by Jeff Skinner
Jim Furyk may have found his golf game along the firm fairways of Firestone Country Club. After an opening 63 he leads the WGC Bridgestone Invitational by two strokes. Coming off a missed cut at The Canadian Open Furyk took some time this week to decompress at home in Florida. Since he missed his chance at a second U.S. Open this past June (he tied for fourth after a poor final round) his game had left him. His last four starts since the Open went T34, missed cut, T34 and another missed cut. That’s a very “Un-Furyk like” stretch.
The 2003 U.S. Open Champion is known for hitting fairways, dropping putts and making tons of cash on the PGA Tour. Furyk has bounced back from an off 2011 where he had no wins and finished 53rd on the money list. In 2010 he earned $4.8 million and was second in earnings, in 2009 seventh, in 2008 twelfth and in 2007 he was seventh.
He was playing well going into the Open with four top tens and good finishes at the Colonial and The Memorial. On Sunday at Olympic he had a chance but was done in by the trees along the canted fairways of the Lake Course.
So when he failed to defend his back to back wins at The Canadian Open he flew home. “I think more than anything I needed a little time to clear my head,” Furyk said. “It wasn’t anything that was going wrong, (but) why I wasn’t playing better. I just felt like I needed to come in here and quit concentrating on trying to be so mechanically sound and just go play some golf and try to score and get the ball in the hole a little bit. It worked today. I did a lot better job of scoring.
“It’s been a while since I made seven birdies and an eagle in a round,” he said. “So it was a lot of fun.”
I’m comfortable with Furyk in the lead. He may not have been anyone’s pre-tournament pick for the Bridgestone but he found something and it just feels good with Furyk in the lead. He’s like an old comfortable shirt you wear around the house or a pair of your favorite shorts you throw on when you are kickin back.
You know what you are going to get with Jim Furyk: fairways and greens, honest answers and always a calm, kind demeanor. He’ll never say the wrong thing or say anything controversial. If he does voice an unusual opinion you know it’s from the heart. The only time I can remember Furyk ever speaking in anything but his calm way was at the 2010 Ryder Cup when a reporter questioned the American team’s commitment. He jumped in and steadfastly defended his team and cut the reporter off.
Furyk will need some good finishes to make his beloved Ryder Cup Team. Right now he’s fifteenth in the standings and would need a captain’s pick to join his friends at Medinah.
It’s good to see Furyk fight back, regain his form and make a run at the WGC. He’s one of the good guys and I’ll take him any day of the week, Five Hour Energy logos and all.