Notes Furyk on the Mend

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PGA TourU.S. Open champion Jim Furyk rarely watches golf on TV, although he made an exception for the final two rounds of the Masters - not because it was a great tournament. Rather, his options are limited these days.
 
Furyk is five weeks removed from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left wrist. While it is too early to tell when he might return, he said rehab is going well.
 
He had a full range of motion 10 days after his surgery. He has been working with light weights, along with other exercises for his left wrist.
 
'I started out with 1-pound weights, and now I'm up to 3 whole pounds,' Furyk said Monday night. 'Every day, I'm a little stronger.'
 
Furyk already has missed The Players Championship and the Masters, and it would be surprising if he were ready to defend his U.S. Open title in June at Shinnecock Hills.

'I miss it,' he said. 'But more than anything, it was killing me when I didn't know what was wrong with my wrist. Now that I know, every day I'm working on my mobility, getting stronger and moving toward the goal.'
 
Furyk was at a friend's house recently and there was a golf club in the back yard. He picked it up and gripped it, although he resisted the temptation to take a swing.
 
He touched a club one other time in the last five weeks. Shortly after surgery, Furyk had a previous appointment for a photo shoot.
 
'I was supposed to be swinging a club,' he said. 'I had to do all the swinging with my right hand, and then I moved my left hand in to position. I think it turned out OK.'
 
STRANGE IN THE HALL
Curtis Strange was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame last weekend, two days after he came up short in voting for the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
The latter is puzzling.
 
Tom Kite received 69 percent of the vote and was a worthy selection with 19 victories, including a U.S. Open. He won the money title twice and was PGA player of the year in 1989.
 
Strange, who got 55 percent of the vote, was the dominant American when golf first went global in the 1980s with the arrival of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Nick Price.
 
His 17 victories include back-to-back U.S. Open titles (the first player to do that since Ben Hogan. Strange is the only player to finish three straight U.S. Opens under par, was the first player to crack the $1 million mark, won three money titles and was PGA player of the year in 1988.
 
ALL HART
Dudley Hart finished 144th on the PGA Tour money list last year while coping with a herniated disc in his back. He was granted a major medical extension, meaning he had seven tournaments this year to earn $105,760 - the difference between 144th and 125th on the money list.
 
Hart made only one cut in his first five events this year, then came up big in the Houston Open. He tied for fourth and made $220,000 - easily enough for him to keep full status the rest of the season.
 
HOCH, AS IN SPOKE
What was Scott Hoch doing in the Houston Open?
 
Good question.
 
Hoch, who never lacks for an opinion, swore off the tournament last year when it left the TPC at The Woodlands for Redstone Golf Club. Just like his media boycott several years ago, he forgot to tell everyone.
 
'Last year was my silent protest, although nobody heard it,' Hoch said.
 
He said his wife noticed he was swinging well and persuaded him to play in the Houston Open. In hindsight, he should listen to her more often. Hoch threatened Vijay Singh in the final round and wound up second.
 
Hoch, who disdains any British Open links with a 'Saint' in the name (St. Andrews leads the list) and doesn't think much of Pebble Beach, did try to clarify some of the remarks he made - or didn't make - about Redstone.
 
'I got more quotes than I actually said,' Hoch said. 'I read some people got upset with some things that I said two years ago after finding out they were moving it, and I didn't say some of that. The worst stuff I didn't say because I wouldn't have said it. I wouldn't have used the terminology they used, so it wasn't me.
 
'I know one of the players got upset at me for saying it, but I'm telling you, I didn't say it.'
 
Got that?
 
JACK SPEAKS
Jack Nicklaus had said been saying in the weeks leading to the Masters that Phil Mickelson was his pick to win the green jacket, although that's not why he was pleased to see Lefty in a green jacket.
 
Nicklaus was captain of the Presidents Cup team in South Africa that ended in a tie. Mickelson became the first American in team competition to lose all five of his matches.
 
After Mickelson won the Masters, Nicklaus said he wrote Mickelson a note telling him he was the MVP at the Presidents Cup for the way he supported his teammates.
 
'I felt that a guy who was so gracious in the way he handled himself in defeat, some good things were destined to happen to him,' Nicklaus said. 'I was so proud of the way he handled himself at the Presidents Cup, and I was so proud and pleased to see him win the Masters.'
 
DIVOTS
Still no word on when David Duval might return to the PGA Tour, although he has filled out his entry form for the U.S. Open. ... The Golf Coaches Association of America have decided to honor Masters champion Phil Mickelson by putting his name on the trophy of the Freshman of the Year award. The Phil Mickelson Award will be given to the top freshman in all three divisions of the NCAA. ... The Franklin Templeton Shootout has raised its purse to $2.5 million. That's equivalent to the purse at The Players Championship in 1994, the largest paycheck of tournament host Greg Norman's career. ... Vijay Singh will play the Volvo PGA Championship in England the last week of May.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
This was the fourth straight year the Houston Open was won by at least two strokes. The longest such streak on the PGA Tour belongs to the Memorial, where the last 10 tournaments have been decided by two strokes or more.
 
FINAL WORD
'A lot of times it drives you nuts because you can't remember your own name when you're out there trying to hit a shot. And you're thinking, 'Is it Carl or is it Bob?' So, I try not to get too involved in seeing everybody, but you say hello and hope they don't expect five minutes of a conversation.' - Fred Couples, on running into acquaintances at PGA Tour events.
 
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