Furyk comes oh-so-close for second straight week
Fires 6-under 66 to finish second, one shot behind Martin Kaymer at THE PLAYERS
May 11, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Jim Furyk carded a bogey-free 66 for his best finish in 19 starts at THE PLAYERS Championship. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- For the second Sunday in a row, Jim Furyk found himself in the awkward position of sitting in the clubhouse with cameras watching him as he watched TV to see if he was going to win a golf tournament.
"Every time you scratch your nose it's on television," he said wryly. "But I understand it's part of the deal."
Turns out, it didn't happen Sunday at THE PLAYERS Championship. Nor did his three-and-a-half-year victory drought end at the Wells Fargo Championship the previous Sunday.
But in each case Furyk went low and applied the pressure. He did what he needed to do. He just fell one shot shy after the leaders -- Martin Kaymer at TPC Sawgrass and J.B. Holmes at Quail Hollow -- won a battle of nerves with themselves.
On Sunday, Furyk had closed with a bogey-free 66 to post 12 under about an hour before Kaymer, visibly unnerved after a messy double bogey at the 14th hole, came up with an improbable par at the island 17th that all but assured the German of the win.
Those pesky cameras were there to catch the classy Furyk smile and nod his head in respect when Kaymer's 28-footer to save par on the island green dropped into the hole.
"That wasn't one that I would have expected him to get up and down very often percentage-wise, but that putt was incredible, to have a good 8 feet of break in it and pour it right in the middle," Furyk said.
Kaymer made things interesting again at the 18th hole, though, when his second shot landed short of the green. But the 29-year-old got up and down through the shadows to earn the victory and send Furyk home -- literally -- with his best finish in his hometown event.
"I did what I could," said Furyk, whose 66 was his second-lowest round at THE PLAYERS, short of only a 65 in 2006. "I left it all on the golf course, and I hung it all out there today and every cliché you can think of. I played hard today."
Both Furyk and Kaymer had waited through a weather delay that lasted 90 minutes. Furyk, though, only had to negotiate a 3-footer for par at the 18th hole when play resumed while Kaymer had what turned out to be two putts at No. 14 and four more holes to play.
Furyk, who said he practiced about two dozen 3-footers before play resumed, could empathize with Kaymer, though. He was on the eighth hole at East Lake, leading the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola with the $10 million FedExCup bonus on the line, when play was halted for a lengthy rain delay in the fall of 2010.
"I'm a huge football fan," Furyk recalled. "Football was on TV in the locker room, and I was having a really hard time focusing on the game. ... (I) was kind of chomping at the bit to get back out there."
He ended up earning the dual victory that day. On this most recent Sunday, though, Furyk could only wait to see what happened after he cleaned up his par on the 18th hole. He'd done his best but Kaymer had the upper hand.
"It's more disappointing to have the lead and shoot 70 and have someone pass you up and finish second than to go out there and fire a 65, 66 and get close," Furyk said. "You've got to feel good about shooting a good number."
That good number led to Furyk's second straight runner-up finish and fifth top-10 in 10 events. The 16-time PGA TOUR champ, who closed with a 65 at Quail Hollow to finish second despite Holmes’ bogeys on two of his last three holes, says he feels like he's "climbing the mountain right now" in terms of his confidence level.
"I feel good about my game," he said. "I feel good about where I am mentally out there on the golf course. I'm a little disappointed to get to close two weeks in a row. It wasn't like I sat on a lead and finished second both weeks, so it wasn't kind of like a huge letdown.
"I fired good numbers on Sunday and really didn't think either one was going to hold up, and then it got so close, so it was getting that close taste. It's worse watching, I'll say that. I like being out on the golf course."
Maybe next time, Furyk will be the one in charge.
Martin Kaymer wins in dramatic fashion at THE PLAYERS