Melodies propel Wilson Furr to first PGA TOUR card in dramatic fashion
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Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
Wilson Furr is a man of music.
This shouldn’t surprise, considering his family pedigree – his brother Prentiss is a YouTube sensation with hit singles such as “October,” ‘i will wait” and “i’ll do it again” (lower-case punctuation intentional).
Furr struck the right notes at the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, literally and metaphorically. Throughout the week, he hummed The White Stripes' "Fell in Love With a Girl” at critical junctures. It was the most important week of his career, and he finished T6 at the season finale – punctuated with an unlikely par at the demanding finishing hole after pulling his tee shot into the adjacent 10th fairway, necessitating a hard draw from 209 yards that started over the water and whipped back onto the green.
Furr, 25, began the week at No. 32 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, and his big-time performance at Victoria National Golf Club moved him to No. 24 on the final standings. The top 30 on the season-long Points List after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship earned 2024 PGA TOUR membership.
Furr will be a PGA TOUR rookie in 2024.
“I believed that I could do it,” Furr said afterward, “but I didn’t know that I would … That was all I envisioned, was to come up here and play really good, get a card, but you never know how the future’s going to turn out, and here we are. It’s the coolest thing. It really is.
“A year ago, I was on the mini-tours and Canada and missing cuts and just struggling. I knew I was good enough, but you never know if you’re going to do it … I just tried to fight as hard as I could, and that’s what I’ve been taught my whole life, is just to fight as hard as you can. Thanks to my parents, they taught me that. Just fight. Just do your damned best. If (stuff) gets bad, just fight your way out of it, and that’s what we did.”
The final week of the season wasn’t the first time Furr deployed music in his game plan during this season’s stretch run. Beginning at the Magnit Championship in August, he said, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” was a staple as he navigated Korn Ferry Tour competition venues. He entered the Magnit at No. 45 on the season-long standings, then went T3-T6 to move inside the top 30 with three events to play. After a missed cut at the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation and a T24 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, he was just outside the bubble into the no-cut season finale. He listened to The White Stripes on his five-hour drive from Birmingham, Alabama, to southern Indiana and it clicked – the song "Fell in Love With a Girl" fit the mood for the week.
Anytime he’d feel a little out of sorts on the course, he hummed the song and returned to equilibrium. Case in point: after three-putting the second hole Sunday for bogey, he sang as he strolled down the third fairway.
“I was feeling a little, whatever you want to call it, and just started rocking out in my brain,” Furr said. “I hit the fairway and started rocking out. So that’s what I told myself is keep rocking out, keep playing and don’t worry about it … and I hit a good shot on 3.
“You’re just rocking out, and you don’t worry about it … there are some dull moments, and that’s just a random tee shot here and there, you’re just rocking out, and that’s what I felt like we were trying to do the best of … and dang it, we did it.”
Next time a band comes together on TOUR, count in Furr for the harmonic section.
Furr’s pedigree is indicative of a player destined to hold a PGA TOUR card – a three-time Rolex Junior All-American, a top-15 prospect in his high school class, and a men’s golf team captain at the University of Alabama – but he knows there are no guarantees in this game. As he readied to tee it up Sunday morning at Victoria National, he thought back to his 12-year-old self on a driving range in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. This is what he’s been working for, he thought to himself, through middle school, high school, college and his early years as a touring pro.
Growing up, Furr loved to play a variety of sports; baseball and football occupied ample real estate in his heart, well into his teenage years. He always loved golf, he said, but he was a sports lover first and foremost. “At 11 years old, I didn’t see myself as a college golfer,” he said. “I was just a guy who played golf.”
Around age 14, golf started separating himself, he said, as he plateaued in other sports but continued to improve at golf. He realized he’d have to get a lot bigger for football, and high school baseball occupied the same season as golf. He quit competitive baseball to focus on golf; that’s when his game began to take off. He finished second at the 2015 Junior PGA Championship, the same year that he became the youngest winner of the Mississippi State Amateur at age 16, winning by eight strokes no less. He represented the United States at the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup, and he was recruited to play at the University of Alabama beginning in fall 2017.
After a successful college career which included stroke-play medalist honors at the 2020 U.S. Amateur, Furr turned pro in 2021. He missed by 11 strokes at Second Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School that fall but was undeterred; he played on PGA TOUR Canada in summer 2022, then advanced through Korn Ferry Tour Q-School that fall – including redemption at Second Stage, finishing four strokes inside the number, and a T39 at Final Stage to earn guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts on the number. In one of the year’s more memorable quips, he compared the feeling to beating a boss in a video game.
Fast forward to the final week of the season, and Furr faced one final boss in his quest to earn a PGA TOUR card. It was a tightly contested bubble into the week, with Nos. 26-33 on the Points List separated by just 29 points – the equivalent of a 31st-place finish at the season finale. There wasn’t room for everyone, making the search for an extra edge more paramount than ever.
Furr found it with the right song at the right time.
“Sometimes these feelings can be so misleading,” reads a lyric of “Fell in Love With a Girl.”
Nothing misleading, though, about what it means to be a 2024 PGA TOUR member.
“It’s surreal,” Furr said afterward. “It’s really cool.”
Wilson Furr’s interview after Round 4 of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.