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Back from injury, Furyk making first start in six months

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LOS ANGELES – Despite being a staple on the PGA Tour since he joined the circuit in 1994, Jim Furyk has a “first day of school” feel for this week’s Genesis Open.

Furyk is making his first PGA Tour start in six months following a season in which he was slowed by a nagging shoulder injury, and he failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in his career.

Although he’s playing this week’s event on a sponsor exemption, his status this season on Tour will be limited to his past champion status. Furyk could have used an exemption for being in the top 50 on the career earnings list, but decided not to use that one-time option.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be healthy enough,” Furyk said on Tuesday at Riviera Country Club. “You have to make that decision like within seven or 10 days after the Tour Championship. At the time I was injured and wasn’t playing.”

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Furyk’s last start was the PGA Championship in August and he said he wasn’t healthy enough to hit golf balls until early January, which limited his options for this season.

“At the time I really wasn’t sure if I was going to have surgery,” he said. “To use that [money] exemption didn’t seem to make a lot of sense at the time.”

This year’s U.S. Ryder Cup captain said he plans to play about 18 events this season, which is his normal schedule, and he wants to use the months leading up to this year’s matches in Paris as a chance to get know some of his potential players.

“It’s fun to be out here,” Furyk said. “Seeing a lot of guys I haven’t seen and more importantly I’m out here so if guys have questions about the Ryder Cup and want to talk about it, rubbing elbows is good for me and important for the Ryder Cup.”