Could we have hoped for a better pairing in the final group on Sunday at the McGladrey Classic? Nope. Of course I’m talking about Ryder Cup captain and tournament host Davis Love III and Jim Furyk, who was one of Love’s four wildcard picks for the U.S. squad. Love and Furyk obviously have had to deal with the disappointing loss to Europe, and Furyk also faced unfortunate upsets at the U.S. Open and then at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Well, they’re tied for the 54-hole lead at 13-under. A win for either would probably feel like a bit of redemption, not to mention a sweet way to end the year and look forward to next season. Love and Furyk just teed off, so I’ve gotta head out to follow them, or another group, but please treat this as an open thread and share your comments below.
Here are Furyk’s and Love’s post-round transcripts after the third round, which are both worth a read (especially Furyk who is always a thoughtful interview).
Q. We welcome our co‑leader, Jim Furyk, with a 4‑under 66, 13‑under after Round 3 of The McGladrey Classic. Just some comments on the round. Obviously going to be a great pairing tomorrow with Davis Love who you’re quite good friends with. Some comments on that and then we’ll take some questions.
JIM FURYK: Happy with the round. To shoot 4‑under, feel good about it. It was a quick start today birdieing three of the first six, I believe, and I was able to birdie 10, and then I won’t say the round stalled, but it didn’t go in the hole as easy as it did early on. I hit some good putts at 14 that lipped out, hit a pretty good putt at 15 I misread a little bit.
You know, played well. I just didn’t see the ball go in the hole as easily on the way in and made eight pars, and I had a bunch of guys in the field catch up. So it’ll be exciting tomorrow. I’m happy to be out there and paired with Davis again. It was a fun day.
Because of the large number of people in the field at 88, it was a slow round today. We talked a lot. Arjun as well. And it was nice to be out there with friends and friendly people. I think it kept all of us kind of loose throughout the day because it was a slow, plodding round where you could lose your concentration pretty good.
But Davis has always been a close friend. I admire him for tackling the job, being the host here at this event. He’s represented this island well around the world, and now he’s got a wonderful sponsor, McGladrey and this island showcased for a nice event, and for him I’m sure it’s a thrill to be out here after three rounds and tied for the lead, a lot of support, a lot of people pulling for him, as well they should. So be exciting day tomorrow to play with a friend and try to play a good round of golf.
JOHN BUSH: With that we’ll take some questions.
Q. I know you’ve been close so many times. You’ve played well so much this season. How would you compare this season to two years ago when you won the FedExCup or the season you won the major?
JIM FURYK: There’s a lot of similarities in that I’ve played consistent pretty much throughout the year. I don’t know how many cuts I missed this year. It was three or four. I know they were all by one shot. So even when I didn’t play that well in an event, I was right there with a chance on the last hole to make or miss the cut.
I put myself in contention to win quite a bit, almost the same amount of times I did in 2010. The glaring difference ‑‑ I think someone even ‑‑ Doug, you might have told me my scoring average this year was actually better than it was in 2010.
I did a lot of good things this year, and after coming off 2011 where I played poorly, I was really upset with myself, and it was my worse season to date. And I really dedicated myself in a lot of different areas to try to get better and had a really good plan in the off season about how I wanted to improve. And it worked. So I was happy about that.
You know, the differences are pretty glaring well, in 2010 I had three really good opportunities to win tournaments and I closed every event out and won each one. Sometimes in a little more dramatic fashion than others. But you know, I had a tight one with K.J. in Tampa. I won a playoff at Hilton Head against Brian Davis; and I had a close one, Luke Donald kind of came storming down the stretch at the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP and was able to get the ball in the last hole.
This year was the exact opposite. I found ways, quite frankly, to lose tournaments. I think I played well down the stretch in Tampa again and really had some good opportunities. You know, that 16, 17, 18 is a tough stretch, and I had a pretty good look at birdie on 16 and 17 and played well there.
But obviously losing the U. S. Open and really playing poorly on the last hole and playing great for ‑‑ basically I led Bridgestone for 71 holes and made double on the last hole and lost by one.
So you know, I had my opportunities to have a great year this year, just like I did in the past, and there’s two ways to look at it. You know, I’m one of those people, I’m tougher on myself, I promise, than anyone else is. So I’ve kicked myself a hundred times already. And I’ve gotten over it. That’s one thing I’ve always been able to do really well is I can kind of ‑‑ I can get by it. I can forget it. I can put it behind me and move on.
And you know, it’s in the past now. There’s nothing I can do to change it. And nothing I do in the future is going to change it. It is what it is. It’s done with. And instead of kind of looking to the past, and I realize we’re at the end of the season, and I’ve done a lot of interviews this week talking about so close, and you know, talking about this season, I’m kind of actually ‑‑ you know, I’m excited for this season to be over only for the fact that I can turn the page and we can start talking about the future.
I say that, but I spent the first four months of this year talking about how bad 2011 was, and it wasn’t until I started playing really well we started talking about that, so I’m sure in 2013 we’ll talk about how 2012 was so close and a near miss, but I’m looking to turn the page and really look more towards the future.
And I’m comfortable with where my game’s at. I’m in good health right now. You know, I have a lot of confidence in what I’m doing, and I also have about three months of time coming up where I’m taking some time off and getting away from golf, and I think I need that a little bit to get my head clear and get excited about golf again. And when February rolls around I’ll be ready to go.
JIM FURYK: Yeah. But you can’t put the cart before the horse. How about we worry about that if and when the time comes.
I’ve been very relaxed this week. You know, I didn’t have real high expectations coming in here in that I didn’t really do too much the last two weeks, to be honest with you. I played three rounds of golf. I played a one‑day member‑member with my dad Friday after the Ryder Cup. And then last week on Thursday and Friday four of my friends and I have a golf tournament in Jacksonville with 20 of us, and actually they end up drinking a lot of beer and trying to play golf, and I end up having to do the scores and organizing a little bit on the days, but we had a little two‑day tournament out of Jax Country Club, and I had fun and I actually played really well in that.
But I didn’t do a ton of practice. Actually had a cold, didn’t do much Saturday, went out and practiced a little bit Sunday and Monday before coming up. So my expectations weren’t overly high, but my game was in good shape, and every day I’ve improved a little bit and gained a little more confidence. And I think I’m going to go in with the same attitude tomorrow, just try to play a good round of golf, and I’ve been surprisingly, even on a Saturday, you know, in the last group, I just was pretty loose and care free today and let it go, and I’d like to do the same thing tomorrow.
Q. Jim, if you play the best you can play tomorrow, regardless of what happens, will you be satisfied?
JIM FURYK: Yeah. Absolutely. You can’t control what anyone else does. I think ‑‑ you know, I’m going to be satisfied no matter what, to be honest with you. As far as will I be satisfied with the way I play or the outcome or the score, possibly not. But I’ll go out there and give it 100percent and play the best I can, and yeah, if I go out there and shoot a good score and someone beats me, so be it, there’s nothing you can do about that.
Q. This season for whatever reason there have been a lot of comebacks. Do you like playing with the lead going into a final round?
JIM FURYK: I always have. You know, there’s going to be a winning score tomorrow, and if I’m leading today, that means it doesn’t have to be as low as everyone else tomorrow, if that makes sense.
Whatever it is, Davis and I don’t have to shoot as low a number as everyone else to get to that final score. So I’ve always been more comfortable with the lead. I’ve won both ways, holding the lead going into the last day and coming from behind.
But I think my game, I get the ball in play pretty well and keep it in front of me, and I just try to hit fairways and greens and knock some putts in and try to put the pressure on everyone else. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it.
Q. You’ve played a lot with Davis, you said, and this is really the first time he’s used a longer putter. What have you noticed in his putting playing with the longer putter?
JIM FURYK: Looks good. I think one of the things I noticed is that his speed ‑‑ I think it’s very difficult to get the right speed here. This golf course has a lot of grain. I think that because of the nature of the greens, they’re bold; they’re high in the center and they get low on the edges and they run off. And if the pin’s on the right side of the green and you happen to hit it in the center of the left side of the green, seems like you’re always hitting it up a slope and down a slope you’re hitting uphill into the grain, downhill down grain, and it’s very difficult to get the speed of putts here. And what I noticed about Davis today, on his makeable putts we’ll say from 25feet and in, the ball was always getting to the hole and kind of dying out a foot or two past. It seemed like he really had good control of the speed of his putts which is difficult here. I’ve struggled at times, and some of the guys I’ve played with this week, I think it’s difficult here.
Q. I asked Davis the same question, given the emotions, and you touched on this about him playing for two weeks and hosting this after the Ryder Cup, and given the emotions of the Ryder Cup, are you at all surprised to see both of you at the top of the leaderboard?
JIM FURYK: I mean I don’t think either one of us is going to say we’re surprised to see that. We’re competitors, and I’m guessing that he had a lot of time off and poured a lot of heart and soul and a lot of effort into the Ryder Cup and wasn’t playing and he probably missed playing, one, and he probably wanted to have his game in good shape coming to this event. He’s played the last ‑‑ he played Vegas, he played at Frys, and I’m not exactly sure how well he played. I know he was in good shape after a couple of rounds at Vegas. I checked in just to see how he was doing.
But I’m sure he had kind of this event targeted, trying to get his game in shape and being ready. And the fact he’s got probably a billion things on his mind when it comes to this golf tournament. So golf might be almost an escape for him to get out there on the golf course and concentrate on golf rather than how things are going in the event.
But you know, it’s difficult, and I give a lot of credit for ‑‑ I’ve run little charity events, and I had a skins game up in Philly where I was the host where I was worrying about a billion other things, and when I stepped on the first tee, it was like, oh, yeah, I have to play golf today. It’s tough to actually flip the mode. And he’s been able to obviously do that very well, and I’m sure he has a lot of support with Mark and Robin and everyone behind the scenes helping out. But still, it’s his event. He’s the host. It’s his foundation. His name’s on it. So it’s very difficult to be able to do both and he’s done a great job.
Q. When you’ve had a year like this and part of you is kind of looking to as you say kind of turn the page on the year?
JIM FURYK: I’m always looking to turn the page by October, to be honest with you.
Q. Is this a pleasantly surprising another chance to succeed or is it another chance of having to grind out where you could be looked at as winning and losing?
JIM FURYK: Oh, I don’t care how.
Q. Did that make any sense at all? I could try it again.
JIM FURYK: It does. It makes sense. It makes sense. It’s somewhat ‑‑ I honestly think I’m somewhat pessimistic and somewhat of a negative person at times, but I don’t get that negative. How’s that?
And I’ll be the first to admit, my wife is always optimistic and tells me I’m pessimistic, that I look at things the other way. And she’s got a point, but if I was worried ‑‑ tomorrow’s an opportunity. If you’re standing over a five‑foot putt and you’re worried about if you’re trying not to miss it, your chances of making it are so slim. We’ve all been in that position. But if you’re standing over that five‑footer and the only thing on your mind is how many I going to get this ball in the hole and trying to make it, you have such a better opportunity to do it.
If I looked at tomorrow as another chance to be judged in case I failed, it would just be ‑‑ you know, it’s been a tough year, but I could never look at it that way. It’s an opportunity for me to go out and win a golf tournament, and I’m not trying to make up for the rest of the year. We talked about that earlier in the year. You said what if you had an opportunity to win, would it make up for anything. I said I just wouldn’t look at it that way. What happened happened. It’s over with. I can’t change it. I’m never going to feel good about what happened, but it’s done with.
I’m looking ahead, I’m looking to the future. If I came here‑‑ I never would show up at this event ‑‑ there’s a bunch of reasons why I came. First and foremost, I came last year because it’s Davis’s event. He’s a friend and I wanted to support the event. I really haven’t spent a lot of time on Sea Island. Now that I have, I think the area is beautiful. I think the sponsor, McGladrey, they put on a hell of a tournament. In three years‑‑ last year they had a field stronger than like seven or eight FedExCup tournaments. They’ve got a pretty good golf course. It’s fun to play. Sea Island is beautiful and everyone respects the host. And they’ve done a good job of promoting the event.
But if I came here really worried about, oh, shit, it could happen again, well, that’s just the wrong way to look at it. Whatever shakes down tomorrow, whatever happens, you know, it’s ‑‑ I guess Davis says it the best. He said after the Ryder Cup, it’s a little white ball and it’s a game, and you know, it’s an honor to be in the position ‑‑ to play it for a living. But everything’s positive. It’s an opportunity tomorrow to win a golf tournament. That’s the way I’m going to look at it.
JIM FURYK: That’s what I think I meant earlier when I talked about I’m going to go out there tomorrow and try to play loose and just enjoy the golf tournament like I have all week.
If I now said, okay, I’m tied for the lead and there’s only one round to go and I try to flip my mindset, I’m going to get tight and it’s going to be harder to score.
I came in here saying you know what, I’m probably not as prepared for this event as I have been for others. I wasn’t ‑‑ I had played a lot of golf; I was tired, so I was trying to get away and felt that was the best thing I could do at the time, so I came in here just not really expecting that much.
I know I’m playing well, I know my game’s in good shape, so let’s see what happens. And I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow. If I tried to switch that mindset, it wouldn’t be good for my round and wouldn’t be good for my game. So I’m going to try to be loose and play that way tomorrow again.
JIM FURYK: You know, I think you’re taught that, and I was asked that earlier this week, too. You know, I think it has a lot to do with first and foremost, this game is humbling enough as it is, and I said if I had a 20 to 25‑year career, if anyone had a 20 to 25‑year career and they could win once a year, just one time a year for 20 to 25years, that’s a Hall of Fame career, lifetime exempt member of the PGA TOUR. But in that case, I play about 25 events a year. I bet I lose 24 times. You get your tail kicked in this game a lot, and I think it makes the good times and the wins, it makes them that much sweeter, if that makes sense. You’re taught a lot of humility in this game and I think a lot about life.
If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to bounce back. You’re going to have to learn to accept defeat in this game. Doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you’re going to have to learn to accept it and you’re going to have to learn how to be tough about it and come back better the next time.
I think that has a lot to do with the way I was raised. Came from two tough families, both grandparents worked in the mill. Mom and dad were tough, hard workers, and you know, I’m just not a person that ever really felt sorry for myself, nor would I expect anyone else to. I’m very fortunate and very privileged at what I get to do.
If this year would have happened when I was 26 or 27, I probably would have been less prepared and probably wouldn’t have had it in perspective as much, but being a 42‑year‑old and a father and having my children at two of those events that didn’t go so well was also a learning experience for me. And I think when you take the whole big picture, as Davis says, it’s a little white ball and it’s a game and you put things in perspective. But like he says, doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it, but I’ll learn from it and get tougher and stronger.
I’m not one of those people that after those events, I never sat back and didn’t work. It made me work harder, if that makes sense. And I’ll continue to do that.
JOHN BUSH: We’ll get started. We’d like to welcome our co leader and tournament host, Davis Love into the interview room after 4‑under par 66. Davis, nice playing out there today. Got yourself right where you want to be going into tomorrow.
DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah. It’s nice to make that putt at the last, and I kept thinking that we were keeping our group together, but I guess we’re going to go twosomes tomorrow, not threesomes, but it was fun to play with Arjun and Jim. We all played pretty well and had some chances and we hung in there when the wind started blowing. I think that was the big thing.
Seemed like a lot of guys were starting well, but didn’t finish well because the wind got going, but Jim helped me a lot on that last putt. His putt dove at the hole and I played a little more break. As the day goes on I think they get grainier. They obviously get slower, but they get a little bit grainier, so we were all kind of slow playing it there on the last four or five holes to try to figure out which way the grain was going, but it was nice to make that last one.
JOHN BUSH: All right. We’ll go into questions.
Q. Davis, you said you weren’t surprised you were playing well this week. Were you surprised at all it’s coming down to you and Jim?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Well, no. When Jim Furyk’s in the field you’re going to expect him to play well. This is a perfect golf course. And David Toms, I don’t know where he finished, 8 or 9? Perfect course or David Toms, drive it in the fairway and good greens.
But you know, long hitters also, obviously on any course, it helps. I hit a lot of 3‑woods off the tee and makes it a little bit easier, until today. I hit more drivers today than the last two days.
But no, Jim’s played well, and I keep saying he was real close to an All Star hero year, and he showed that today, just came out firing. He looked like he was going to birdie every hole there starting off. And when I bogeyed 4, I said, I’m going the wrong way and he’s going the right way. This is going to be tough.
And Arjun was the same way. He kept missing greens starting off and I kept not making putts and then I finally made one at 5 and it got me going.
But I’m not surprised he’s playing well. No, he’s been playing great all year.
Q. The birdie on 5, what was the value of that coming off the bogey and it wasn’t exactly a tap‑in, in terms of going forward?
DAVIS LOVE, III: No. I didn’t hit a great wedge in there. You know, the thing I think everybody’s figuring out is that you have to play the right spin. You have to get it on the correct side of the hole because if you’re putting downhill sliders with this grain, they’re tough to make because they get really fast. So I knew I needed to get past the hole and try to bring it back up the hill and all that, and I was a little too careful on a lot of wedge shots into the green today. But that was a big putt, to make one. I actually hit a pretty good putt the hole before.
But you know, that’s kind of a stalled start, if you’re 1‑over through four even though 4 and 5 are playing a little harder than they normally do. We like it down right‑to‑left at 4 and 5; those holes play kind of easy. But straight in was tough at 4, and that was a tough pin.
They’ve had some ‑‑ I mean I’ve actually heard there’s been some comments to the officials the pins have been pretty tough. But you know, 13‑under is leading after three days, so it’s not that hard. But there were some tricky ones today, and that was a good putt. I really needed that.
DAVIS LOVE, III: I don’t know. It’s nice to win, no matter what. Yeah, I know to be able to cap off would make the year feel a lot better to him. Plus he’s trying, like the rest of us, to keep getting more wins at a late stage in your career. I know he’s working towards 20. He will get there.
I hope I’m not impeding that. But I’d love to keep him from it. But you know, you see it in both of us. We’re both very competitive. We stay competitive, you know, all year long, and no matter what the situation is, and that’s why I picked him for the Ryder Cup team. He competes hard every time he goes out there and he gives you everything he’s got. He was a great influence on the young players. I think it would mean a lot to both of us. It would be a pretty close tie.
Q. Is it more important given it’s been a while since you’ve won and you’re 48 or it’s so close after having devoted basically two years of split duties?
DAVIS LOVE, III: You know, I can separate a lot of things, separate the Ryder Cup with its own experience. It didn’t have anything to do with ‑‑ it shouldn’t have had to do a whole lot with me. It was about them playing and winning, giving them a great experience.
It’s nice to now be back to 100percent focus on my golf. I learned a lot watching them, certainly. I was motivated from watching them, you know. I saw things in every one of those players, especially Jason Dufner, how cool a customer he was. I was thinking that out there the other day, I’m just going to act like it’s no big deal like Jason Dufner, you know.
And I was inspired I think is a better word, to go back and play, by being that close to guys that were playing that well and watching them. I get to watch them some at Wales, but it was different. I got to stand right beside them or walk right up to them or get close, get involved in their decisions before and after play. So it was exciting. So it certainly motivated me.
But people were surprised I played the two ‑‑ or now three weeks after, but I’d had some time off. I was ready to play. This has been a weird year for me. I was out a lot in the spring with an injury, and I missed the Humana tournament at the beginning of the year, tweaked my neck a little bit. So I haven’t played enough tournaments, so it’s nice to be back in the swing of things.
Q. Apologize for bringing up the Ryder Cup. You talked about on Thursday I believe you and Zach actually were talking about coming up nine when you finished up your round. Did you and Jim have any conversations at all today?
DAVIS LOVE, III: No, not much. We might not have even talked about it at all. I don’t think we did. We had a lot of conversations, but I don’t think we got to that.
Q. How many players a year ago in any tournament would have been out in the middle of the fairway and said I want to be like Jason Dufner?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Not many. Maybe Zach Johnson because he got to spend a lot of time with him. I always try to be ‑‑ we always wanted to be cool like Freddie, so now we can be cool like Jason Dufner.
Q. What I wanted to ask you is can you make any comparisons at all to a situation or your feelings going forward with this event?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, it’s nice to be in the mix, and I played well there. I would have should have could have won like a lot of guys. Drew Love and I decided there was eight guys leaving there that should have won that tournament, and Dustin is the one that made the couple putts coming in.
But I played well there. I had a couple other weeks where I felt like I had a chance, so obviously a little more comfortable here and it’s a good spot for me.
Now I feel like I’ve played my way into this one ready to play, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.
Q. John’s going to kill me, but is it as simple as the putter? I know you’ve talked a lot about it. And you’re hitting it well over the last three weeks. Is that a difference?
DAVIS LOVE, III: Yeah, making some putts helps a lot. I missed a few today. I hit a few that I didn’t like, but yeah, I got some to go in. And I had that a couple days at Vegas and a couple days at Frys, but this week I’ve felt like this was my best Saturday putting in a while, and hopefully I can build on that.
(AP Photo/Stephen Morton)