- The Washington Times - Friday, September 23, 2005

LAKE MANASSAS, Va. — American Jim Furyk might not be able to play today because of strained rib muscles.

Furyk, the No. 9 in the world, aggravated the injury on his first shot yesterday out of the rough. If Furyk can’t play, Tiger Woods, the world’s No. 1 golfer, would play either Stuart Appleby or Mark Hensby in a singles match.

If Furyk starts the four-ball competition but can’t continue, Woods will play by himself against both of the Australians for the remainder of the match.

“I just have to keep in close contact with our captain, Jack Nicklaus, and let him know how I’m feeling at all times,” Furyk said. “I want to be a benefit to the team. I want to go out there and try to help win points. I can only do that if I’m healthy and feeling good. I told them they are going to have to cart me off before I quit. I’ll be out there hopefully feeling fine.”

It certainly didn’t look that way yesterday. Before his first shot, Furyk was stretching his back on the fairway. And at the par-4, 425-yard fifth hole, Furyk was about 200 yards down the right side of the fairway, laying on his back in the shade just inside the ropes.

In what looked almost like lovers at picnic, Furyk’s wife, Tabitha, was crouched on her knees with her husband’s head gazing at her. Once Furyk was able to get back on his feet, a tournament official summoned a physiotherapist to check out what was wrong.

Chiropractor Tom LaFountain met Furyk on the fifth green and started massaging Furyk at every tee thereafter. With LaFountain’s treatment, Furyk was able to finish the round.

“Jim’s right side of his rib cage, the intercostal muscles, were in a pretty intense contraction and spasming pretty bad, and he did not have much mobility in his spine or his lower thoracic area,” LaFountain said. “So what I did was just worked muscle the first couple holes because that was all we could do because he was in a lot of pain.”

On No. 9, Furyk lay face down on the tee while LaFountain tried to loosen his back.

Nicklaus intentionally placed Furyk in today’s last group so he would have additional time for treatment.

“It may sound like I put [Woods and Furyk] together with the choice knowing the issue of Jim Furyk,” Nicklaus said. “You heard me in here yesterday. I didn’t know of any issue with Jim Furyk. All I know is that Tiger has asked to play with Jim Furyk, and I wanted to grant their wish. And I think Jim Furyk would like to play tomorrow. Jim Furyk wants to have as long as he has to be able to have treatment to find out before he has to make a decision whether he can play or not.”

He may have felt poorly, but Furyk played well. Back-to-back birdie putts on Nos. 3 and 4 left him and Fred Funk 1-up through four holes.

Furyk injured himself last week at the 84 Lumber Classic. He felt a weekend of rest would be enough for him to be close to 100 percent for the Presidents Cup. In the meantime, Furyk said he tried to work on his short game and take it easy during the practice rounds.

“Honestly, if [LaFountain] didn’t come out, I wouldn’t have made it the whole round,” Furyk said. “But he worked on me a little bit and kept me going. I know everyone. The only reason I didn’t want to call him out is because I knew I would be laying on the ground getting treatment or whatever, and it would cause a stir. I didn’t really want everyone around the country and everyone around the world to see it.”

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