high left of the green. I hit a bad pitch shot. Probably left it a good 15 feet short of the pin, and was able to knock that putt in. As I said before, the birdies on 17 and 18, I hit a 5-iron on 17 to about 10 or 12 feet.
My driver I hung a little in the right rough on 18 but hit a hybrid that ended up going through the green to a pretty tough lie and hacked it out to about 10 feet and knocked that one in. A good up and down there to finish the day.
Q. You're halfway through your second Grand Slam. What is it you like most about this course, and also what is it you like most about the actual event?
JIM FURYK: About the course, I think it's a playable, fun, good golf course in all conditions. You're going to come to Hawaii often and it's going to blow. It's going to be windy. You can play a lot of shots around here. Its defense is really the conditions right now, and it's playable when it gets very windy, which I enjoy. A lot of the newer style architecture is at times very unplayable in wind. But obviously when you design a golf course in this state, you're going to keep the wind in mind, and I think they did a good job with that.
As far as this he event, it's just got a very small field to it. There's only four players. A lot of the people, obviously the officers from the PGA of America and people that we get to know throughout the course of our careers, for me, and Ryder Cups, PGA Championship, and events like these, but it's just got a very small, personable feeling. It's a little bit more laid back. The guys are hanging out at the pool with their families or their friends and enjoying their stay here, which is obviously not the norm on Tour, so it's definitely a little bit more relaxed.
Q. Tiger's had some pretty great second rounds in this tournament here. Does that affect your strategy going into tomorrow, or are you going to change anything; that you need to be a little more aggressive knowing there's a good chance that he's going to make a good run at it?
JIM FURYK: Where I finished today and whether I'm in the lead or not -- obviously I would rather be in the lead. I would rather be ahead and have to shoot that much less under par tomorrow to win the tournament.
But whether Geoff was leading at the end of the day or myself who or whoever it may be, it really doesn't change your strategy and it really doesn't matter. You have to go out tomorrow and fire another low number. I think whether you play aggressive or not aggressive, we're always trying to go out there and shoot as absolutely low as we can. I'll just go out there with that same mind frame tomorrow, try to get it in the hole as best I can and shoot the lowest score I possibly can. You're never going to say, 'I'm trying to stay out front.' You justwant to go out and make a bunch of birdies and try to put pressure on the other guys.
Someone is going to go out and fire a low number tomorrow, and I would obviously like for it to be me.
Q. Geoff called you the best scorer in the world in terms of getting most out of your game; it was a nice compliment. Curious how you feel about that, if scoring was something you were able to do as a junior or carried over, just kind of your thoughts on that.
JIM FURYK: I think it's something that that's maturing as a player and maturing on Tour. A lot of young players come out with a lot of talent and you know, it takes a while to -- at times, for some of those players, it takes time to put that all together and learn how to manage their games and try to score. It is a nice compliment.
I think that, you know, not being the most overpowering player, obviously probably the shortest of the four in the field. Tiger's obviously the longest. Geoff is blowing it pretty far by Mike and I, and we're kind of rounding out the field. Not being a powerful player, I think you need to find other ways. I need to work the ball very well. I need to be a good wedge player. You know, I have to be very smart about my game and learn to manage it and get the ball around the golf course.
Tiger is obviously, when you talk about guys that can score and put the ball in the hole, I think he has that ability more so than anyone else in the world of golf. That's why when he's not on the top of his game, he still has an opportunity to win golf tournaments and win major championships, where most people have to be playing their best in order to do that.
Q. Along the same lines, nobody has been able to beat Tiger in the past I think six times. What would a win mean for you, and what do you expect from Tiger tomorrow?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think I expect all three of those guys to go out and fire a low number. I don't think anyone -- we definitely were lulling everyone to sleep on the back nine with all the pars we made. It had to be four or five, six holes in a row where I think all four of us felt like we made par on the hole. So it wasn't real exciting as far as throwing up a bunch of birdies. I would expect tomorrow to see more birdies.
As far as winning the event, we show up every week trying to win, and that's the ultimate goal for everyone. All four of us are trying to obviously do that this week. But like I said before, it's also got that little more laid back. I see Mike down in the pool at the lagoon. You also want to enjoy Hawaii a little bit while you're here. It would be a nice topper for the end of the year and icing on the cake to a good year. Just go out tomorrow and play as hard as I can.
Q. Can you talk about, if you were disappointed at all, leaving a lot of long, long, long putts, 30, 40, 50 feet sometimes, and also, if you could talk a little about Geoff's steady play all day, and Tiger's not so steady play; are you surprised that Tiger did what he did today?
JIM FURYK: I think the first part of that, yeah, one of the first comments I made when I came into the media room was I was really pleased with the way I scored today and the way I got the ball in the hole. I felt like with the positions I left myself for the day, I really got a lot out of the round. Some days, you feel like you do; some days you feel like you don't. The one thing I would like to improve tomorrow is I would like to hit my irons more crisp, and I would like to give myself more opportunities.
What you need to do in those situations is make the best out of it, and then, like I said, try to score as low as you possibly can with what you've got that day.
Geoff did play very, very well. He drove the ball well. He probably hit it as well as anyone or better than anyone we played with today. You know, he was in control pretty much most of the day. The only error I can really think of was the errant tee shot on 17.
Yeah, Tiger was a little erratic at times where he drove it in the rough quite a bit and was difficult for it's difficult to make a bunch of birdies coming out of that long Bermuda rough. Good players tend to, when they have a day like that, they tend to still shoot 69 and keep themselves in position where they have an opportunity the next day.
That's what he is very good at, and that's what most of the great players in history are good at; that when they are having days that they are not really happy with or a little bit of an erratic day, they are still able to shoot a good enough number to keep themselves in the tournament and give themselves opportunity to win.
Q. You mentioned the lack of power, you still can hit the ball a long ways, but relative to Tiger and Geoff. What is it about this course that brings out the strength in your game? Is it the way you've been able to manage your game over the years and you've gotten really proficient in that? What exactly is the element?
JIM FURYK: It's not a tremendously long golf course. I know it's 7,100-yard golf course, but we play a lot of very, very long golf courses. You're going to -- I still think you have a lot of wedges in your hand out here. So if you can put the ball in play, put the ball in the fairway, you're going to be left with a lot of short irons.
And the strengths of my game probably, is from about 115, 120 yards and in with my wedge game, and a guy that's not powerful; Mike Weir, again, everyone always talks about short game and wedges, and I think Mike's as good a wedge player as there is in the game. Guys that hit it in the length we do, you have to be [a good wedge player] if you want to compete and play at the level we want to. You have to be very good at that area.
And this golf course, if you can get the ball in the fairway, you're going to be left with a lot of short irons, and we try to take advantage of those situations.
JULIUS MASON: Jim Furyk, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much.