Jim Furyk focuses on future, not on his 58 from last year’s Travelers
Via USA Today
Two men celebrated on the 18th green after their final rounds in last year’s Travelers Championship.
Russell Knox walked off TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., with the winner’s check, but Jim Furyk left with a piece of history — the first man to shoot 58.
“I don’t think that much about it,” Furyk said in a recent telephone interview with USA TODAY Sports before the U.S. Open. “I’m trying to focus on the weeks coming up and trying not to look in the rearview mirror as much as I am looking forward.
“But it gets mentioned a lot, talked about a lot,” he added. “I guess it’s kind of a fun memory as well. It’s great to reminisce about it. I have some great feelings, so it’s awesome.”
In four previous trips to the PGA Tour stop, Furyk never shot better than 66 before his magical 12 under round. While he is not the defending champion, it might appear that way when he tees off Thursday.
“Yeah, I would say there are some folks that remember that 58 as much as winning the golf tournament just because it was such a low number,” Furyk said. “In hindsight, winning a golf tournament is harder, because you have to put four good rounds together.
“I got off to a great start and it lived up for one day, but winning a golf tournament is impressive. Other folks will argue, ‘Well, someone wins every week and no one has ever shot 58.’ It’s a little bit of a Catch-22.”
Furyk is no stranger to historic rounds. He is also one of six Tour members to shoot 59, which came in the BMW Championship in 2013.
“It’s an event I haven’t played a ton in my career, and I haven’t really had a lot of success there, so the 58 was kind of out of left field,” Furyk said. “It’s a golf course that really does suit my game, and when I’m playing well, it should be a good golf course for me.
“A 58, it will be like going back to a course that you won at before because that round was so good.”
Tournament director Nathan Grube is pleased to have Furyk and Knox back in a star-studded Travelers Championship field that includes some of the top players in the world, including Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
Even with some of golf’s biggest names in the mix, Grube concedes it will be hard to surpass last year’s finish. Knox had yet to begin play when Furyk completed his round, so the Travelers turned into a double bill for excitement.
“Obviously, the attention it generated was incredible,” Grube said. “I remember I was here when Patrick Cantlay shot 60 when he was an amateur (in 2011) and set a record for lowest amateur score at a PGA event when he was a freshman at UCLA.
“I remember how much coverage we got from that. So when Furyk was sitting on 58 coming into 18, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’”
On his way to the scorer’s tent, Furyk peeked back to soak in what he had accomplished. He also went over to thank Jay Fishman, the former CEO of Travelers who helped put the insurance giant back on track along with this PGA Tour event. Travelers took over the title sponsorship 10 years ago.
Fishman died from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) a few weeks after the tournament was over.
“I was standing there watching it going, ‘Here’s a man that just made history, and he’s thanking the CEO who was responsible for putting this whole thing on,’” Grube said. “It was just a really special moment I know I will remember forever.”
Unless someone has a 57 in them, Furyk’s incredible round will not soon be forgotten by him or the tournament’s sponsor.
“All I can say is every time it is mentioned in the history books, our tournament is tied to that,” Grube said. “So we have something that will last forever.
“It was just a special year all around.”
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