Furyk makes off with the loot
Wherever else Jim Furyk's $11.35 million goes it won't be to his head.
Off the course as much as on, the 40-year-old Furyk is one of the most consistent men in the game. Indeed, when he punched the air after making the two-and-a-half-footer he needed to win both the Tour Championship and the Fed-Ex Cup, it was probably the closest he will ever get to being carried away.
"I get criticised for never showing emotion and criticised when I do,"
The extraordinary thing was that most people would have written Furyk off at the start of this year's Fed-Ex series. That was when he set the alarm on his mobile phone to wake him for the pro-am ahead of The Barclays, only for the battery to run out overnight. He missed his starting-time by five minutes and, as per the regulations, was disqualified from the event proper. All of which contributed to his starting last week in a relatively lowly 11th place on the Fed-Ex standings.
Furyk, who played his way into the field for the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions with his win in the Transitions in March, was seemingly set for a comfortable finish on Sunday when he birdied the 15th to move three clear of the field. However, with Luke Donald chipping in from all of 100 feet at the 17th for a birdie, he could ill afford to drop a shot at each of the 16th and 17th.
He needed to par the 18th to stay at eight-under to Donald's seven-under and it goes without saying that his fans started to cross their fingers when he knocked his second into sand.
Yet those of his supporters who knew the player's statistics for the week were not overly concerned. Namely, that of the eight greenside bunkers he had visited thus far, he had on each occasion got up and down.
Donald would not have known it was eight out of eight but he knew enough of Furyk's reputation in this department not to hurry out to the practice ground. Mind you, there was the further point that he did not want to get another soaking on an afternoon which had included a two-hour suspension. "Usually," he said, afterwards, "I would have headed for the range but I didn't feel like drowning myself any more."
When Furyk saved his par, Donald gave a broad smile and said that his American friend had fully deserved his victory.
It was Gary McCord, of commentary fame, who made the best fist of summing up Furyk's unconventional but thoroughly effective action when he suggested that it looked as if he was trying to swing in a telephone booth. Mike Furyk, Jim's father and only coach, will have heard any number of such cheerful jibes across the years but Jim's results have confirmed over and over again that their decision to leave well alone was the right one.
If Furyk's double victory was precisely what captain Corey Pavin wanted by way of flying high into Wales for this week's Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie should be feeling similarly upbeat.
Montgomerie would not deny that he would have been left with uncomfortably mixed feelings had his old chum Paul Casey, to whom he did not give a wild-card, won the Fed-Ex. Yet, even if Casey had come out on top rather than fourth, the Scot would have been able to draw consolation from the efforts of Padraig Harrington, the player he chose ahead of him.
In a week when John Parry won the Vivendi Trophy in France, Harrington closed with a 64 which included a perfect match-play mix of 15 birdies and an eagle.
One way and another, it was enough to back up what he had said at the start the week when he came up with a cheery, "I'd have picked me...."
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