Despite all your best efforts, Jim Furyk is doing his best to play his way onto the Ryder Cup team. Furyk shot a 67 on Saturday at the Wyndham Championship to back up his 66 and 64 earlier in the week. He enters the final round on Sunday tied for third, five strokes back of leader Si Woo Kim, but with just one golfer separating the two. And we all remember what Furyk did last time he played on a Sunday.
The subplot to Furyk trying to notch his first victory since the RBC Heritage in 2015 is that Furyk is trying to get back on a Ryder Cup team where he’s been a stalwart for the last two decades. But first, let’s get to his round on Saturday. Furyk’s 3-under 67 came largely on the back of a slick run down the back nine that included a birdie, this eagle from 62 feet away and another birdie consecutively.
“It was a really good, patient day,” said Furyk. “I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. I was even par through 8. I think I only made one birdie through 13 holes today but kind of got hot with a birdie at 14, eagle at 15, birdie at 16 … Overall, still some good position with the tournament. Need to get over that and play a good round tomorrow.”
He finished with two bogeys, but he was always going to need some sort of collapse from Kim even if he finished par-par. Five strokes back is a lot, but one golfer between you and the leader is not. Furyk is certainly in the mix to notch what would be one of the bigger wins of the latter half of his career considering the stakes.
No matter what you might think about Furyk and the Ryder Cup — and my Twitter feed tells me that you all have an opinion — it’s starting to look like the momentum has shifted in his direction to get a captain’s pick from Davis Love III (he’s currently No. 18 in the standings, and the top eight make it automatically). Love has been mentioning Furyk’s name all season because of a wrist injury that kept him out of contention at the beginning of the season.
“We’ve got guys like Jim Furyk that went out last year during the Playoffs and didn’t play until really the week before the U.S. Open,” said Love at the PGA Championship. “I’ll have the stats crunchers go back and run 10,000 times if Jim Furyk played his normal schedule, where we have finished, and he’ll probably pop right back up into the top five or six.”
Again, whether you agree with this or not (Furyk has one win since 2010), Furyk’s trajectory is a good one. Everybody knows it too. It’s one reason Rickie Fowler (who is also on the bubble) decided to play this week. Furyk is looking forward, but also trying to stay in the moment.
“I’m in [the first playoff event] next week but need to play well to get to Boston [for the second playoff event],” said Furyk. “That’s in the back of my mind but that’s not a goal … my goal would be to go out and play a good round of golf tomorrow, shoot a good number, hopefully have a chance to win the golf tournament down the stretch. If not, finish as high as I can and if I do do those sorts of things, the rest will take care of itself.”
Furyk wasn’t specifically talking about the Ryder Cup, but he might as well have been. Another round even close to what he shot at the Travelers Championship two weeks ago with the 58, and he’ll have the tournament, a deep playoff run and the Ryder Cup spot all locked up.