Furyk finds the drive to make a late-season run
PITTSFORD, N.Y. – With only two events left before the PGA Tour's playoffs, Jim Furyk is in his worst position this late in the year since the postseason began in 2007.
Furyk, the 2010 FedEx Cup champion, stands 46th and is assured of playing only The Barclays and the DeutscheBank Championship. To qualify for the third of four events, the BMW Championship, Furyk will need to play some stellar golf.
Entering this week's PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club, Furyk, 43, finds reason for optimism. He put a new Callaway FT Optiforce driver in his bag two weeks ago and likes the results. Furyk ranks only 180th in driving distance on Tour, at 275.6 yards, so he needs to squeeze as much yardage as possible while maintaining accuracy.
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Since 1994, his first full season on Tour, he has found comfort in three drivers: a Titleist, which he broke in 2003; a Srixon, which he cracked in 2006; and a Callaway that he used to win twice in 2010, at the Transitions Championship and the Verizon Heritage, before it broke.
“I honestly haven't had a driver I've liked as much as those three since '10,” he said.
Enter the new Callaway FT Optiforce. Furyk has been searching for answers this year, and he thinks he found one. He put the driver into play at the RBC Canadian Open and tied for ninth, his first top-10 finish since early April. Last week in the WGC-Bridgestone Open, he added another tie for ninth, his first consecutive top-10 finishes since late 2012.
“When you start messing with equipment, it takes away from other things in your bag, and I haven't been messing too much with equipment the last few months, so it's gotten me back to concentrating on playing the game, hitting good golf shots, getting the ball up-and-down,” Furyk said. “I think my attitude was a little less than stellar for the first half of the season. I think that's turned around a little bit.”
Furyk, who has piled up 16 victories and more than $54 million in his Tour career, conceded that he lacked focus earlier in the season. With the playoffs so close and the possibility of making another Presidents Cup team looming, he says he is fully engaged.
Furyk knows that he must play his way onto the U.S. team that will play the Internationals on Oct. 3-6 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. He stands 16th on the points list, and the top 10 qualify for Fred Couples' squad. If he doesn't pick up points in the next few weeks, he would need one of two captain's picks to secure his 16th consecutive postseason team.
“The last couple weeks definitely helped put me within earshot a little bit more,” Furyk said. “It's three events now: PGA, Barclays and Boston (DeutscheBank), so three events to either do something pretty special or make a very good impression – one of the two.”