Furyk: No one should feel sorry for me


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.”