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Jim Furyk talks return from back injury ahead of The Ally Challenge

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Jim Furyk talks return from back injury ahead of The Ally Challenge

    Written by Bob McClellan

    Jim Furyk returns to PGA TOUR Champions this week at The Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Michigan, the event where he won in his Champions Tour debut in 2020.

    The 53-year-old Furyk hasn’t played since July 10, when he withdrew after the second round at the American Family Insurance Championship. He’s been battling what he termed a “back injury” since early 2022.

    “I have been off for the last, I don't know, eight to 10 weeks,” Furyk said during a news conference at The Ally. “I've been kind of nursing a back injury, something that's been kind of bothering me for about the last year and a half. Really, when I came in here last year I really hadn't been playing very well, but coming in '20 and '21 my game was in good shape, I was ready to go. I had some pretty good finishes.

    “Just been kind of battling my health a little bit. I kind of tried to address that the last 10 weeks. I'm nowhere near 100 percent, but being Warwick Hills, being The Ally Challenge, it's something I wanted to come and try to see where I'm at.”

    Furyk followed up his win in 2020 with a tie for 10th in 2021. He tied for 13th last year.

    “It's always good coming back,” Furyk said. “I loved this tournament back when it was the Buick Open (a PGA TOUR event from 1958-2009). …I always said there's a reason why I made this kind of my first Champions Tour event here at Ally. I've always loved the golf course. I always feel like coming back to Flint and the Grand Blanc area has been fun. …

    “I've had a lot of success here in the past, so it's always fun coming back to a place that brings back good memories.”

    Furyk has struggled mightily in 2023. His best finish was a T10 at the Trophy Hassan II in Morocco in his season debut. He has only two other top 25s in 11 starts.

    Furyk revealed on Thursday that he never has had a back problem among the injuries he has suffered in his long and storied career.

    “I've had some wrist surgeries and some injuries along the way, but I've been very, very lucky with my back throughout my career, never really had a lot of issues,” Furyk said. “I'm not really in a lot of pain, I'm just not very strong. I lost a lot of strength in kind of my right side, and I think it's caused some bad habits in my swing.

    “So really, I think first just getting back and quit being stubborn and going to the doctor and kind of figuring out, OK, there's something wrong. Now trying to figure out how to get better is kind of the key. I'm still putting the puzzle pieces together. They don't want me out there playing golf if I'm in pain or making it worse. I've been trying to do a lot of PT and get a little stronger. I've had a couple of injections already. Just trying to put the puzzle pieces together and figure it out.”

    Furyk is 70th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, so he’s a long shot just to make the playoffs. He figures he’ll take the rest of the year to try and get healthier and see if he can give himself something to build off for 2024.

    “My goal in a perfect world,” Furyk added, “I could kind of hit the ground running, maybe be a little healthier in '24, maybe understand what my limitations are, what I can do and maybe see some positive things in my golf game.”

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