2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: JIM FURYK


2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: JIM FURYK

KELLY ELBIN: With a 2 under par 68 today, Jim Furyk is the leader, one shot ahead of Jason Dufner. Great par save on 18 to cap off the round at Oak Hill. Comments on that, certainly, and the rest of the round, please.

JIM FURYK: Well, obviously nice way to cap off the day. I hit a poor 3 wood off the tee, to say the least, but was able to kind of laugh it off. Was happy to see the ball was in the second cut of rough where I had a decent lie and just kind of wedge it out there. I knew where the pin was. I knew I could bring it off that slope and hopefully get the third shot close and was a little disappointed to see it spun more than I wanted it to off the front fringe. But it was nice to knock that putt in and knock the one in on 17 for birdie.

So good finish to the day. You know, the start of the day didn't really go that well. I fatted an iron off the downhill lie on No. 1 short, got it up and down, and then bogeyed 2 and 3. Really hit some loose shots in those first three holes. I kind of double crossed the hybrid into No. 3 left of the green and put it in place where I couldn't get up and down, and was able to not let things faze me today. Slowly kind of got my rhythm back.

Hit a ball in the fairway on 4 and laid up, knocked it in there and made the putt for birdie, and then kind of started just plodding along, fairways and greens, on 5,6,7,8,9, where I hit a bunch of fairways, a bunch of greens, kind of got it going and was able to turn the round in the other direction and hit some good iron shots, make some putts, and started out 2 over, but ended up with a 68. So was nice to go out there and maybe not have things started way you want, but be able to turn around in the middle of the round and get it going in a good direction.

KELLY ELBIN: If you would briefly, the length of the birdie putts starting on No. 4.

JIM FURYK: No. 4 was about 8 to ten feet straight up the hill.

No. 8 was about seven feet.

No. 10 was probably about 12 feet.

No. 12 was about 20 feet.

The birdie at 17 was probably from about, oh, 15 to 20, somewhere in that area.

Q. We know you're a lifelong Pittsburgh steelers fan

JIM FURYK: By the way, the clock's ticking. They are on, right now, 7:30. Got it DVR'd, though, don't worry about it. (Laughter).

Q. Do you see any similar ties between the way they play football and your golf?

JIM FURYK: I think they represent the city. It's a tough, blue collar, hard working city. It's fans are tough and hard working. My parents grew up in Pittsburgh and my grandparents were mill workers. I learned a great work ethic from my parents and they learnt that from their parents. It's part of Pittsburgh.

I think probably not a lot of bells and whistles, but go out there and give it your best and play hard.

Q. What was the course like today? Was it different? Was it tougher? How did it compare maybe to the first two days out here?

JIM FURYK: You know it was probably a little bit more like day one to be honest with you. It wasn't as wet as day two. The greens were still receptive, though, and that's where you can still see some scoring and some birdies because of that.

But the fairways started drying up a little bit. I thought the greens picked up a touch of speed. Early on I hit a couple putts too hard. I 3 putted No. 2 from off the green. Knocked about a 30 to 35 footer pretty far by the hole, and then I had an 8 footer that I knocked about four feet by and then I kind of said, whoa, hold on a second here, we need to readjust.

The greens were a touch quicker, and I think if we continue to have nice weather, good evening, by tomorrow, it could firm up a little bit and I could see the greens starting to release a little bit. But I think the golf course will play a little tougher probably.

KELLY ELBIN: 17 is such a hard hole, what did you hit on your second shot.

JIM FURYK: I hit a hybrid there, one of my best of the day. It still was ... 3 wood was too much, but I wasn't sure the hybrid was going to be enough club. I hit it pretty much all I had and came up a few feet short.

KELLY ELBIN: What was the distance?

JIM FURYK: It was over 240; 244, so 221 to the front.

Q. Yesterday you accused us of dragging you down by bringing up disappointments, so let's be more positive

JIM FURYK: I threw you under the mud at the flash, too.

Q. Whether it's Olympia Fields or THE TOUR Championship or anything in between, on the final day, what are the common elements that you think were present in each instance that contributed to you being successful?

JIM FURYK: Well, obviously from the physical, a lot of those days, I was firing on all cylinders. Olympia Fields, I look back, I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. When I missed the green, I was able to get up and down and knocked a bunch of putts in. Good things were happening from a physical standpoint. I think the idea of even at the Olympic Club last year, I think that my attitude was pretty good. I think that I stayed within that moment, I never got a head of myself, I always concentrated on what I needed to do on the second shot. Didn't let a bad swing bother me and really didn't too emotional over the day, good or bad.

You know, I think the effort of that, I've been relaxed this week and felt very calm out there, and even when I have hit good shots, I really haven't let it bother me at all, and that's why on a bad start today, I was able to come back and turn it into a good round. Part of it, I was firing on all cylinders and knew I was playing well, but from the mental state and the way I treated the day and treated each shot, was probably the key in why I won those events.

Q. You mentioned being relaxed in the end down the stretch; at any point, was the adrenaline flowing a little bit more than earlier in the day?

JIM FURYK: I think it does naturally, yes. But that's a good feeling. That's something to look forward to, when you've got a little nerves working and you're a little excited; and to me, I think at that point, it's kind of ... it's more fun to play golf. I think it's a little easier to focus when you're nervous if, that makes sense. You really start honing in on targets.

Also it can cause you to get quick a little bit, too, just you're excited and you want to do things faster and faster and you want to get to the shot.

But you're always ... coming down the stretch, I think relaxed doesn't mean that I'm not nervous. I think it means that I'm comfortable with the position I'm in and I'm having fun with it if that makes sense, rather than getting tight.

Q. Relative to yesterday, how did you feel on the course today, and can you talk about your putting today?

JIM FURYK: I missed the first part of that.

Q. Relative to yesterday, how did you feel today on the course and how about your putting today?

JIM FURYK: I felt good with my putter all week. I felt comfortable. I hit a lot of good putts. I can't say that they have all went in, but I made my share. As far as ... I was a little more comfortable on the golf course today. Like I said, it didn't start out that way. I was a little shaky early on, the first few holes, but from 4 through 18, I really felt I had a lot of confidence in myself ... maybe not from 4. Maybe I wasn't the most confident on 4 after 1,2,3, but got my feet under me and as I hit good shots on 4,5 and 6, I gained a lot of confidence and felt better on the golf course than I did yesterday.

KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Jim had 27 putts. That's the best of his three rounds.

Q. Winning a major is an incredible accomplishment; was winning the U.S. Open in 2003 ever a burden to you in terms of having heightened expectations after that?

JIM FURYK: A burden, I wouldn't say. You know, I think there becomes a responsibility. I like the joke, they said, what's the difference, I said, y'all start asking a questions and seems like you're listening a lot more closely. A lot more people want your opinion about things. You're recognized a little bit more walking through the airport or in public.

But I wouldn't consider anything a burden. I think I was already in my ... I think my 10th season on the PGA TOUR. I'd had some success. I think everything kind of happened in a very natural progression for me where I was ready for that situation; where if it would have happened earlier in my career, maybe five years earlier at '98, maybe at Birkdale or the Masters, it would have probably caught me a little bit by surprise, and I wouldn't have been prepared for it.

Does that answer your question? Not really? What did I miss?

It wasn't a burden ... I can see the look on your face.

Q. In trying to go on and win a second major, perhaps because you have heightened expectations on yourself by winning the first one, does it make it more difficult to go on and win another one?

JIM FURYK: I don't know if it makes it any more difficult. You know, winning any tournament is difficult. Winning any major championship is a difficult feat.

I guess if I'm putting heightened expectations on myself, or by what you're saying it would make it my fault. That would mean I would be approaching the situation in an improper manner, and I may have done that in the past, and I'm trying not to let that happen in the future, or in the present right now. But I'm going to, like I said, I'm relaxed, I'm going to enjoy tomorrow just like I had fun today.

Earlier on, the reason why I was able to turn the round around and the reason why after I shot 68s after the bogeys, I was comfortable with myself and the situation. It wasn't really about expectations. It was just about playing the shot and moving forward.

Q. Tiger always likes to say that from your college team, you weren't the most likely guy to go on and have the career that you've had when you look at that. Now that you're looking at where you are and you're going to try to win your second major tomorrow, what does that say about you and the kind of fight that's in you that you've always overcome these barriers throughout your life?

JIM FURYK: You know, I don't know how you ever judge in college. I always hate to hear the can't miss quarterback, the can't miss third base man, the can't miss kid in college. It's difficult to pick who is going to end up making it.

I played with a very talented team. Everyone I played with played professionally and played on a tour some, where whether it was the PGA TOUR or the Japanese Tour or the Web.com Tour, whatever it may be, and some very talented players.

I guess what it says, I guess I want to give them a lot of respect, because, you know, they were my teammates and they will always be my teammates. We won a National Championship at Arizona and I'm very close friends with them, so I want to give them their due. We had a great, talented team.

I guess what it says about me really is that, you know, I had a different swing; I putted cross handed. I played the game maybe what looked a little unorthodox to most people, but I guess I consider myself a pretty tough player and I consider myself someone that really believes in himself. And in order to make it at this level or be successful for 20 years on the PGA TOUR, you'd better believe in yourself, because there's going to be some times where, you know, you feel lonely and you feel like you're the only one out there. But you always have a lot of people, whether it's family, your caddie, your teachers, your supporters; there's always people on your team, but it feels lonely out there, at times. You always have to believe in yourself, and that's probably one of my strengths.

Q. It sounds like you're going to watch the Steelers game tonight. Do you have anything else planned? Are you superstitious before a final round when you have a chance to win?

JIM FURYK: No, not really. I guess I'm somewhat of a superstitious but the routine will be the same. Tabitha came in last night and I'll plan on having dinner with her. I want to relax, watch at least the first half of the game, and check out the starters and most of the names I can recognize. If I can stay up late enough, I'll watch the whole thing.

Q. You told us two days ago not to make too much of the first round lead, that everyone was still jockeying for position and everything. How much more meaningful is it now to take the lead into Sunday?

JIM FURYK: Give me a leaderboard, where are we at? I thought I was leading solo

KELLY ELBIN: You're one shot up on Dufner and two up on Stenson.

JIM FURYK: You know, it's not imperative, but I like ... I've always sat in the press room at any tournament and told you that I like being ... would you rather be ... people always ask, would you rather be one ahead or one back. Well, I'd rather be one ahead. There's going to be a winning score tomorrow, and whatever that score is, it means I don't have to shoot as low as everyone else, if that makes sense. But overall, I'm comfortable with where I'm at. There's a crowded leaderboard at the top and instead of really viewing it as who is leading and who is not, I'm really viewing it as I need to go out there tomorrow and put together a good, solid round of golf, fire a good number and hope it stacks up well.

KELLY ELBIN: Jim Furyk, the 54 hole leader at the PGA Championship.

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