What I'll Remember About 2013: Seeing Furyk's nerve-racking 59text sizeNovember 24, 2013
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
PGATOUR.COM asked its staffers and writers what they will remember about the 2013 season. For the archived list of essays and a complete review of the season, click here
I hustled out to the sixth hole at Conway Farms in hopes of seeing golf history. Jim Furyk didn't let me down.
When I left the media center that Friday of the BMW Championship, Furyk was 11 under through his first 13 holes, having started his second round off the 10th tee. He needed just one more birdie to shoot 59, and with a par 5 still left, he seemed like a good bet to become the sixth member of that club. Heck, I was even thinking he might be the first to shoot 58. Wouldn't that be something?
That last thought quickly disappeared when Furyk reached the par-3 sixth. He bogeyed the previous hole, and now even 59 was in doubt. After all, none of the other five players who shot 59 had suffered a bogey. I looked around and wondered why the gallery around the sixth green was not bigger. Had the curiosity seekers given up hope? More likely, it was because the hole is isolated and a decent hike from the clubhouse.
Furyk parred the sixth, and now he needed two birdies in his last three holes. Luckily he still had that par 5 coming up.
After he birdied the par-4 seventh, the pendulum of my emotions swung back toward hope. Silently, I even put 58 back into play. If he could just go birdie-birdie, or maybe eagle the par-5 eighth ...
Alas, he parred it. No chance at 58 now. And he'd have to birdie the final hole, the par-4 ninth, for 59. Would the pressure and tension of chasing history overwhelm him? There's a reason why shooting 59 on the PGA TOUR is harder than pitching a perfect game in baseball. I was nervous just watching him. I can't even imagine what Furyk was feeling.
As you know now, Furyk embraced the moment, produced a brilliant second shot and gave himself a short -- but still tense -- putt for 59. The gallery went from complete silence to a massive eruption of cheers when the ball dropped.
After Furyk met the media and discussed his achievement and what it meant to him and his legacy, he was asked to sign several pin flags. I couldn't tell if he was adding the "59" notation to his name. I hope he did.
Then as he was leaving the interview room, I stuck out my hand to congratulate him. As he shook it, I said, "That was fun to watch."
"Thanks," he replied.
Actually, I should have been the one thanking him. Consider this a thank-you note to Furyk for delivering one of golf's most magical rounds.