NORTON, Mass. – Jim Furyk made sure he had two alarms to make his tee time Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, his cell phone and a wake-up call from the hotel.
Then the power went out.
Furyk now is famous for his cell phone going dead, causing him to oversleep and miss his pro-am time last week at The Barclays, which made him ineligible under PGA Tour rules – since relaxed – to play the tournament. He dropped six spots to No. 9 in the FedEx Cup standings.
This time, there was no need to worry. He also had a third backup, with his wife promising to call him to make sure he was up. What bothered Furyk about the power going out was being unable to watch Ohio State’s football game.
“Right about kickoff time, the power went off at my hotel for about an hour,” Furyk said after opening with a 66. “And I’m staring at my phone thinking … ‘Do I need to save some battery?’ I can’t get a wake-up call and my phone is not working, so I was going to sleep. And I opened the drapes, because if it didn’t come back on, at least I’d see the sunlight.’”
The power came back on in an hour, he watched Ohio State win and he woke up on time Friday.
Then, Furyk said he had one of his best rounds striking the ball – and his experiment with the belly putter went just fine.
“I knew I was going to go with it unless something funky happened,” Furyk said. “I think I’ve still got some particulars to work out. Overall, my speed was very good. I was a little nervous about some of the longer putts, and I was able to knock it up there close and get some good two-putts.”
He said he could have done better inside 10 feet, but he’s at the start of the learning curve.
“It’s the first day of the tournament, and I’ll get some experience with it,” Furyk said.
The best news of all? He tees off Saturday afternoon at the earliest and can sleep as long as he wants.
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WORKING OVERTIME: Rain delays caused by Hurricane Earl can make it tough on TV.
For starters, NBC Sports golf producer Tommy Roy recorded the final hour of morning action Friday to have something to show in case there were delays in the afternoon. But it really gets sticky for Keith Blachly.
Blachly manages the technical aspect of NBC’s coverage. Because of high wind anticipated overnight, Blachly and his staff have decided to tear down at the end of the day all the announcer booths and green bunting that shields the scaffolding. Plus, cameras that typically are left on the course will be brought into the broadcast compound.
Blachly will have to put everything back together and in position Saturday morning.
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GLOVER’S DAY: Someone mentioned to Lucas Glover after he opened with a 70 that if not for bad luck, there would be none at all.
Glover somehow managed a wry grin.
He was going along nicely at 3 under until his tee shot wound up in a divot on the 14th hole. That wouldn’t be a problem under lift, clean and place – except this was in the first cut of rough. Trying to dig out the shock, Glover suffered a stinger in his right hand, and he was clenching it the rest of the round.
From the middle of the 15th fairway, his first iron shot after the stinger, he flinched before digging into the turf and caught only the top half of the ball, sending it low and over the green for a bogey. On the par-5 18th, his ball was headed for the bunker, meaning he would have to lay up. Instead, it found a thick bush in the bunker, and he had to take a one-shot penalty to remove it. He hit his next shot into the hazard and had to scramble for a bogey.
After signing his card, it only got worse.
An official with a clipboard broke the bad news – Glover had been selected for drug testing.
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BEST BALL: The top three players in the FedEx Cup standings, playing in the same group, combined to shoot 16 under par. Steve Stricker led the way with a 66, and he said it’s easy for everyone in the group to feed off the good vibes from so many birdies.
No need telling that to the group of Zach Johnson, Jason Day and Ryan Palmer. They combined to shoot 23 under par.
Asked if he had ever been in a group with such low scoring, Johnson thought back to his days on the mini-tours, “but it was not remotely on a golf course of this magnitude.”
“I think we had some bogeys, too, so that was pretty impressive all around,” Johnson said.
If they had played a best ball, the group score would have been 57. The only holes none of them birdied were Nos. 4, 6, 14 and 16.