PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Jim Furyk ready for busy week as host, player
Inaugural Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS takes place this week in Jacksonville
October 04, 2021
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- October 04, 2021
- Jim Furyk will welcome one of the best fields in the history of PGA TOUR Champions. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Jim Furyk will never be confused with a hype man.
But he’s pretty excited about the inaugural Constellation Furyk and Friends PGA TOUR Champions event, to be held at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Florida.
As well he should be. With friends such as U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker and fellow U.S. Ryder Cup vice captains Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Davis Love III committed, the field is the best of the year on the Champions Tour and one of the best in its history.
The field also features European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington in his Champions Tour debut and Charles Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer.
“It’s kinda cool to have the strongest field this year and one of the strongest of all time,” Furyk said last week. “We feel very, very blessed. We’re really happy to hear that.
“We’re just excited to have our first event. We’ve been thinking about this for three years now. The last 18 months ... to see it come to fruition, see the buildout of the golf course, is really exciting for us.”
This is the first appearance for PGA TOUR Champions on the First Coast since 2002, when the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf was played for the final time at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine before relocating to Savannah, Georgia.
But it’s a natural to bring it back with Furyk, a Jacksonville-area resident for more than two decades. He and his wife, Tabitha, have been running a charity golf event in Jacksonville for several years, and now they’ll see it expand with the backing of title sponsor Constellation and a spot on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule.
“We're gonna raise a lot of money for charity, and we’re proud of the event we’re building,” Furyk said.
Furyk really has come to love the area. A native of Pittsburgh, he believes his event will be a chance to showcase Jacksonville and all it has to offer.
“One of the great things about the area is the St. Johns River, and the golf course is right on the river,” Furyk said. “The players will be in hotels downtown right on the river. We’ll utilize water taxis and folks can park at the Haskell Building and the YMCA and hop on a water taxi to get to the tournament. “
“We think it’s an amazing area. We’ve lived here for 25 years and want the world to see it.”
One of the things the world will see is Timuquana Country Club, a course Furyk called a gem of an old Donald Ross design (1923). It has had a few renovations since, but it remains true to Ross – tree-lined, well-bunkered and with typical Ross greens. It’s a course David Duval grew up playing; his father, Bobby, was the pro there and went on to win once on PGA TOUR Champions.
“The defense of the golf course is really the greens,” Furyk said. “It’s where David learned to have such a great short game.”
Furyk said he picked the brains of Love and Stricker, who each host their own events. He knows the demands on his time will be many, but he figures it will be well worth it. He also said he won’t make any excuses about the how serving as host negatively impacts his chances of winning, but Stricker has yet to win the American Family Insurance Championship on the Champions Tour.
“I'll play as hard as I can and try to manage my game and have it in good enough shape,” said Furyk, who is second to Langer in the Schwab Cup standings. “I’m not gonna be out too late, but I’ll play in a lot of pro-ams and be entertaining a bit with pairings parties and the concert (which Darius Rucker headlines early in the week). It will be a blast.”