While the rest of the golf world has been watching Rory McIlroy dominate the summer of 2014, I have been watching Jim Furyk. The PGA Tour veteran has done everything but win this season, and has been playing almost pretty noteworthy himself of late. In his last five events, Furyk has never finished worse than T-15 (WGC-Bridgestone), held two 54-hole leads only to fall back on Sunday despite shooting 69 and 70 in those two final rounds, and 19 of his last 20 rounds have been under par. He heads into this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, where he has never missed the cut, ranked sixth in the FedEx Cup standings and the Official World Golf Ranking. If anyone owns the definition of “being due,” it’s Furyk.
Jim Furyk’s last five PGA Tour starts
|RBC Canadian Open||2||67-63-65-69--264||615,600|
Jim Furyk at the Deutsche Bank since the start of the PGA Tour Playoffs
That Furyk hasn’t won since the 2010 Tour Championship is amazing given all he has accomplished. In the last three seasons, Furyk has finished second six times and third three times. He has had 24 top-10 finishes and earned more than $11 million, having recently gone over the $60 million mark for his career. The fact he has not won despite holding or sharing the 54-hole lead eight different times in the last three years is mind blowing at first glance, considering he has not played poorly on Sunday in many of those tournaments.
Jim Furyk with the 54-hole lead or co-lead since 2012
|2014 Canadian Open||69||2|
|2013 BMW Championship||71||3|
|2013 PGA Championship||71||2|
|2012 U.S. Open||74||T-4|
|2012 Transitions||69||Playoff loss|
But a closer look at the scoring averages shows that Furyk hasn’t often taken advantage of opportunities that the rest of the field has capitalized on. Take this year’s two events for example. At the Barclays, Furyk’s final-round 70 looks good until it’s compared to the field average of 70.31. The final-round scoring average in Canada was 68.67 slightly lower than Furyk’s 69.
Jim Furyk compared to the field when he holds the 54-hole lead
|Tournament||Furyk's Sunday score||Sunday field average||Winner's score|
|2014 Barclays||70||70.31||65 (Hunter Mahan)|
|2014 Canadian Open||69||68.67||65 (Tim Clark)|
| 2013 BMW
|71||70.56||65 (Zach Johnson)|
| 2013 PGA
|71||70,.94||68 (Jason Dufner)|
|2012 McGladrey||69||69.48||60 (Tommy Gainey)|
|2012 WGC-Bridgestone||69||70.15||64 (Keegan Bradley)|
|2012 U.S. Open||74||72.90||68 (Webb Simpson)|
|2012 Transitions||69||70.48||66 (Luke Donald)|
Furyk has shot in the 60s five times in those eight events and averaged 70.25 per round. The player who would go on to win averaged 65.1 in the final round (led by Tommy Gainey’s 60 at the 2012 McGladrey). Furyk shot better than the final-round average four times, but if you round to whole numbers he never beat the field average by more than a stroke. More often than not, Furyk was a field-average player on Sunday, while the tournament winner was at least three strokes better than the field every time.
That seems unsustainable. Somewhere along the way, a player who is good enough to shoot 59 on a day when the field averages more than 71 (second round, 2013 BMW) is going to be able to substantially improve on the field with the tournament on the line. After all, Furyk held the 54-hole lead on three occassions in 2010 and won all three times.
Furyk isn’t the only player to have a history of success at the Deutsche Bank Championship. There are nine other players in this year’s field who have made five or more starts at TPC Boston and have never missed the cut. Only Jason Day (seventh, one spot behind Furyk) is ranked in the top 10 on the current FedEx Cup standings.
Players who have not missed the cut in five or more starts at the Deutsche Bank
|Player||Starts||Best finish||FedEx rank|
|Jason Bohn||5||Second in 2005||68|
|Angel Cabrera||5||T-4 in 2009||45|
|Jason Day||6||T-2 in 2010, T-3 in 2011||7|
|Jim Furyk||9||Sixth in 2011||6|
|Marc Leishman||5||T-15 in 2009||36|
|Phil Mickelson||7||Won in 2007||57|
|Adam Scott||9||Won in 2003, T-2 in 2004||16|
|John Senden||10||Eighth in 2010||28|
|Brandt Snedeker||7||T-3 in 2011||71|
|Camilo Villegas||8||T-3 in 2008||49|
FedEx rank coming into this week is important. Five of the seven Deutsche Bank winners in the Playoff era were ranked in the top 10 in FedEx points entering the week. Henrik Stenson, who won in 2013, had fallen out of the top 10, from ninth to 13th, the week prior to winning a year ago.
Rank of Deutsche Bank winner on the FedEx Cup standings
|Year||Player||Rank entering week|
With that in mind, here’s a glance at the top 10 in this week’s standings and how they have fared at Boston
This week's FedEx Cup leaders at the Deutsche Bank Championship
|Player||Deutsche Bank record|
|Hunter Mahan||T-8 in 2011 is his only top 10 in 11 starts|
|Rory McIlroy||He won in 2012, but was outside the top 35 two other times|
|Jimmy Walker||Two cuts in five starts, with a best of T-37 in 2011|
|Matt Kuchar||10 starts, one top 10; a T-4 in 2013|
|Bubba Watson||Six cuts made in eight starts with a best of T-12 in pre-Playoff 2006|
|Jim Furyk||Six starts, no missed cuts, two top threes|
|Jason Day||Six starts, no missed cuts, two top threes|
|Patrick Reed||T-70 in 2013 in his only appearance|
|Jordan Spieth||T-4 after a final-round 62 in 2013 in his only start|
|Cameron Tringale||Missed cut in 201 and 2012; T-67 in 2013|
One final thought: In the seven years of the PGA Tour Playoffs, the Deutsche Bank winner has finished in the top 10 in the field in scrambling. The Tour’s 2013-14 leader in scrambling is, you guessed it, Jim Furyk at 71.10 percent.
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