Furyk perfect fit to continue Ryder Cup success

By Rex HoggardJanuary 11, 2017, 6:15 pm

HONOLULU – Jim Furyk was named the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup captain on Wednesday.

Those who savor the contentious side of life will point to Furyk’s record in the biennial matches – a 10-20-4 card that, like most statistics, doesn’t really tell the entire tale – and a largely losing history when it comes to Samuel Ryder’s chalice.

Furyk, who will be 48 when the U.S. team takes the field next year outside of Paris, was there when the American team dropped a four-point advantage in 2012 at Medinah and again in ’14 when they were boat-raced by the Europeans in Scotland.

To some, the affable and thoughtful Furyk, along with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, is the face of American futility in the matches. It’s guilt by association, and it’s blatantly misplaced.

From a practical perspective, the Ryder Cup committee, which was born from 2014’s task force and includes a mix of players and PGA of America executives, would be challenged to find a suitable candidate to captain the next few teams who has a winning record, the byproduct of six losses in the last eight bouts for the United States.

From a more personal standpoint, Furyk represents all that is endearing about the U.S. Ryder Cup effort. He’s been classy in defeat, pivotal in victory (2008) and was a key member of Davis Love III’s staff last year when the Americans finally broke the Continent’s hold on the Ryder Cup.



He’s thoughtful, engaging and always accommodating with the media, which in this age of mass appeal is a crucial component of being a captain, and he had played on every team since 1997 before last year’s matches.

But most importantly, he is a player and he will be a player’s captain.

“He has as much knowledge as anyone, the only person I would say with similar knowledge would be Phil [Mickelson],” Jordan Spieth said on Monday at Waialae Country Club. “Those guys have seen everything. They’ve seen success, they’ve seen the scar tissue in the Ryder Cup.”

Although he may have embraced his role as vice captain last year at Hazeltine National reluctantly after missing much of the year with an injury that likely cost him a spot in Love’s lineup, he assumed a position of leadership long before being given the keys to his own team golf cart.

Spieth recalled that when he first arrived on Tour he was intimidated by Furyk’s intensity, but that quickly changed.

“He’s become probably the most approachable person since I’ve been on the PGA Tour,” Spieth said. “He’s been an extremely good role model for me in the way he practices and the way he comes off away from the course.”

At the 2014 matches at Gleneagles, Spieth was a member of Furyk’s “pod,” which included Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar. It wasn’t an accident that the then-Ryder Cup rookie was grouped with Furyk, whose calm demeanor and experience were crucial.

“He’s a guy that can step into that captain’s role and listen to what everyone has to say and make you think that there are bits and pieces he likes and bit pieces where he’s thinking differently,” Spieth said. “He’s an easy guy to talk to and to believe when he tells you what he’s thinking.”

After Mickelson, who assumed something of a playing vice captain role last year and is likely slated to captain the ’24 team at Bethpage in New York, Furyk is the most obvious choice to continue the work that began with last year’s victory (and make no mistake, those involved view the ’16 matches as only the beginning).

“Phil and Amy [Mickelson] are big time leaders and Jim and [wife Tabitha] are big time leaders as well,” Spieth said. “That really is important in a Ryder Cup team room, having both sides, having leadership together as a couple.”

But most importantly, Furyk’s selection makes sense to those who have played alongside him at the game’s most intense gathering because of his proven commitment and passion.

“He’s so well respected and has a really good understanding of the match play portion, the teammate stuff,” said Stewart Cink, who played with Furyk on five Ryder Cup teams. “He’s been playing for a long time and still plays and is around the players. That and a competitive fire that is matched by a very few is what it takes to be a Ryder Cup captain.”

There’ll be those who will consider Furyk’s appointment a step backward for the U.S. Ryder Cup system after last year’s emotional triumph, but to those who have played with him, who will play for him in France, he’s the perfect choice.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."