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Furyk Focused on Recovery Not Return

Jim Furyk doesnt mean to sound too self-centered, but if hes not playing, hes not really watching.
Sure he sat at home and watched Phil Mickelson win the Masters. But, I wont say I sat through the entire telecast on Saturday and Sunday, he said.
At the Players Championship this year he worked as an analyst for ESPN for the first two rounds and said it was definitely more golf than I watched in about the last four years.
Soon, the U.S. Open will be on the airwaves and Furyk will most certainly find himself watching as the event unfolds on the back nine Sunday. But don't exepct him to be fixated to his couch, remote in hand.
I think I would be just teasing myself, he said.
Ten weeks removed from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left wrist, Furyk is slowly but surely making his way back to competitive golf. Hes not there yet. And he most likely wont be there by the time the Open rolls around in two weeks.
He would be the first player since the late Payne Stewart, who died in a plane crash four months after winning the 1999 U.S. Open, to be unable to defend his title.
It would be Furyks second-ever absence from the U.S. Open since joining the PGA Tour in 1994. And whether irony or coincidence, both have come when the event was played at Shinnecock.
Its like my kryptonite, said Furyk, who failed to qualify for the 1995 Open.
Recently, he took a break from practicing at the TPC at Sawgrass, near his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and talked ' optimistically but not too convincingly ' of trying to make his return at Shinnecock. But he knew even before the surgery on March 22 that there was a three-to-six month window of recovery ' and the Open, unfortunately, didnt fit in that window.
Im OK with it. I rested that thought a long time ago, he said of having to skip his title defense. Id like to be able to defend, but I know its probably not in the cards.
I dont know when Ill be back, thats for sure. I havent even started hitting balls yet.
As the Memorial Tournament is ready to commence this week, Furyk, the 2002 winner of the event, is at home chipping and putting. That's all he is allowed to do right now. Hes still waiting to hit some full shots. Hes going to rehab a couple of days a week to strengthen his wrist, and doing his own exercises each day at home.
Im happy with the way things are going, he said. Im a little impatient, like everyone else. I want it to happen faster than it is going to happen.
Furyk, however, is not about to rush anything. The end of his doctors three-to-six month timeframe is right about the time of the Ryder Cup, which was Furyks stated goal right after the surgery.
Theres going to be a lot of U.S. Opens, theres going to be a lot of Masters, PGAs, British Opens in the future ' there probably wont be so many U.S. Opens that Im defending at. But the Ryder Cup is only once every two years, he said two days after the operation.
Furyks injury is similar to the one he sustained to his right wrist in 2000 when he fell while playing football in a parking lot during a Pittsburgh Steelers game. This time, though, the injury was the result of wear and tear from practicing and playing over the years.
Furyk said the wrist started bothering him at last years British Open and continued to be an annoyance and an increasing pain over the remainder of the season. He tried rest, but when the conservative approach proved ineffective ' and when he further aggravated it in February ' surgery was required.
He hasnt played since the Sony Open.
I think everyone thinks that Im going to die not playing golf, and I kind of felt that way probably before the surgery. But its opened my eyes a little bit, said Furyk, who has a 23-month-old daughter and a son who will turn six months old next week.
Ive gotten to spend a lot of time with my family and my kids. Im still excited about getting back and playing golf ' I miss it ' but theres a lot of wonderful things at home Im getting to see.
As soon as his wrist is diagnosed as 100 percent healthy ' and not 1 percent less than that, Furyk plans to return to action. He still has one more opportunity to defend a title, at the Buick Open. That event is situated between the British Open and PGA Championship, and is four months removed from the operation.
Physically, Furyk will have to deal with some competitive rust whenever he returns. But emotionally, he will not be lethargic.
One thing I promise when I come back, Ill definitely be refreshed and ready to go. Ill be chomping at the bit and I will want a lot of golf in my blood at that point, and I havent had it, he said.
Furyk has stated over and over again that he has no desire to be a ceremonial figure at the U.S. Open. He doesn't really want to shake hands and wave to the gallery -- if he can't play as well. And he certainly doesn't want to be hasty in his return.
'It might be nice to wave to some fans and the people that cheer you on. But to not be at 100 percent -- as a competitor that's not what you really want to do if you can't compete,' he said.
'And I certainly won't miss going, shooting 80 and coming home.'
But he has a few options that week: he could do some TV work, possibility work a little with the USGA -- maybe in a semi-ceremonial role, or just stay at home and keep practicing and recuperating.
I dont know where Ill be at that time, he said.
If it were a matter of Im almost playing golf and Im ready to go, close to being ready to go but not for the U.S. Open, maybe Id want to stay home and work on my rehab and work on my game and work on getting back sooner, instead of flying up to New York and possibly taking a week off and setting myself back a week.
Right now Im really focused on getting healthier, getting stronger and getting back to the tour full time.
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Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 2004 U.S. Open
  • Furyk's Bio