Jim Furyk doesn’t have clubs and still travels
INCHEON, South Korea (AP) Jim Furyk showed how much the Presidents Cup meant to him. He came to South Korea without his golf clubs.
Furyk easily qualified for the U.S. team, but he has a deep bone bruise in his left wrist. He missed the last two FedEx Cup playoff events to try to get ready for the Presidents Cup, and then decided on Friday he wouldn’t be able to play. Captain Jay Haas asked if he wanted to be an assistant, and Furyk jumped on a plane.
”This week has two components, really,” Furyk said Wednesday. ”It’s an honor for us to represent our country. It’s the greatest to go out there and compete in an event like this, test your ability under a lot of pressure on a big stage. I’m missing that part. But the other component really is the camaraderie, the hanging out in the team room, the talking about pairings, just really having a good time with your boys.”
It was not lost on some of the Americans, especially those who have heard for years that a team event every year (the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup) is a burden.
Furyk’s decision dispelled that.
”To come over here hurt, knowing that he wants to be putting, he wants to be hitting tee shots, knowing that he can’t, that just shows how much he really wants to be a part of these teams and how much all these veteran guys want to be a part of these teams,” Bubba Watson said. ”You give nothing but utmost respect and love for him because it proves veterans want to be here.”
There’s two more components.
Furyk has been a staple of American team events dating to the 1997 Ryder Cup. The only team he missed was in 2013 at the Presidents Cup, when Fred Couples decided to use a pick on 20-year-old Jordan Spieth.
The 45-year-old Furyk is certain to be a captain, so it doesn’t hurt to be around Haas and his assistants – Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, three-time Presidents Cup captain Couples and Steve Stricker – to work on pairings and other intangibles that go into the week.
”If I were home this week, I’d be miserable,” Furyk said.
THE BROKEN PUTTER: The International team has a Presidents Cup tradition that’s hard to beat. For the second straight time, one match in a practice round was chosen to compete for the broken putter.
It’s the putter that belongs to Nick Price.
The Presidents Cup in South Africa was so intense that it brought out a frustration rarely seen from Price. He missed a short putt on the final hole at Fancourt in 2003 to lose his match against Kenny Perry, and walking off the green he snapped his putter over his knee.
Price now has that in a glass case, and it’s a trophy for two of his players at the Presidents Cup.
Adam Scott loves watching the highlight of Price trying to hide the broken putter under his arm as he shakes hands with Perry.
The putter went to Danny Lee and Marc Leishman this year. They beat Charl Schwartzel and Sangmoon Bae. Two years ago, Jason Day and Graham DeLaet won the putter.
KOREAN BARBECUE: Both teams were treated to a Korean barbecue on Tuesday night, only it wasn’t what they expected.
Not for Jordan Spieth, who’s from Texas. Or from Bill Haas, who grew up in South Carolina. Barbecue takes on a different meaning in those states than in South Korea.
”It was delicious. We had a good time last night. It was a good dinner,” Spieth said. ”There was no barbecue sauce, which is normally a game-changer.”
Asked for the strangest item on the menu, Spieth couldn’t say.
”There were a few things that I’m not sure what they were and I didn’t touch them,” he said.
Apparently, the expert is Rickie Fowler.
”Rickie took down just about everything and licked the bowl,” Spieth said.
On the other end of the spectrum was Bubba Watson.
”It was fun hearing Bubba. He doesn’t eat a whole lot of that stuff,” Haas said. ”So hearing him talk about the food and what he’s used to … it was just all entertaining.”
SICK SCHWARTZEL: The International team lobbied for a reduction in points from 34 to 30 this week, and it’s already helped. Charl Schwartzel was sick when he arrived in South Korea and stayed in bed Wednesday during the final day of practice.
Because there are only five matches Thursday, captain Nick Prick was able to hold out Schwartzel for the opening session. That meant his partner, Sangmoon Bae of South Korea, also is sitting out.
”He was iffy for tomorrow,” Price said. ”I felt kind of bad that I had to bench Moon, but I didn’t want to split up any of the other teams that played yesterday and played well together.”
Price said an extra day of rest should help the South African and that he hopes Schwartzel can play on Friday.
JACK’S COURSE: One characteristic of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea is the undulation of the greens, which reminds some players of his course at Dove Mountain that previously hosted the Match Play Championship and was never a favorite.
Nicklaus has made several changes ahead of the Presidents Cup, and there was a reason for that.
”Because I made it too tough to start with,” Nicklaus said Wednesday.
Nicklaus is one the most prolific golf course architects of his generation, and he said his outlook on design has changed over the years. That’s reflected in the courses.
”All designers go through cycles of when they do different things,” he said. ”I guess I was in my grumpy cycle when we started this. I’m in my more peaceful, `love golfer’ cycle right now.”
Nicklaus said this course had to be difficult or it would not have attracted the Presidents Cup, and that can appeal to some golfers.
”I think that people enjoy playing this golf course because it challenges them,” he said. ”I think we got our greens a little severe to start with, but I think the greens are very good now.”