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Furyk returns from a long winter’s nap
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Except for a cameo appearance in California, Jim Furyk has been hard to find on a golf course over the last four months.
That wasn’t an accident. And it wasn’t an injury.
Furyk has been talking the last few years about trying to cut back on his schedule, and he might have finally figured it out. His last meaningful competition was at East Lake in the Tour Championship on Sept. 22.
He decided not to play the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He opted out of the McGladrey Classic when something came up with his family. He dusted off his clubs to play the World Challenge the first week in December, and that’s been it.
Stricker and Furyk are the only PGA Tour members from the top 50 in the world who have yet to play a single PGA Tour event in the new wraparound season that began in October. That’s right. Both are tied for dead last in the FedEx Cup standings.
“We’re the only guys who haven’t made a cut. Is that what you’re saying?” he said with a smile.
Furyk hasn’t won since he captured the FedEx Cup in 2010 by winning the Tour Championship, though his game has not been far off the last two years. He was tied for the lead with three holes remaining in the U.S. Open in 2012, when he snap-hooked a 3-wood off a forward tee at Olympic Club and made bogey. A year ago, he had a one-shot lead over Jason Dufner going into the final round of the PGA Championship and lost to Dufner’s closing 68.
There was nothing left for him after the Tour Championship. He was left off the Presidents Cup team, was not interested in being an assistant captain, and instead spent the rest of the year at home in Florida. He didn’t even make it to a Pittsburgh Steelers game.
“It was nice to just get some time off and be home,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out the right number of events to where I want my game to be sharp. I want to feel like when I’m in the majors season that I’m click and my game is sharp. And in the fall, I want to be with my family. I want to make breakfast for the kids and take them to school and be involved.”
His daughter is 11 and now in middle school. His son just turned 10.
But there was more that bothered him last year. Furyk said he felt grouchy - “He’ll attest to that,” he said, turning to caddie Mike “Fluff Cowan - and lost patience. He wasn’t having as much as he once did. That much can be expected for a guy who just finished his 20th year on the PGA Tour. His career has been so remarkably consistent that along with 16 wins, a major and 15 consecutive national teams, only three times has he been outside the top 30 on the money list when healthy.
“I think everyone after 20 years on tour goes through a time where it’s not that I don’t want to play golf, I just didn’t want to be grouchy,” he said. “I wanted to have more fun. And I needed to manage my time when I was playing golf and when I was at home, and choose my schedule better.”
He talked to his father, the only coach he ever had. And he talked to Cowan, even asking his caddie to draw up a schedule.
By Ellen Sauerbrey and Dee Hodges
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