Last week we asked you to send us the questions you wanted to ask Jim Furyk. GOLF Magazine editor at large Connell Barrett sat down with the world No. 3 near his home in Jacksonville, Fla. and put your questions to him. What did we learn? He wants to be Superman and no, he doesn't want to stay with you during a tournament.
Jim, my grandmother was your seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Zwally. What lessons from school do you still apply to your life, on or off the course?
James R. Parsons
There's a very simple lesson: the harder you work, the more results you see. My dad was a hard worker, maybe to a fault. I think what was given to me is that if you go out there and work hard, you can achieve what you want. Just because you work hard today doesn't mean you're going to see the results tomorrow, but be patient, because eventually you will. As far as a golf lesson, I would come home and I'd tell my dad how I was doing. He wanted me to always check where I was lined up and the line the golf ball starts on. If you know where you're aiming, you can figure out a lot of your shots.
Back to grade school: can you remember when you got in the most trouble? Demerits, detention, anything like that?
That's your question! You don't get a follow-up! These are readers' questions.
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Jim, I started using your putting routine where you stand over the ball, then step out of it and restart the routine, but my friends started mocking me, even though I was putting great. Has anyone ever teased you about it?
I think it bothers the camera guys more than me. But no, if I'd let things like that bother me, with the way I swing, I never would have made the PGA Tour. My advice is to get in their pocket and not worry about it.
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If 150 yards was the maximum distance a golf hole could be, how many majors would you have won?
More than one. My strength is from 120 yards and in-short game, chipping, putting. One of my other strengths is driving accuracy. In most major championships, length isn't an issue; very few majors are won because of length. Maybe Daly dominating at St. Andrews or Tiger at Bethpage. But a lot of those courses aren't set up so power dominates. It's about getting the ball in play, being able to work the ball and hit a lot of golf shots. Probably one of my weaknesses is that I'm not very long, so I've never cracked the Top 100 [in driving distance]. I don't feel like it's held me back in most majors. It might have held be back in the normal Tour set-up. I'd like to think more than one, but who knows.
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What cartoon character do you want to be like?
My favorite cartoons as a kid I was a simple person so I was a big Tom & Jerry fan, but I didn't really admire the two of them. Tom [was competitive], but in a never-winning sort of way. I watch more cartoons now because I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. There's Shrek, and Monster's Inc. I'll go with Superman, for obvious reasons.
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What's the biggest personal sacrifice you made in getting to No. 2 in the world?
Golf is a solitary sport. As a kid, I spent a lot of time away from my friends, missing going out some nights because I'd have a tournament the next day. You're practicing and working hard, and growing up it meant not being a regular kid. I love doing it, but I treat it like an occupation. Right now what's most difficult is being away from family. My daughter's going to start school in the fall, and my kids and wife will not be traveling with me like in the past. The biggest thing in my sport is having an understanding wife. The silver lining is, when you're home you're really home. You don't have to get in the car and go to work at 8 a.m. You can be home during the day, drive the kids to school and watch their after-school activities. When you're home you're really home, but when you're away you're really away. You miss big chunks.
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Which accomplishment do you cherish more: getting to No. 2 in the world or winning the U.S. Open?
Winning the U.S. Open. No. 2 in the world is fun, it's nice, but not even close in importance. We all play to win major championships. That's the ultimate goal. The ranking is nice, and it goes along with playing well, but I'd rather be 10 in the world and win two majors than win one and be No. 2. No one will remember what I was ranked in 25 years, but they'll remember if I win a few U.S. Opens, that's for sure.
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Jim, when you play the Tiger Invitational, would you and your wife like to stay in my guest room and let me be your chauffer? I live 20 minutes from the course.
[Laughs] Twenty minutes sounds way too far. And then with, let me see, two kids, a nanny and a dog that adds to the degree of difficulty. We're like a traveling circus and we need lots and lots and lots of room, but I appreciate the offer.
For asking the best question, Steve wins a TaylorMade SuperQuad driver, the very club that Jim Furyk plays.
• User Reviews: TaylorMade SuperQuad driver
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Who are your best friends on Tour and what do you do together for fun? And who is your favorite guy to play a round with?
Everyone always asks most favorite, least favorite. Who you play with is not really that important. Everyone wants to play with someone who's a fun, friendly guy, someone who doesn't play slow. I like playing with Jay Haas and Jeff Sluman. Late on Sunday I want to be playing with Tiger because he's usually leading the damn tournament.
My closest friends in the whole wide world people I would turn to for advice about life would be people that aren't on the PGA Tour. I consider a lot of people friends on Tour: Justin Leonard, Phil M., Tiger Woods, Jeff Sluman, Dudley Hart, Tim Herron, all those guys are friends. I usually see them in practice rounds or hanging out in the locker room. My wife and kids travel with me, and I spend a lot of time [with them]. If my family isn't traveling with me, [my Tour friends] and I will try to get away from golf and blow off some steam. Have dinner, go to the movies.
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Can you pinpoint the moment when you realized, Hey, I'm good enough to play golf for a living?
My first year on the PGA Tour was 1994 and my second event was the Tucson Open. I was tied for the lead after three rounds I shot 31 on the back nine on Saturday. On Sunday I played OK. I shot 1-under, 71, and finished tied for seventh. I lacked experience and maybe some confidence, and was a little nervous. I realized at that point that I wasn't maybe as consistent as the best players on Tour, but I belonged out there, that I could compete and win at that level if I played very well. That's a great feeling, but you still have to go out and play. I had had some friends make the Tour before and they said it hit them like a ton of bricks: they had achieved their goal getting to the Tour, and then they thought, "Oh, shit, I've got to play against the best players in the world!"
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What's your favorite beer when you just want to kick back?
Yuengling Lager. That's from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in eastern P. A., where I grew up. They have a brewery here, and I think they just brought the Stroh's brewery in Tampa, so it's all over Florida, and when I came here I was jumping up and down, and my friends in Florida had no idea what it was. Being from Pennsylvania, when I was home from college, that's all anyone ever drank, that was the most popular beer.
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Who's in your dream foursome of non-golfers to play with?
If I was in a dream, I wouldn't be playing golf. If I want to go out and enjoy myself, a good weekend would be catching a college football game and then a pro game. Steelers. My wife went to Ohio State, so I'd like to go see the Buckeyes on a Saturday, drive to Pittsburgh, see a game on Sunday. That's a perfect weekend. But if I had to pick three people, you're talking like a Nelson Mandela, who I got to meet at the President's Cup. That was pretty fascinating. I got to shake his hand. The things that he's done in his life. I'm a huge sports fan so I get a big kick out of playing golf with other athletes. I'm in awe of someone being able to knock down a 30 footer to win a basketball game with three people hanging on him. A Michael Jordan would be great. Our 41st president was pretty cool. He's a big supporter of golf. Hey, maybe it's not the most exciting collection of guys, but it's my collection.
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