Furyk anticipates life after 50
Jacksonville resident and runner-up at THE PLAYERS Championship last year will host a new tournament as part of transition to PGA TOUR Champions
March 10, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Jim Furyk announces new event before THE PLAYERS
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Jim Furyk jokes about wearing out the grooves of his 4-iron the way longer players wear out the grooves of their wedges. He will turn 50 on May 12.
So, yeah, he’s looking forward to playing on PGA TOUR Champions. Why not?
He’ll be reunited with friends like David Duval, Justin Leonard, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Mike Weir. He won’t be asked to hit the ball “410 yards off the tee.” He likely won’t miss three straight cuts on that circuit, as he has coming into THE PLAYERS Championship. What’s more, starting next year PGA TOUR Champions will include a tournament he hosts, the Constellation Furyk & Friends at Jacksonville’s Timuquana Country Club.
All of which has his juices flowing, but as he is quick to remind Furyk can sometimes still hang with the world’s best. Exhibit A: His surprising runner-up finish at THE PLAYERS last year.
“To feel the excitement of the crowd and a little bit of that hometown cheering section was really special for me,” Furyk said Tuesday. “Especially at the age of 48, coming off of three years of injury and really not playing all that well, and I wasn't even in the field in 2018. I snuck in last year and had a great week, and it honestly gave me a ton of confidence that I got under the gun and hit some good shots down the stretch and almost won the tournament.”
In other words, if you think Furyk will start playing on PGA TOUR Champions as soon as the smoke has cleared from his birthday cake, think again. Yes, he missed cuts at The Honda Classic, The Genesis Invitational and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am coming into this week, but Furyk also finished T23 at The RSM Classic and T17 at the Safeway Open this season.
Put him on the right course and he can still get it around, which is one reason why he is still of two minds when it comes to where he will play upon turning 50.
“I'm caught a little bit in between,” Furyk said, “but my thought right now would really -- I kind of want to play this season on the PGA TOUR. I started the season, I want to finish it. Last year I was kind of -- I was real close. I had a good solid year but real close to making the TOUR Championship. (He finished 51st in the FedExCup.)
“I'm not going to have that many opportunities in the future for those to happen,” he added. “That window is closing. So I want to finish out the season on the PGA TOUR, and then I'm going to kind of reevaluate, and eventually when I do -- I don't see myself juggling.”
Unlike, say, Steve Stricker, Furyk figures he will stay in the 50-and-over lane once he switches over. He’ll make exceptions for favorites like the RBC Heritage and the Valspar Championship.
The only question is when he’ll make the switch, and whether he will dominate. The 17-time PGA TOUR winner is the only player in history to shoot both 59 (2013 BMW Championship) and 58 (2016 Travelers Championship), and nearly shocked the world at TPC Sawgrass last year.
Whether or not he has another such run in him, Furyk will savor his hometown event for over two decades, as always. He’s still got the fire and energy, and will draw on both as he meets the demands of Pete Dye’s masterpiece. This, even as he meets his obligations as one half of the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, with its various charitable commitments this week.
However it goes, he’s got a lot to look forward to as a senior, renewing rivalries with guys like Els, Goosen – also in THE PLAYERS field – and others.
“I guess Bernhard (Langer) is probably everyone’s rival,” Furyk said with his characteristic bluntness. “He’s been kicking everyone's butt for 10 years. But yeah, I think those rivalries, guys that are at the top, guys that are fighting it out, that's going to be great for the Champions TOUR, and I would love to get out there and be competitive and be in that mix.”