Thursday, December 12, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
Jim Furyk, right and his caddie Mike "Fluff" Cowan look out from the third tee during the second round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Furyk posted a single round 59, tying the PGA Tour record. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
“There’s not much I could have improved on today,” Furyk said.
For a change, everything went right at the end. Furyk has been haunted in the last two years with a bogey on the 16th hole that cost him a shot at the 2012 U.S. Open, a double bogey at Firestone last year that kept him from winning a World Golf Championship, a bogey-bogey finish in the Ryder Cup to lose a key match to Garcia last year in Chicago, and a one-shot lead he failed to hold just last month at the PGA Championship.
Making it worse, he was left off a U.S. team for the first time in 15 years when Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples did not make him a wild-card selection. On this day, Furyk gave Couples 59 reasons to reconsider.
Furyk described himself as “grouchy” on Thursday after having breakfast with two friends, Steve Stricker and Johnson, who were talking about the Presidents Cup.
“But I felt like last night I kind of kicked myself in the rear end and said, ‘You know, it’s done with. It’s over with. There’s nothing I can do to change it now. It’s over and let’s just focus on this week.”’
Furyk was striking the ball so well in the windy conditions — he hit every fairway and missed only one green — that he made only three putts longer than 12 feet, including a 15-foot par putt on the 16th hole. He opened with three straight birdies, holed out from the fairway on the 15th for an eagle, finished with two birdies and had a 28 on his card.
Furyk realized a 4 under on the front nine would give him that magic number. It looked promising when he rolled in a 25-foot birdie on the third, and his 4-iron on the fourth hole bounced toward the flag and settled 5 feet away. He was 11 under through 13 holes, needing one more birdie.
And then he three-putted for bogey from 30 feet.
The key to his round might have come at No. 7, when he holed a birdie putt from just inside 12 feet to get back to 11 under.
Two holes, one birdie, and a 59. Even in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the math was that simple. And he knew with a par 5 at the eighth and a front pin on the ninth, he would have two good chances. He came up short of the green on No. 8 and made par, and then played the ninth to perfection.
Brian Davis, who had finished an hour earlier, came back to the ninth green to watch Furyk finish. Johnson finished when Furyk still had two holes to play and was told about his bid for 59.
“He’s on No. 8 to go to 59? I don’t have anything to say about that. That is ridiculous,” Johnson said.
Furyk signed his glove with “59” and the date beneath his signature for the World Golf Hall of Fame. He signed leftover golf balls for the volunteers helping his group. And then, he reached into his pocket and pulled out another golf ball.
“That’s the one that went in on 9,” he said with a grin. “And it’s staying with me.”