MARANA, Ariz. – In his 14th start at the Accenture Match Play Championship, Jim Furyk made it to the quarter-finals for the first time.
But if you think he was satisfied, think again. Furyk knows he squandered a golden opportunity in his loss to Rickie Fowler, having gone to the 17th tee 1 up. His bread and butter – fairways and greens – failed him, much to his chagrin. Missing the fairway at the 17th, Furyk bogeyed and dropped into a tie. Missing the green at 18, he bogeyed and lost.
Lee Westwood is the only other player who has played in 14 of the 16 Accentures. They were both there at the debut in 1999 and to put their longevity in perspective, Furyk lost to Patrick Sjoland that year, Westwood got beat by Eduardo Romero.
Overall, Furyk is now 14-14 in the Match Play, but it wasn’t until this year that he finally met a repeat opponent. He beat Charl Schwartzel, whom he had lost to in 2010. Furyk has played 26 other opponents once each.
Westwood, who bowed out against Harris English in Round 1, is now 11-15 against 24 different opponents. He has played Nick Watney three times.
Furyk likes to set the record straight, though, because he’s often grouped into that long line of players – including Westwood – who skipped the Accenture when it was in Australia around Christmas in 2001. Furyk said he missed that year because of an injury, which is also why he missed out in 2004. He considers the Accenture, the Cadillac, and the Bridgestone to be locks on his schedule, so consider him surprised that Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson opted out of last week’s Accenture.
“I did not foresee that in 1999 (when the World Golf Championships started). I can promise you that,” said Furyk. “But I didn’t see players skipping playoff events either. But it’s happened now.”