NORTON, Mass. – Jim Furyk was on the putting green for four-plus hours Wednesday honing his stroke for his first playoff event of 2010.
With a belly putter replacing his old trusty short putter, Furyk stroked putt after putt, trying to get used to one of two candidates – one offset and the other more traditional.
After hours in the hot sun, the black top of the putter shaft was leaving black streaks on the Tour veteran’s white shirt.
“Maybe my agent can get me a Spray ‘n Wash deal,” Furyk joked.
It was totally different scenario from a week ago, when Furyk overslept, missed his pro-am time Wednesday at The Barclays in Paramus, N.J., and was subsequently ineligible by PGA Tour rule to play in the event.
Furyk, 40, flew home to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., immediately after the disqualification and was home just after lunchtime.
While spending the week playing golf and spending time with his kids, Furyk also found humor in how the media were spending so much time on the incident and his fellow golfers’ overwhelming vocal support.
“(ESPN Radio hosts) Mike & Mike said when you oversleep, it’s called a Furyk,” the 15-time Tour winner said, laughing while recalling how the affable duo lampooned him.
While Furyk was past the incident by the next day, clearly the PGA Tour had a lot to think about over the weekend. By Monday, Tour commissioner Tim Finchem had decided to make a change to the rule.
That was the first time Furyk got a call from the Tour since he left the grounds of Ridgewood Country Club.
“Tim (Finchem) called me Monday afternoon to let me know that he was going to change the rule – just to let me know so that I wouldn’t be caught off guard about a press release I hadn’t seen,” Furyk said.
Furyk didn’t expect to hear from the Tour at all, because he matter-of-factly knew he had violated a rule and there was little if anything to say about it.
Players texted and called with their support, and a few ribbings came his way, which Furyk agrees he deserved.
“Someone called me Sleepy,” Furyk said of one of the comments. “Everywhere I went in town, someone mentioned it. When I took the kids to school, the diner for breakfast – no matter where I went, someone mentioned it.”
Furyk has always believed the rule was a bad one, but in his position of violating the rule he felt uncomfortable with making his feelings known. Now, with the incident behind him, Furyk said he can express his thoughts on it.
“It’s a rule I have been vocally against since its inception,” Furyk said. “I understand why the rule is in place, so guys don’t skip pro-ams. I agree that we have to do a better job in the pro-ams than we do right now. That being said, I’m not sure disqualification makes sense.’’
Furyk said the pro-ams are how the PGA Tour separates itself from other sports.
“That’s our biggest selling point: You can come out on Wednesday and play on the same course, the same field that we’re going to play tomorrow – in pretty much the same condition – and play golf with us. That’s great entertainment value.”
With many players and the commissioner recognizing the rule’s shortcomings, Furyk said he can be more outspoken about his opposition to a rule that he says should have been eliminated years ago.
At TPC Boston, he still was working on the only remnant from his missed week at The Barclays. Furyk had decided after the PGA Championship that his putting needed a jolt, so he went to a belly putter.
He practiced with it on the offweek and even used it in his practice round at Ridgewood on Tuesday, but never got to use it in competition.
“I was kind of back and forth last week,” Furyk said of making the switch,” but I’m pretty committed now.”
So with his alarm set on his phone and a hotel wake-up call in place, Furyk is ready for his 7:50 pro-am time. Should be miss it for any reason, though, he at least won’t be ineligible to play this week.