Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk remembers record-setting day
On Aug. 7, 2016, the final round of the Travelers Championship, Jim Furyk had been on the road 29 days. He was in 70th place. He just wanted to get home to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to see his family.
” I wanted to sleep in my own bed, sit back on the porch with a beer and take a deep breath,” Furyk said by phone last month.
All that changed in a hurry.
A nine-hole career record 27 on the front was the foundation for his PGA Tour-record round 58.
“… Holed a wedge at 3, almost holed a 9-iron at 7 and a wedge at 9,” Furyk said as he recounted his start. “… The front nine really was quite amazing, and not much got away. I think I missed a 15-footer on 1. Past that I didn’t leave any shots on the course, that’s for sure.”
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open and 2010 FedEx Cup champion, is renowned his competitiveness and determination on the course. He is an assistant U.S. Presidents Cup captain this year. Next year he captains the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Furyk had played the three previous weeks in the British Open, RBC Canadian Open and the PGA Championship. And as much as getting home was a nice thought, Furyk went from back of the pack to contending as each hole went by.
“I was feeling under gun, lots of cameras and lots of fans, especially that early in the day,” Furyk said.
Furyk would not go on to win — he finished three behind champion Russell Knox — but the fans who followed him at TPC River Highlands witnessed golf history.
Furyk has a number of golf balls that have meaning at his home. “Have a dozen or 15 sitting on the top of a shelf,” he said.
But the 58 ball is not there.
He donated that, his glove, hat and scorecard to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.
“That ball is probably the dearest to me,” he said. “I don’t know about how many holes I had played with it; 16, 17, 18, or just the last hole.”
But he does know that it is now in ” a good spot,” to be viewed by many.
Furyk will be back this year, making his sixth tournament appearance. Yet the joy of what he was able to accomplish that day is tempered by the loss of Jay Fishman. The chairman and former chief executive officer of Travelers Cos. died from ALS on Aug. 19, 2016, 12 days after the final round of the tournament.
“He was extremely well respected on tour,” Furyk said. “I was just amazed; he was so energetic at the Travelers last year. I was amazed he passed way two weeks later — sad day.”
Furyk said he’ll never forget after he had signed his 58 scorecard and was standing just outside the scoring trailer. Fishman sought him out and said to honor the achievement, $58,000 would be donated to Furyk’s charity of choice.
At first, Furyk said the charity would be The Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, which works closely with the Wolfson’s Children Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. Then he said he wanted it to go to the Bruce Edwards Foundation for research for ALS.
“God bless you.” Fishman said.
In the end, $29,000 would go to each charity.
“I just know how well he was respected,” Furyk said. “Travelers has been just a wonderful partner with the PGA Tour for years and years with him being at the helm and obviously kind of setting things up for years to come,” Furyk said. “He realized the situation he was in, unfortunately. He seemed like an incredible man. In that time, he seemed to be worried about others rather than himself and didn’t have the ‘woe is me,’ when it would have been easy to.
“People like that are unbelievably inspiring. It’s like going to a children’s hospital. And you think you’re going to cheer up the kids. By the end of the day, you realize they did a hell of lot more for you than you ever could for them. Their attitudes, the fight, and just the honor they have. It’s pretty amazing. I think Jay stood for all of that.”
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