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Furyk Laments Latest Missed Opportunity
Jim Furyk had a wire-to-wire victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in hand. Standing on the tee of the 72nd hole at Firestone Country Club in Akron, the 42-year-old Pennsylvanian held a one-stroke lead over Keegan Bradley.
But then a scene ensued that was eerily similar to what happened in June's U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, when he closed with a 4-over 74 and lost on the final day to Webb Simpson, who shot a 68. On Sunday, all Furyk needed to do was par the hole for the win.
Furyk got a good break when his drive to the left glanced off trees and ended up in the middle of the fairway. With a 7-iron in hand, he hit past the green and into a bunker but then it hopped out onto the collar. With one foot in the bunker and the other out, his third shot barely cleared the bunker and stopped in thick grass. His fourth shot came up five feet short of the pin. At this point, a bogey would have forced a playoff because his playing partner, Bradley, who had just sank a 15-foot par putt.
But in a cruel twist of fate, Furyk's bogey try was what he later termed "my worst putt of the week." The resultant double-bogey was also the worst possible scenario, giving Bradley the victory along with $1.4 million and 550 FedEx Cup points.
Furyk was clearly disappointed after the dust had settled. "I led the golf tournament the entire way and lost it on the very last hole," said the 16-time PGA Tour winner, whose last title came in the 2010 Tour Championship. "To get that close and to know that I played more than good enough to win the golf tournament and not close the door is disappointing.
"I don't know how better to answer your question. I'm not dodging it. It is a cruel game, and I don't think - I've lost some tournaments in some pretty poor fashions, but I don't think I've let one ever slip nearly as bad as this one. This was my worst effort to finish off an event."
Here's what else a game Furyk told reporters Sunday evening.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jim Furyk into the interview room. Jim, I know obviously a disappointing finish there, great playing throughout the week, though. Just if we can get your comments on how today unfolded.
JIM FURYK: A little bit of a dream start, birdieing the first three. Really had a lot of control of the golf ball today. Didn't hit the ball in the rough hardly at all, had it in my hand all day, hit some good iron shots, put the ball in the places I needed to. Keegan played a heck of a back nine. He made four birdies on the back maybe, and unbelievable saves at 17 and 18. He did everything he needed to do to win the golf tournament.
I felt like I did the same until the 18th hole. I played very well today, had a lot of control over the ball. I didn't putt particularly well on the back side. I putted very well on the front, I thought. But to just - I think right now just a little bit in shock with the way I finished up. I turned a 5 into a 6 and lost the golf tournament on the last hole. There's no way I should have made double-bogey.
Q. At the 18th what was the toughest of those shots, or which one would you most like over?
JIM FURYK: Really there wasn't one that was as tough as I made it look. The fourth one was a hard shot to get close because I had a pretty awful lie. But if I wanted one shot over, I guess it would be the second or the third. The third especially. I had the ball sitting high in the rough. It was sitting up kind of in the middle. And on that downhill lie, the tendency if you hit down through that, you're going to catch it high on the blade, and I tried to keep from doing so. I tried to sweep it out of there, and I caught the ball I got too steep. I got the ball real high in the face. That's why it came out kind of dead, didn't have any power to it, and kind of dumped it short there.
To hit that third shot, it was just a really bad shot. If I hit it solid and I roll it up against the bank, it rolls down right where Keegan's ball is and we're in a putting contest at that point, both there in 3. And if I make, I win; if I miss, the worst I'm going to do is tie. The third shot was the one that probably is the thorn in my side.
Q. You're trying to turn over a 7 iron into a left to right wind?
JIM FURYK: I was trying to aim it right at that pin and hit a nice hard draw and hold in the breeze. The breeze was pretty hard left to right. It may have been too much club. In hindsight it may have been an 8 iron.
JIM FURYK: Well, my answer to that would be it's downhill, there probably was a little breath behind us, and I hit 7 iron about 173 yards, but that ball through - I'm not sure what the pin was off the top of my head, but that ball flew over the green. I wasn't really worried about the distance when I hit it, I was worried about that I knew I hung it to the right.
Q. I'm not sure if I can speak to this at this point, but there's been a couple of examples now this summer of how cruel the game can be. I just wonder how you look at that. It happened to Adam Scott; tough final day for you at the U.S. Open, as well. I just wonder how you look at that in those terms.
JIM FURYK: I'm not sure I understand the question, about how I look at it. I've known it's a cruel game for a long time, and I guess we're pretty - I feel bad for what happened to Adam, but I think that it doesn't affect you when it's not you, if that makes sense. So I go back to the U.S. Open and the chances I had there, coming in tied with three holes to play, and played poorly the last three holes.
And here, I led the golf tournament the entire way and lost it on the very last hole. To get that close and to know that I played more than good enough to win the golf tournament and not close the door is disappointing. I don't know how better to answer your question. I'm not dodging it. It is a cruel game, and I don't think - I've lost some tournaments in some pretty poor fashions, but I don't think I've let one ever slip nearly as bad as this one. This was my worst effort to finish off an event.
Q. I'm sorry if you answered this earlier, but the last putt, were you just trying to ram that in there? Was that a putt you didn't want to break?
JIM FURYK: I was trying to hit it obviously on the firm side, but I pushed it really bad, so I never gave it a chance. It was a very quick stroke, and if I had to do it all over again I'd probably try to hit a putt like I do every other time and just kind of die it in the hole. I wanted to take a little bit of break out of it. I figured being here, being excited, you're going to go ahead and hit a relatively firm putt either way, so try to take a little break out of it, but I pushed it real bad. It was a really terrible putt.
You've been playing this game a long time. You had the lead for 71 holes. Can you tell me, the average person doesn't get to go through what you've just been through. What does it feel like?
JIM FURYK: Well, I think they realize when something happens in your life that you're working so hard, you're trying too hard, you're pushing too hard, you've worked so hard for, I have no one to blame but myself, but when things go wrong, it's an empty feeling. I'm disappointed. I walked over, my boy is crying right after the round, and I guess it reminds you as an adult, as a parent that you have to act the proper way. You have to do and say the right things to try to give the right lessons.
But there's no way I could have made any worse than 5 on the last hole, there's no way I could have done worse than a playoff. Put the third shot on the green, that would have put a lot of pressure on him to make that putt and it would be a lot more difficult and it would have given me a 5 or 6 footer, and then I hit the worst putt of the week.
I'm just disappointed. The thing I love about golf and this sport is that I have no one else to blame but myself, so I'll go to work tomorrow and (indiscernible.)
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.