Woods has only one PGA Tour victory this year, and none under a stroke-play format.
That could mean a long and winless season for Furyk in 2005.
Each of Furyks last four tour victories has come when Woods was the defending champion. It started at the 2001 Mercedes Championships. Furyk then ended Tigers three-year reign at the Memorial Tournament in 2002. He took the U.S. Open trophy away from Woods in 2003, and then did the same later that year at the Buick Open.
He even won the 2003 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, where Woods, though not in attendance last year, was the previous years winner.
Ironically, Woods claimed his first tour title in the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational, where Furyk was the defending champion.
The good news for Furyk is that Woods still has one more tournament to defend this season, the WGC-American Express Championship, meaning one more opportunity to steal away his title.
But for now, Furyk will focus on trying to defend his own title at the Buick Open.
This easily could have been Furyks first event since undergoing surgery on his left wrist in March. But, of course, he returned in June for the U.S. Open, and has played the Western Open and British Open.
He tied for 48th at Shinnecock and then tied for seventh at Cog Hill, before missing the cut at Royal Troon.
Furyk said at the Western Open that his wrist, which had to be repaired for torn cartilage, is fine, but that he is still being cautious.
'I have to be patient. It's going to take some time to get back to where I was at the end of last year,' he said. I have to be very wise about the amount of time I put in right now. I'm very capable of playing 72 holes and finishing the tournament, but not beating balls every day.
While Furyk is still trying to find his feel, Woods is still in search of some consistency.
If its not one thing going wrong, its another.
At the British Open, Woods was on-par with his seasonal averages in Driving Accuracy and Greens Hit in Regulation, but was sub-par in Putting.
For the year, Woods is hitting 57.8 percent of his fairways and 64.9 percent of his greens in regulation. At the Open, he hit 57.1 percent and 65.3 percent, respectively.
But on the greens, where he is second on tour averaging 1.729 putts per green in regulation, he was 53rd in the field at Royal Troon with a 1.830 average.
This is Tigers one tournament between the British and the PGA Championship. He has played the tournament five times and has three top-4 finishes.
Woods tied for eighth place in his tournament debut in 1997. He tied for fourth in 1998; tied for 11th in 2000; won in 2002; and was runner-up last year.
He shot four rounds in the 60s a year ago, but was unable to overcome Furyks 21-under-par 267 performance.
This is the 45th playing of the Buick Open. Tony Lema is the only repeat winner, doing so in 1964-65. Julius Boros (1963, 67) is the only other two-time champion.
The event will be staged at Warwick Hills Country Club (par 72, 7,127 yards) in Grand Blanc, Mich., for the 27th consecutive year, and the 38th time overall.
The purse has been raised $500,000 to $4.5 million. The winner will now receive $810,000, compared to $720,000 last year.