Furyk Leads BMW; Woods Questions Rules, Again


Jim Furyk followed up yesterday's historic 59 with a solid 69 to take the lead in the BMW Championship. But, like A-Rod in Major League Baseball, the headlines seem to be about Tiger Woods and his questioning, still, of a ruling in yesterday's round.

It seems Woods is wondering if, indeed, his ball had "moved" (meaning there should be a penalty) or "oscillated" (meaning there should be no penalty). He reviewed the video several times afterward, and still maintains that his ball had merely oscillated (meaning it did not change positions). The resulting two-stroke penalty has now placed Woods 4-strokes behind Furyk going into the final round.

But during today's third round, Woods couldn't let it go. "It's hard," Woods said in an interview when asked how difficult it was to concentrate during Saturday's round. "When situations like that happen, I had to fight, and I fought my tail off today, and I'm very proud of that, and I got myself back in the tournament. You know, there were a lot of thoughts going on (Friday) night."
< br> This is not the first time this year that a penalty might prove costly to Woods. In Abu Dhabi earlier this year an incorrect drop led to a two-stroke penalty and consequently a missed cut for Woods. At the Masters, he was penalized again for taking an incorrect drop after his ball ricocheted into the water on the 15th hole during the second round. He wasn't issued that penalty until the following morning and began his round four shots back instead of just two, and the penalty, and Woods' reaction to it as to whether he should have disqualified himself for it, reverberated throughout the golf world for weeks afterward.

Meanwhile, yes there is a tournament going on, and yes, Furyk is leading, while Steve Stricker had the best round of the day - a 7-under par 64 - to climb into second place, just a shot behind Furyk. Snedeker, who started the day tied with Furyk, could manage only an even par round, and sits in third, two shots back. Zach Johnson has quietly cobbled together a solid tournament and sits just three shots out. And then there is Woods, alone in fourth.

So, let's get back to what is important in this tournament, and focus on some good golf, which today was Stricker's round. Here is how he summed up his day, and a few other things "in the news."

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Steve Stricker. Steve, if you want to talk about the highlights to your round. This equals your best round in 73 rounds at the BMW Championship. Then we'll have a few questions.

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it was a good day. You know, I had a number in mind at the start of the day, which I typically don't do, but 8 under was kind of in the back of my mind to try to get to 13 for the day at the end of the day, and I thought that wouldn't be too far away. Came up a little bit short, but all in all, good day. I gave myself a lot of opportunities, I made some nice putts, drove the ball nicely, and then holing the shot at 15 always helps things out and something that I needed to give me that little bit closer.

Q. What was the club on 15?

STEVE STRICKER: It was a sand wedge. I think I had 94 yards 99. I had just under 100 yards.

Q. What was the club before that?

STEVE STRICKER: 4 iron. Why do you got to bring up the negative all the time? It hit off the left stands there. It was a pretty good break, really. It was a pretty good break, coming back to the fairway. I misjudged the firmness of the green there. I thought I hit a pretty nice chip and hit it right on the edge of the green there and it was pretty hard, took off the spin off. But yeah, I just overcooked that 4 iron in there. I tried to send it out to the right and draw it in there and just pulled it at the same time.

Q. Your eagle, have you ever had a pitch that far that went right in the jar?

STEVE STRICKER: Not that I can remember. I mean, I've holed out a few wedges over my career, but I don't know if any of them slam dunked in that like. Yeah, that was it's a shock to see something like that go in. I mean, the line obviously looked good, but distance wise you never know where it's going to really come down, and to see it just disappear and hear the clank of the pin is kind of a shock.

Q. I didn't get to see the tee shot. Could you describe the thought off the tee and the interesting strategy of that hole seeing as it was pretty close, a shorter hole today?

STEVE STRICKER: 15? Yeah, it gets you guessing not guessing, it gets you thinking there. It was downwind there today. I didn't even look to see what the yardage was to the front of the green. I mean, for me I can't fly it up on that green. I would have been in one of those bunkers short of the green probably. My only thought was maybe to hit a 3 wood and kind of get in right in front of the green in the fairway.

But you know, for me it's probably just a smarter play to lay it up there under 100 yards and try to do something with a wedge. You know, you hate to not give yourself an opportunity ton a hole like that when it's playing that short, so you just try to for me I'm not a big hitter so I just want to make sure I've got a wedge in my hand.

Q. The goal number that you talked about, how much was that influenced by what you saw Jim Furyk do yesterday? Did that just change how you perceived the scoring on this course?

STEVE STRICKER: Not really. I mean, that was an incredible round yesterday. I didn't see a 59 out there yesterday. And then Kuchar got 61 today, and I knew the conditions were going to be a bit easier today than they were yesterday.

But it's still very challenging. I mean, even though the scores are good, but there's some bad scores, too. The greens are firm. Some are firmer than others, depending on where you hit it on the green. Some of the greens are more exposed so they are firmer. Some are softer and holding. So it's a challenge sometimes to figure out what's going to release and what's going to hold, and then the speed of the greens are pretty fast.
And it's a course we haven't played very much on, so it all gives you a little bit of uneasy feeling, so you've got to be careful going around here. I always knew there was good scores out there, I didn't know there was a 59 out there. No, it really didn't have much influence. I was just trying to get to 13 under.

Q. When you decided at the beginning of the year that you were going to scale back your schedule, did you imagine you might be able to perform as well as you have under that situation?
STEVE STRICKER: No. Not really. I really had no expectations. I was just going to go about my business, play fewer events. Really didn't play on playing much in the Playoffs, and then happened to finish second last week, and then it made me start thinking, well, shoot, I've got a chance to win this thing, I'd better play.

Kind of unexpected. I thought I could continue to play well. Nothing was changing on that end of it. But to be in the position I'm in now, being in the top 10, being in contention here, we've still got a day left, but it's exciting to be a part of it.

Q. What do you attribute it to?

STEVE STRICKER: You know, I think just a good balance. I've got a good balance in my life. I'm happy with what I'm doing. I'm comfortable with the decisions I've made along the way, and that goes a lot. When you're off the course, life is in good shape, makes things a little bit easier to do out here on the road.

Q. When you play a schedule that's just over half of what you normally do, does your expectations of winning a tournament by the end of the year decrease any?

STEVE STRICKER: Decrease?

Q. In other words, I'm sure you start every year wanting to win, but when you're only playing a 50 percent schedule, do you expect to as much as you normally do?

STEVE STRICKER: You know, I think my expectations, they really did not change I don't think. I think I was I've been a little bit easier on myself. I come out fresher. I come out with a better attitude. I'm excited to be at each and every tournament.

I think that's been good. You know, I think there's a little bit more pressure to win because I'm playing in fewer events, but I don't I'm not worried about that. I feel like that'll come, and trying to win always is a hard thing and sometimes you get in your own way when you try to win, and if you just go out there and I've always just tried to go and play my own game and do the things I do and see what happens at the end.

You know, I don't do anything really flashy or anything, I just kind of plod myself along, I think, and sometimes that's good enough, sometimes it's not. But consistency is what I kind of pride myself on, and I figured I could continue to do that even playing in a limited schedule.

Q. You spoke earlier this week about the importance of moving inside the top 5, and obviously you put yourself in position to do just that. How much will you pay attention to that, if any, tomorrow?

STEVE STRICKER: I won't pay attention to that part so much as trying to win the tournament and trying to get playing a good round tomorrow and getting right in there in the thick of things and having a chance coming down the stretch. So that's what I'm going to be paying attention to tomorrow, and then all that other stuff kind of takes care of itself. You kind of save that for next week, I think. Looking at your position on the FedExCup list, you can really watch the board next week when you're playing, but this week you're still it's still a golf tournament. You've still got to try to shoot a score and try to shoot a score better than your other competitor and see if that's good enough.

Q. With the way the back nine is playing, you were 5 under, do you have a number now about what it might take to win tomorrow?

STEVE STRICKER: Not at all. I mean, the weather is going to be an issue, I imagine, from what I've heard and seen. We're expecting some rain, which could create some better scoring to tell you the truth. If the greens get some moisture in them and we can be a little bit more aggressive into the holes, into the pins, then guys tend to go low in softer conditions. And these conditions here are pretty firm at times. We're just going to have to wait and see what the weather brings, I think, and if there's wind involved, cold, I don't think it's supposed to be very warm tomorrow, so just kind of got to play it by ear and see what happens.

Q. Success often breeds imitation. Because of the season you've had, can you imagine other players scaling back their schedules, or do you think you're an anomaly because of your unique circumstances?

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, good question. You know, I've talked to a few players this year that have asked me a thing or two about my schedule and what I've been doing and how come I come out and still play at a fairly high level at times. You know, there's some guys, I think, that think about it. And doing it for me was the hard part. I thought about it for a lot of years. But actually doing it is another step.

Yeah, I think there's some guys that may see that and try it, but yeah, it may not be for everybody. I think I'm kind of a unique I came from a unique area because we didn't play all year round, so it's like, I feel like I need to get away from it at times. I never grew up in Florida where we played 12 months out of the year. All throughout my career, when it comes to August and September, I'm ready to set them down, so that hasn't changed, and I think that's what led to some of my decision, as well.

Q. Just curious if you happened to see any highlights of Tiger's ruling on TV, and does it seem odd or bizarre to you at all that so many ruling disputes have happened with one player this year?

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it is odd. I didn't see it. No, I didn't he said it oscillated. I read about it. I didn't actually see the footage of it. You know, and they determined that it had moved.

Yeah, you know, the rules are tough, and there's always a fine line between oscillating and moving. A player can see it as one thing and the camera is going to obviously pick it up differently. But if you're not really paying attention, you could see it as maybe just oscillating. Same with on the putting green. If the wind blows there's times you may not even know that it moved, and the camera can pick it up. So it's tough.

But yeah, it is unfortunate that he's been at the center of this about three times, I think, this year. I don't know why, if it's just because all the TV is on him all the time or what, but I didn't see it yesterday.

MODERATOR: Thanks for your time, Steve. Good luck tomorrow.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.


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