A solid and sour year for Jim Furyk

Associated Press Modified: October 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm •  Published: October 17, 2012
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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Jim Furyk is playing his final official tournament of the year at the McGladrey Classic, and even a win at Sea Island might not be enough to chase away such a sour taste from an otherwise solid year.

There are enough indications to give him plenty of confidence going forward.

Furyk started the year at No. 50 in the world ranking and has gone up to No. 23. His adjusted scoring average is 68.41, second only to Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, and nearly a half-stroke better than his average in 2010 when he won three times, captured the FedEx Cup and was voted PGA Tour player of the year.

Therein lies the difference. And it's a big difference.

The trophy case is empty this year, matching the feeling he has inside him.

"I can't deny the fact that I played well," Furyk said Wednesday. "I can't deny the fact that I have a lot of confidence in my game and the direction that it's going. But it's still disappointing when I look back at what could have been instead of what happened."

Furyk lost on the first extra hole at Innisbrook when he faced an awkward lie for his second shot, did well to find the back of the green and didn't get another chance when Luke Donald made birdie to win a four-man playoff. He was tied for the lead on the 16th tee at the U.S. Open — the first of consecutive par 5s at Olympic Club — when he hooked his tee shot into the woods, made bogey and never recovered. The worst of it came at Firestone, one of his favorite courses, when he took double bogey on the last hole and lost by one to Keegan Bradley in the Bridgestone Invitational.

"My game was very consistent. My game was good," Furyk said. "But the goal is to try to win golf tournaments. And to get so close — especially in big events — and not be able to close the door leaves a sour taste."

He would have settled for a U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup, except that went about like the rest of his year.

Furyk was among three Americans who were all square going to the 18th hole at Medinah and ended up losing, which enabled Europe to stage a stunning comeback. Furyk was 1-up over Sergio Garcia when he pulled his tee shot into the bunker on the 17th and made bogey, and then went long from a fairway bunker on the closing hole and three-putted from off the green to lose the match. The image of Furyk in a moment of despair, bent over with hands on his knees, made the cover of one golf magazine.

To win this week would essentially be light dressing on a deep wound.

"It would be positive," Furyk said. "But still, when anyone talks about the year, you're going to talk about two events. It would be a positive end. I was hoping that's what the Ryder Cup would be. We would thump them on Sunday, and that would be a good, positive end of the year for me."

Sea Island is only about 90 miles from Furyk's home in Florida, and the field is not as strong as it was last year. It features Ryder Cup teammate Zach Johnson, Ryder Cup captain and tournament host Davis Love III, along with Jason Day. The McGladrey Classic was hurt by the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which has a Monday pro-am next week in Bermuda and includes Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson. Matt Kuchar, who lives at Sea Island, is playing an exhibition in China.

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