Furyk Focused on Recovery Not Return

By Mercer BaggsJune 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
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.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 2004 U.S. Open
  • Furyk's Bio
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    Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

    Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

    Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

    “It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

    No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


    Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


    On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

    “Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

    “Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

    A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

    “But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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    Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

    It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


    Purse: $6 million

    Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

    Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


    Notables in the field

    Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    Henrik Stenson

    • Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

    • Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


    Sergio Garcia

    • Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

    • Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


    Webb Simpson

    • Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

    • 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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    Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

    Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

    Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

    Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    "I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

    But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

    After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

    "What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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    McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

    For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

    The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

    McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.


    Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    "I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

    By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

    But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

    Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.