Furyk: No one should feel sorry for me

By Will GrayJuly 29, 2014, 10:43 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Since the 2010 Tour Championship, Jim Furyk has teed it up in 87 PGA Tour events.

He has 26 top-10 finishes across that span, including six runner-ups, and has made just over $12.5 million.

What he doesn’t have is a win.

It’s been nearly four years since Furyk lifted both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup trophies in the rain at East Lake, and since then the 44-year-old has discovered a variety of ways to lose a golf tournament.

He has seen heartbreak, like two years ago at Firestone when a double bogey on the 72nd hole handed the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational to Keegan Bradley.

“I lost the tournament here to Keegan,” Furyk said Tuesday as if two years has done little to assuage the pain from that particular defeat.

He has been in position to win but simply has been beaten by a better player, like last year at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

“Jason Dufner outplayed me,” he said. “I got no bones with that.”

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Then there are the instances when Furyk’s final-round lead evaporated at the hands of a player who got hot at the right time. It happened last year at the BMW Championship, when Zach Johnson passed him two days after Furyk shot a 59 at Conway Farms. It happened again last week, when Tim Clark snatched the RBC Canadian Open from him with a back-nine 30.

“No one hit it better than me in that tournament, I’ll promise you that,” Furyk said two days after losing to Clark by a shot. “I should have won that tournament, and I did not. My hat’s off to him because he did everything he needed to to win, and I did not.”

Make no mistake, each close call comes with a sizeable consolation prize. Furyk is now over $60 million in career earnings, and trails only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh on the PGA Tour’s all-time money list. He has clinched another spot on the Ryder Cup team and will represent the U.S. for the ninth straight time.

But watching another player hold a trophy that was nearly his weighs on Furyk, and he admitted as much as he prepares for tournament No. 88 since his last victory.

“Each time I finish second, it definitely is testing my ability to be positive,” he said. “It’s a mental grind, if that makes sense, more than anything.”

Furyk’s current drought, which includes a streak of seven times failing to win after holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead, is yet another example that winning on the PGA Tour isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not as easy as Woods made it look over the last 17 years.

“Great players don’t win all the time,” said Gary Woodland, whose four top-10 finishes this season include a playoff loss at the CIMB Classic. “It’s hard to do. There’s tough competition out here from top to bottom.”

Jordan Spieth broke records when he won at age 19 last summer, but a successful 2014 campaign has yet to include a victory. While his close calls don’t resemble the heartache endured by Furyk, he echoed many of the veteran’s sentiments.

“It’s just like with a round of golf, once you get one to go your way it can open the floodgates,” Spieth said. “It’s tough when you come up short. I don’t care if I’m at a club championship or at a major, I want to win and it stings when you can’t close the deal.”

For Furyk, that sting has been somewhat negated this year by his impending Ryder Cup berth, especially after being left off the Presidents Cup squad at Muirfield Village last fall.

“I start out every year wanting to make the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup team,” Furyk said. “I didn’t know if the last one would be the last, and I’m glad it’s not.”

He also employs the perspective of a man who has been on the PGA Tour for more than two decades.

“I’m not really a ‘feel sorry for me’ type of person,” he said. “I get to do what I love to do for a living. I play a game. I get to make a pretty darn good living doing it.

“I would venture that close to 100 percent of the world’s not going to feel too bad for me, and I don’t think they should.”

Even without a victory, Furyk’s season should be seen as a success. His trio of runner-up finishes include The Players Championship, and he has netted a top-15 in each of the first three majors.

But with each passing week, the burden to re-enter the winner’s circle grows as the memories of his most recent triumph continue to fade.

After another layer of scar tissue was created last week in Canada, will Furyk hesitate the next time he finds himself in contention?

Not exactly.

“What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? I finish second again,” he said. “So it’s not the end of the world. I’ll be firing at the pin again, and I’ll be trying to bury the last hole. It will happen eventually.”

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

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It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.