Furyk looking to salvage disappointing 2012 in Sea Island

By Doug FergusonOctober 17, 2012, 10:20 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Jim Furyk is playing his final official tournament of the year at The McGladrey Classic, and even a win at Sea Island might not be enough to chase away such a sour taste from an otherwise solid year.

There are enough indications to give him plenty of confidence going forward.

Furyk started the year at No. 50 in the world ranking and has gone up to No. 23. His adjusted scoring average is 68.41, second only to Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, and nearly a half-stroke better than his average in 2010 when he won three times, captured the FedEx Cup and was voted PGA Tour player of the year.

Therein lies the difference. And it's a big difference.

The trophy case is empty this year, matching the feeling he has inside him.

''I can't deny the fact that I played well,'' Furyk said Wednesday. ''I can't deny the fact that I have a lot of confidence in my game and the direction that it's going. But it's still disappointing when I look back at what could have been instead of what happened.''

Furyk lost on the first extra hole at Innisbrook when he faced an awkward lie for his second shot, did well to find the back of the green and didn't get another chance when Luke Donald made birdie to win a four-man playoff. He was tied for the lead on the 16th tee in the final round of the U.S. Open – the first of consecutive par 5s at Olympic Club – when he hooked his tee shot into the woods, made bogey and never recovered. The worst of it came at Firestone, one of his favorite courses, when he took double bogey on the last hole and lost by one to Keegan Bradley in the Bridgestone Invitational.

''My game was very consistent. My game was good,'' Furyk said. ''But the goal is to try to win golf tournaments. And to get so close – especially in big events – and not be able to close the door leaves a sour taste.''

He would have settled for a U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup, except that went about like the rest of his year.

Furyk was among three Americans who were all square going to the 18th hole at Medinah and ended up losing, which enabled Europe to stage a stunning comeback. Furyk was 1-up over Sergio Garcia when he pulled his tee shot into the bunker on the 17th and made bogey, and then went long from a fairway bunker on the closing hole and three-putted from off the green to lose the match. The image of Furyk in a moment of despair, bent over with hands on his knees, made the cover of one golf magazine.

To win this week would essentially be light dressing on a deep wound.

''It would be positive,'' Furyk said. ''But still, when anyone talks about the year, you're going to talk about two events. It would be a positive end. I was hoping that's what the Ryder Cup would be. We would thump them on Sunday, and that would be a good, positive end of the year for me.''

Sea Island is only about 90 miles from Furyk's home in Florida, and the field is not as strong as it was last year. It features Ryder Cup teammate Zach Johnson, Ryder Cup captain and tournament host Davis Love III, along with Jason Day. The McGladrey Classic was hurt by the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which has a Monday pro-am next week in Bermuda and includes Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson. Matt Kuchar, who lives at Sea Island, is playing an exhibition in China.

Furyk also plans to play the World Challenge that Tiger Woods hosts in California the week after Thanksgiving. Barring a win this week that would get Furyk into Kapalua for the Tournament of Champions, he won't play again until Pebble Beach.

At some point in the next month, he will reflect on the year to figure out what he has to do to get better - what has to change for him to be a better closer. Love already has encouraged Furyk to look at the opportunities instead of the failures, a conversation that took place when Love made him a captain's pick in September.

''He was three swings away from probably being a player of the year candidate,'' Love said. ''He hits the fairway at the U.S. Open. His ball stays in the trees maybe in Akron and he chips out and hits a wedge on the green and he wins that tournament. And then he hits the green at 17 in the Ryder Cup, and we win the Ryder Cup. He would have had a hell of a year given three swings over again.

''As competitors, we see how close it was to great more than we see how everybody else sees it – 'Well, he screwed those three tournaments up, didn't he?' Well, no, Jim Furyk got picked for the Ryder Cup because he was two swings away from winning two big tournaments.''

Furyk's match didn't determine the outcome of the Ryder Cup. Europe picked up additional points on the 18th hole when Justin Rose finished birdie-birdie to beat Phil Mickelson, and when Steve Stricker fell behind on the 17th by failing to get up-and-down with a routine chip. Kaymer's 6-foot par putt on the last hole clinched it for Europe.

Oddly enough, Furyk spoke in the days before the Ryder Cup of being in position to win or lose the Ryder Cup. He spoke then of having to accept ''that sometimes it turns out good, and sometimes it doesn't.''

This year, it hasn't turned out well at all.

Love has a PGA Championship among his 20 PGA Tour titles, and he holed the winning putt in his first Ryder Cup in 1993 at The Belfry. Even so, Love still remembers finishing with back-to-back bogeys, including a three-putt on the 18th at Oakland Hills, to lose the 1996 U.S. Open.

''We get remembered for a lot of things,'' Love said. ''Jim has done a lot of great stuff, as well, and played a lot of great golf. Just like the Ryder Cup, or just like him at the U.S. Open, you don't get to enjoy the good times unless you screw it up every once in a while in front of everybody.

''Jim loves being there, and I think he'll continue to be there for quite a while.''

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After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 3:40 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the Nelson's future ...

If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.

Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.

The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray


On Jordan Spieth's putting ...

Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.

He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.

Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.

Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta


On golf and gambling ...

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.

Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.

Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard

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Wise continues whirlwind ascent with first win

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 3:13 am

DALLAS – Still shy of his 22nd birthday, Aaron Wise continues to prove himself to be a quick learner.

Wise went from unheralded prospect to NCAA individual champ seemingly in the blink of an eye while at the University of Oregon. After eschewing his final two years of eligibility in Eugene, he won in Canada on the Mackenzie Tour in his third start as a professional.

He continued a quick learning curve with a win last year on the Web.com Tour to propel him to the big leagues, and he didn’t flinch while going toe-to-toe with Jason Day two weeks ago, even though the result didn’t go his way.

Faced with another opportunity to take down a top-ranked Aussie, Wise made sure he got the job done Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson – even though it took until dark.

With mid-day rains turning a firm and fast layout into a birdie barrage, Wise seamlessly switched gears and put his first PGA Tour title on ice in impressive fashion with a bogey-free 65. Deadlocked with Marc Leishman to start the day, Wise made six birdies in his first 10 holes and coasted to a three-shot win as the leaders barely beat the setting sun to avoid an anticlimactic Monday finish at Trinity Forest Golf Club.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


As it turned out, the hardest part of the day was enduring the four-hour weather delay alongside his mother, Karla, as his afternoon tee time turned into a twilight affair.

“She was talking to me in the hotel about what a win could mean, what a second could mean, kind of taking me through all that,” Wise said. “I was like, I’ve got to calm down. I can’t just sit here. I said, ‘You’ve got to go.’ I kind of made her leave the room.”

Wise displayed some jitters right out of the gates, with a nervy three-putt par on the opening hole. But with several players going on birdie runs to turn what seemed like a two-man race into a much more wide-open affair, Wise went on a tear of his own with four birdies in a row on Nos. 7-10.

That gave him a window over Leishman and the rest of the chase pack, and he never looked back.

“I talked to myself and kind of made myself trust my putting,” Wise said. “These greens out here are really tricky, and for me to roll those putts in on 8 and 9 really kind of separated things.”

Leishman had held at least a share of the lead after each round, and the 34-year-old veteran was looking for his third win in the last 14 months. But a bogey on No. 10 coincided with a Wise birdie to boost the rookie’s advantage from two shots to four, and Leishman never got closer than three shots the rest of the way.

“He holed putts he needed to hole, and I didn’t,” Leishman said. “Hit a couple loose shots where I could have probably put a bit of pressure on him, and didn’t. And that’s probably the difference in the end.”

Instead of sitting next to a trophy in Dallas, Wise could have been closing out his senior season next week with an NCAA appearance at Karsten Creek. But the roots of his quick climb trace back to the Master of the Amateurs in Australia in December 2015, a tournament he won and one that gave him confidence that he could hold his own against the best in the world. He returned to Eugene and promptly told his coach, Casey Martin, that he planned to turn pro in the spring.

The same dogged confidence that drove that decision has been the guiding force behind a whirlwind ascent through every rung of the professional ladder.

“I just have a lot of belief in myself. I didn’t come from a lot. A lot of people don’t know that. I didn’t get to travel a bunch when I played junior golf,” Wise said. “Kind of all along it’s been very, very few moments to shine and I have had to take advantage of them.”

Despite that belief, even Wise admits that he’s “shocked” to turn only his second real chance to contend at this level into a maiden victory. But fueled by the memories of a close call two weeks ago, he put the lessons learned at Quail Hollow to quick use while taking the next step in an increasingly promising career arc.

“It was awesome, everything I dreamed of,” Wise said. “To walk up 18, knowing I kind of had it locked up, was pretty cool.”

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Grace celebrates birthday with final-round 62

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:51 am

DALLAS – Branden Grace celebrated his 30th birthday in style, making the biggest charge of the final round at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Grace closed out a 9-under 62 as the sun began to set at Trinity Forest Golf Club, moving from outside the top 10 into a share of third place, four shots behind Aaron Wise. It equaled Grace’s career low on the PGA Tour, which he originally set last summer at The Open, and it was one shot off Marc Leishman’s course-record 61 from the opening round.

“Good birthday present. It was fun,” Grace said. “Little bit of imagination, little bit of luck here and there. You get more luck on the links golf course than maybe on a normal golf course.”


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


Weeks after Grace’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, he now has his best result on the PGA Tour since winning the RBC Heritage more than two years ago. As a world traveler and former Presidents Cup participant, the South African embraced an opportunity this week to go off the beaten path on an unconventional layout.

“It feels like a breath of fresh air coming to something different. Really is nice. I really enjoyed the golf course,” he said. “Obviously I think we got really lucky with the weather, and that’s why the scores are so low. It can bite you if it settles in a little bit in the next couple years.”

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Scott barely misses qualifying for U.S. Open

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:33 am

DALLAS – A birdie on the 72nd hole gave Adam Scott a glimmer of hope, but in the end even a closing 65 at the AT&T Byron Nelson wasn’t enough to earn an exemption into next month’s U.S. Open.

Scott entered the week ranked No. 65 in the world, and the top 60 in next week’s rankings automatically qualify for Shinnecock Hills. The cutoff was a big reason why the 2008 tournament champ returned for Trinity Forest’s debut, and midway through the final round it seemed like the Aussie had a shot at snagging a bid at the 11th hour.

Scott needed at least a solo ninth-place finish to pass an idle Chesson Hadley at No. 60, and while his 5-footer on the 18th green gave him a share of sixth place when he completed play, he ultimately ended up in a three-way tie for ninth at 15 under – barely short of a spot in the top 60.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


“I tried to make the most of really favorable conditions today, and I did a pretty good job of it. Just never really got a hot run going,” Scott said. “I feel like I struggled on the weekend reading the greens well enough to really get it going, but I think everyone but the leaders did that, too. They’re not the easiest greens to read.”

Scott has played each of the last three weeks in an effort to earn a U.S. Open exemption, and he’ll make it four in a row next week when he returns to the Fort Worth Invitational on a course where he won in 2013. Scott still has another chance to avoid sectional qualifying by earning a top-60 spot at the second and final cutoff on June 11 following the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Scott has played 67 majors in a row, a streak that dates back to 2001 and is second only to Sergio Garcia among active players. While he’s prepared to play each of the next three weeks in a last-ditch effort to make the field, he’s taking his schedule one event at a time with the hope that one more good result might take care of business.

“I’ll play next week and hopefully play really well, and give myself a bit of cushion so I can take a week or so off and try to prepare the best I can for the U.S. Open,” Scott said.