PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Furyk and Weir turn 50 and prepare for PGA TOUR Champions
May 12, 2020
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- May 12, 2020
- Jim Furyk and Mike Weir are both now eligible to play PGA TOUR Champions.
Jim Furyk and Mike Weir were born on Tuesday, May 12, 1970, about 560 miles apart, Furyk in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Weir in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
Both turned pro in 1992 after successful collegiate careers. Both went on to win multiple PGA TOUR titles. Both hold unique distinctions in golf: Furyk is the only player to shoot 58 in competition; Weir is the only Canadian to win a major. And both are unfailingly polite -- to fellow pros, caddies, fans and media.
And that’s about where the similarities end. Furyk is 6-foot-2, righthanded and has a swing that won’t be found in any how-to books. Weir is 5-9, lefthanded and has the long, languid swing one might figure to see on a 6-2 righthander.
As both turn 50 today, PGA TOUR Champions is ready to welcome them with open arms. Well, once the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed enough that the calendar resumes in late July with The Ally Challenge.
Weir said he became aware he shared a birthday with Furyk when they crossed paths in college, Weir at Brigham Young and Furyk at Arizona. But the conquering Canadian hero said the world became aware they shared a birthday some years later.
“When I won the Masters in 2003 and he won the second major, the U.S. Open, that year, that’s when everyone kind of noticed,” Weir said Monday.
Despite their successes, neither won another major. But Furyk has remained a force. As late as 2016 he was still in the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings. Last year he had eight top 25s, including a runner-up at The PLAYERS Championship, and finished 51st in the final FedEx Cup standings. Had he pulled off the win at TPC Sawgrass he’d have been fully exempt on the PGA TOUR until after his 54th birthday.
“The game is always changing and the best players evolve with it,” Furyk said last week. “Equipment has changed, golf course setup has changed. And you’re always trying to get a handle on all of that.
“I’m not getting any shorter thanks to the equipment, and I’m staying fit. But courses are stretching and getting longer, and I’m hitting a lot more club into greens than the average guy on TOUR. I like to joke around and say I’m getting tired of hitting 10 4-irons. Nobody likes hitting 4-irons all day. That’s where I am on some of these tracks. I have to pick very wisely and try to find the ones where I can compete.”
Weir’s career was derailed by an elbow injury in 2010. He used medical extensions and his status on the all-time money list to hang around. His last top 25 came in November 2014. He has played in two Korn Ferry events in 2020, including a T17 in February.
“I started thinking about the Champions Tour in my mid-40s, probably around 45,” Weir said. “I was playing less and less on the PGA TOUR and knew I needed to stay sharp. Those guys play some darn good golf on the Champions Tour.
“I think my game is in a really good spot. Right before the pandemic I was starting to play some good golf and hit my stride. I was playing great at that last Korn Ferry event, and I was excited to play a few more and stay sharp leading into the Champions Tour.”
Weir said he’s looking forward to having a normal schedule once PGA TOUR Champions resumes on July 31 at The Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills Country Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Furyk said he always liked Warwick Hills, longtime site of the PGA TOUR Buick Open, but he came short of saying that would be his Champions Tour debut.
“The good thing is once play resumes we’re going to smash a lot of events together,” Furyk said. “The bad thing is we’re going to smash a lot of events together. Everyone had all this time off and wants to play. The secret is balancing the opportunity to play but still play sharp. But you don’t want to wear yourself out. And in a shortened season like this one you’ll see some physical fatigue and some mental fatigue.
“I probably won’t play more than three in a row. Play three in a row, one week off, three in a row, another week off. I know I’ve gotten some great quality time with my family, too (during the pandemic), but my daughter is going off to college in the fall and my son is … they’re both active in sports. When they get back to that this summer I don’t want to miss that as well.”
Furyk has sought plenty of advice about when to make the switch to being a full-time PGA TOUR Champions member, and it could happen before the new Constellation Furyk & Friends tournament takes its place on the Champions schedule in November 2021.
“There aren’t many guys who have enjoyed trying to play both tours,” Furyk said. “Steve Stricker is one who does. He’s a good friend and we have talked about it some. But most guys I’ve talked to said they made a mistake trying to play both, and they just had to choose one or the other. So my thought is to make the switch when the timing is right. Maybe come back and play a couple of events I just dearly love on the PGA TOUR. But playing 22 events and playing 10 on PGA TOUR is probably not in the cards.”