Jim Furyk on hitting his prime at 40 and his future in the broadcast booth
You're 40 years old, but you're coming off your best season with three wins and the $10 million FedEx Cup title. Do you consider yourself in your prime?
I do. I'm in my 18th season, so I'm on the back end of my career, but I still think I'm in my prime.
What are your goals for this year and the next five years? Can you be a player like Kenny Perry, knocking on the door at majors as you're pushing 50?
I think a lot of it has to do with your will. Fred Funk is not a long hitter. You see some guys stop at 40, 45, and sometimes it's a length issue, but more often than not guys get involved in different activities. They get involved in business ventures or their kids are getting older and they want to spend more time with family. Whatever it may be, golf takes a second or third or fourth priority, and when that happens you're not going to be able to compete as well.
Last year you made your fewest starts (21) since 2004 but had your best year. Coincidence?
Possibly, but possibly not – I was in a good frame of mind, I was well rested. I would have played one more if I hadn't overslept [at The Barclays] in New Jersey.
Do you feel like the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2007 was the one that got away?
As far as majors, I've had my chances. I really had a good opportunity to win at Augusta in '98; I had a chance to win at Birkdale, for the British, in '98; and then I had back-to- back U.S. Opens, '06 and '07, where I lost by a shot. Augusta maybe [wasn't as close as] the other three, so I don't know if I would call that one that got away. You have your opportunities and sometimes you take advantage, sometimes you don't.
Where do you keep your FedEx Cup trophy?
Right now it doesn't really have a spot. It's just kind of at the house, downstairs. I guess it's sitting in the dining room. It's not in a case. We don't have an official trophy case at home. It's out for people to take a look at it and see it. I think that's where it is.
You were 179th in driving distance last year. Are you trying to get longer, or did winning the FedEx Cup put to rest the myth that distance equals wins?
I would say everyone's trying to get longer, but I don't want to do it at the expense of my game. I will do it this year for sure because of my equipment.
The new TaylorMade driver?
New ball, new driver – I'm already longer than I was last year. I'm not saying I'm not going to finish 179th again, but I know my distance and average is going to go up. I have the ability to hit it 10 yards farther than I was last year. That's a lot, but I've been of average length for my entire career, and I've been able to stay in the top 10 in the world for a long time.
A Tour pro leads a pretty busy life. If you had a 25th hour in the day, what would you do with it?
Play more ball with my kids.
Baseball, softball, basketball, throw a football, go fishing, whatever – do some more athletic activities with my kids. They're 7 and 8, so they do a little of everything.
You look pretty serious on the course. Can you recall something, a movie or a playing partner, that gave you a good laugh recently?
Every day. I've got a terrible memory, though. I'm pretty happy-go-lucky and sarcastic and give my buddies at home some crap. I'm not very serious off the golf course; it's just the way I play my best on the course.
Tour watchers hear a lot from Johnny Miller, Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo on the golf telecasts. Who's your favorite?
I watch so little golf, I'm not sure – all the anchors are pretty darn good. Nantz has the voice and I like watching NBC telecasts as well. I think Roger Maltbie's funny. I'm more tuned into the interview aspect of it. I like Steve Sands on the Golf Channel – I like him as a person, I like the interviews. You tend to give the guys you like a little more time – by the way, I need to get going soon.
How would you be as a broadcaster?
I've done four days, a couple of days at Kapalua and a couple of days at the Players, but it's always been a situation where somebody tees me up and it's been very easy.
Were you any good?
I don't know. I sat next to Ian Baker-Finch for two days, and they would ask very easy questions and make it very easy for me to answer. I could play the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass and Kapalua in my sleep, so describing the shots was pretty easy. Everyone was kind of taking care of me. I think I could do okay at it, but I'm sure there's a learning curve. Being an anchor – that's a knack that I will never have.
Let's say you win the Masters in your 15th try. What's on the menu for the Champions Dinner?
Wow, I can pick anything? I'd have to pick some ethnic food. My mom's Czech and Polish and my dad's Ukrainian and Hungarian. My mom's favorite dish, and my favorite that she makes, is chicken and dumplings, so a chicken paprikash. I would have to go with maybe a ham and some pierogi – get a little hunky in there, as we call it back in the Pittsburgh area.
It's like a mutt – you've got a lot of ethnic background in you. That would be me. I'm a mutt.
Where do you think you have the best shot at winning a major in 2011 – Augusta National, Congressional, St. Georges or Atlanta Athletic Club?
If I had to pick one, I'd say Congo – Congressional. The U.S. Open's been good to me, and I like the golf course. I think all of the majors set up better for me than they did last year. St. Andrews is not my style, Pebble's okay, and Whistling Straits is not much my style.
Last year was a bomber's paradise.
I believe it was, yes.
How does that sandy at the last at East Lake rate in your career?
It's hard to rank moments, and it's hard to rank years. I think 2010 was my best year – I won three times, and I'd never done that before. I won the FedEx Cup. I was consistent. I was Player of the Year – that has to be your best year. I've had some other big ones, '03 and '06 come to mind. The big moments when I look back have been winning my first Tour event, winning my first major – those you never forget. That shot last year meant a lot, though – winning the tournament, the FedEx Cup and Player of the Year all rested on my ability to get up and down, and I was able to do it. At the time I was able to separate that from the shot and think about what I needed to do, but looking back, it was probably, yeah, under the circumstances, it was one of the best shots or the best shot I've hit.
You were wearing your hat backward and really let loose after you tapped in your final putt. When was the last time you showed that much emotion?
Well, the hat was turned backward because the water was dripping – you think of your eyes being over the ball – it was dripping right close to the ball. When I've won I've showed a lot of emotion. When I won at Tampa last year it was relief, because I hadn't won in a long time, and it was hard to show a lot of emotion at Hilton Head because with what happened to Brian [Davis, who had imposed a penalty on himself], it would have been disrespectful. But as far as fist-pumping and stuff, I've done it at Ryder Cups. I showed a lot of emotion at Valhalla. I scare my kids once in a while at home watching the Steelers.