GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Jim Furyk is going to be one hell of a Ryder Cup captain someday.
Hey, it might even be two years from now.
I know, it’s all trendy to bring the hate when it comes to Furyk these days. He has seven runner-up finishes since his last win four years ago and he’s particularly ridiculed by U.S. fans during Ryder Cup weeks because of his admittedly underwhelming 9-17-4 career record.
But those numbers underscore a few major points: First, he’s been good enough for long enough that he continues to qualify for U.S. teams into his mid-40s. And more importantly, the guy just gets it.
And by “it,” I mean all of the subtle nuances of strategy and competition that have seemed to elude so many other captains on some level.
On Tuesday afternoon, Furyk produced a typically thoughtful interview room session that included one simple idea that so often gets overlooked when trying to pair players in the two separate team formats.
“You might want to get two guys that play a similar style of game to play in a foursome match together, so you feel like you're playing the same ball,” he explained. “You might want to get two guys that are playing totally opposite so you can attack certain holes different ways.”
This shouldn’t be considered rocket science, but it has seemed that way to captains – on both sides – during many years of the competition.
That said, it’s not like Furyk was speaking as if he has all the answers. And it’s not as if he believes you can throw any ball-strikers together in foursomes and be successful, nor could you pair, say, a big hitter and an accurate driver in fourballs.
There are, of course, plenty of other variables.
“I think it's wise to pair guys not only by how their games are physically together but also by their temperament, as well,” he continued. “There's lots of ways you can do it. You can complement players by a number of different things.”
It might not be two years from now – or even four, or six – but at some point, Jim Furyk is going to get a chance to lead the U.S. team into a Ryder Cup.
You might ridicule him for a poor career record at this event, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the makings of an extremely effective captain someday. Anyone who listened to him once again on Tuesday, would realize the truth: He just gets it.