Golf is often recognized as the sport which most tests your patience. For Jim Furyk, his patience was pushed almost to the limit–especially since he’s a world-class player.
It had been 4 and 1/2 grueling years for Mr. Furyk. We remember back to the hat backwards, in the rain, up-and-down at the Tour Championship in 2010 when Jim Furyk captured $10 million dollars and the FedEx Cup. But since then, utter draught.
The 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic, we remember the 16th hole duck-hook which removed him from the lead. We can think back to multiple opportunities at Ryder Cups where chip shots were muffed and crucial putts weren’t converted on. Do you remember the Bridgestone where Furyk surrendered the tournament to the fiery Keegan Bradley?
It had been a while for Jim.
Jim Furyk’s win at the 2015 RBC Heritage was a long-time coming. He might not take this tartan jacket off for a while.
You could see the significance of the win on Furyk’s face after he drained the putt in the playoff to win over Kevin Kisner. It was a great place to welcome Furyk back.
Sometimes, if you want something bad enough, you need to take it for yourself. This was the case with Furyk’s latest win on Sunday. Before, it seemed as though he played good golf, but didn’t convert at the right times to close events.
Since his last win, he played in 100 PGA Tour events, locking top-10s in some 30% of all of the events he’s entered. He’s found himself around the tops of leader boards, only to finish events “2-over his last 4” or “bogeying 3 of his last 6,” backing into the clubhouses. He hadn’t taken it for himself.
Things were different on Sunday.
Maybe part of the reason for Furyk’s triumph was the form of his play on Sunday. Eight under par 63 is a good enough round to get anyone’s confidence pumping. He’d held 36-hole leads and 54-hole leads, but hadn’t closed.
Golfers talk about their golf game from day-to-day. Even the most consistent players in the world have a different golf game daily, even though it may not seem apparent to the naked eye watching on television. Where as a golfer hit the ball terrible Thursday-Friday to make the cut by one, he may finish 66-67 on the weekend for a back-door top-10. The inverse is often true as well.
In Jim’s case, I think his putting himself in contention said enough about the state of his game. He was a world-class player. He simply had trouble getting the good Jim to show up on Sundays to close events.
He answered questions about his “nerves failing him” and “the pressure of big events for a player in his 40s.” He answered them with class and dignity. In his mind, he knew there was a certain Jim Furyk buried deep inside.
To make the putts he did, under the pressure, was big for Furyk and his validation. A win is a win, sure, but to have something handed to him wouldn’t convince American critiques to place the name of “choker” upon his head. He needed to take something for himself and show indeed, how clutch he is.
On Sunday, the good Jim showed up. And with it, the emotion of a victory poured out.