Furyk not burdened by 0-for-7 streak with 54-hole lead

By Jason SobelAugust 23, 2014, 11:05 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. - Jim Furyk doesn't look like a man burdened by the past. He doesn't appear weighed down by final-round travails of recent years, as if each close call has chipped away at the inner walls of the section of his heart designated for worrying about such things as winning golf tournaments.

He doesn't sound burdened, either. Furyk’s as blue-collar as they come on the PGA Tour, so when he insists these myriad failures don’t bother him, it isn’t some sort of psychobabble designed to keep all negative thoughts from ever intruding on the space inside his head.

And he sure as hell doesn’t play golf burdened. Not during the first three rounds, at least, and certainly not during the first three rounds this week, as he’s raced to a share of the Barclays lead with one round to play.

That one round, though - the final round - is what has classified Furyk in the past. Even if he doesn’t look like it, even if he doesn’t sound like it, even if he doesn’t play golf like it, substandard Sunday afternoons have defined him lately.

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This will be yet another in a long line of opportunities for him to shed that classification. Tied with Jason Day and with 10 total players within two strokes of the lead, Furyk will receive yet another chance to absolve himself of those mighty sins.

The instances have been numerous.

Since the beginning of the 2012 season, he has held or shared the 54-hole lead on a PGA Tour-best seven previous occasions. He also holds the distinction of failing to convert the most 54-hole leads during this time, a figure that also numbers seven.

For a man who has triumphed 16 times in a brilliant career that has spanned parts of three decades, he bears the unfair label of a player who can’t get it done anymore under the bright spotlight of final-round pressure.

Stats are stats, of course, although this would be the proper time to offer a reminder of that old cautionary tale: There are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies and statistics.

Our memories recall the untimely tee shot at the 16th hole of the U.S. Open two years ago, duck-hooked so poorly that it remains a lasting image of his late-tournament inefficiency. We remember his foibles at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational two months later, a bunker shot that never escaped the sand leading to a final-hole double bogey and one-stroke loss.

Memories work in strange ways, though. Our memories tend to forget that Furyk has never blown up on any of these Sunday afternoons, hasn’t turned a 54-hole lead into a twilight round where he’s bringing in the flagsticks and turning off the locker room lights when he’s done.

On four of these occasions, he’s posted a sub-70 round, but still fell short. His scoring average in these seven rounds is 70.29. Only once has he shot a score over 71 – and that was a 74 at the U.S. Open, where 74s aren’t considered such vile creatures.

Perhaps that’s why Furyk’s own memory doesn’t work in the same manner as so many others. Maybe that’s why, when he’s asked about the failures and struggles and all of the bad things that have happened to him on Sundays in the last few years, he simply shrugs off any rationale for them.

“It's done; it's over,” he said. “I've thought about those situations and how I could handle them better. … Just put it behind me and try to use it to my advantage in the future.”

He won’t block them from his mind, but he likewise won’t use them as inspiration for this next opportunity, either. He won’t feel an extra twinge of adrenaline just to prove the doubters wrong or erase any negative sentiments about him.

“I don't need any motivation. Sitting tied for the lead in a big of golf tournament on a golf course that I really enjoy playing and have a lot of respect for. I think it's a great golf course. No extra motivation needed. I'm just happy to be in a good spot and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Happy. There aren’t many players who would employ that adjective when shouldering a similar load to what Furyk has endured over the last few years. There aren’t many who would look at an 0-for-7 record when holding a 54-hole lead and relish the next chance for success more than being frightful of the next chance for failure.

So maybe that’s what defines Furyk, more than the labels about Sunday struggles. He doesn’t mind getting knocked down and dirty, then picking himself up and dusting himself off and getting ready to for another opportunity.

He doesn’t look burdened by it, doesn’t sound burdened by it and doesn’t play golf like he’s burdened by it. Breaking that streak this time will help unburden those who don’t believe it.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry