When was the last time so many players were penalized because of those darn things called the rules? Jim Furyk, No. 3 in FedEx Cup points, was deemed ineligible to play in The Barclays for missing his 7:30am Pro-Am tee time this morning. Furyk’s cell phone alarm didn’t go off and he woke up in a panic at 7:23am. He grabbed the first pair of pants and shirt he mustered and rushed off without a belt and socks. In fact, when he arrived at the locker room at 7:35am, his shoes weren’t even tied yet. Unfortunately, it was too late.
PGA Tour officials were searching for him a good half an hour before his tee time. Rules official Slugger White was with Furyk’s caddie, Mike “Fluff” Cowan, who asked White if they’d seen Furyk yet. White replied, “No, we are looking for him.” Fluff had been trying to call him, but it was going straight to voicemail. Same thing happened when White tried.
“When things like that happen sometimes you think the worst … worried some stuff happened on the road. Thank goodness that wasn’t what it was. We kept looking and kept trying to call,” said White.
When Furyk scampered down by the clubhouse, he saw White and said, “Disqualified?”
By that time, officials had already sent out alternate Marc Leishman. (I bet the sponsors were pumped they got Leishman instead of Furyk! And no disrespect to Leishman, of course.)
“Knowing Jim as I do and we all do, he handled it extremely professionally and put all of the blame on himself,” said White. “A commitment to play in the tournament is a commitment to play in the pro-am. It is unfortunate for Jim. It is unfortunate for the tournament. He is a fan favorite and everybody likes him. He is a really good guy, but my hands are tied.”
A disappointed Furyk is headed home to Florida rather than sitting around in Boston for the next nine or ten days waiting for the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second seed of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
“I missed the first day of school,” said Furyk. “I should have just stayed home. I’m beside myself, but I have a way of climbing into stupid situations.”
He’s even more upset because its the playoffs (and there’s a total of $65 million on the line).
“This year, and the last couple, I mean, the fans are embracing themselves to it,” said Furyk. “It is going to take time. It will take years. But it has a special feel. The one thing that we have in golf that is difficult is that people say, well this is a big week.”
Wait, is Furyk on the Tour payroll? Kidding! Then he went on to tactfully compare the importance of the playoffs to the other big events.
“Well, I just played a World Golf Championship and that was a big week. I just played the PGA and that was a big week. Now I have two Playoff events and those are all big weeks. Then we have the TOUR Championship and that is a big week. Then I have got the Ryder Cup and that is a pretty big week. So … my last seven tournaments have all been big weeks. But this whole Playoff thing is a special deal.”
It sucks, but “rules are rules,” Furyk noted. Playing in pro-ams and schmoozing with the sponsors is part of the job. The chance to play with a pro is a slice of what those doling out thousands and millions are paying for. In other sports, like the NFL, players are benched for missing practice — of course, that’s a little different because golfers are independent contractors, but Furyk isn’t a struggling journeyman trying to make ends meet.
And in case you were concerned, Furyk could fall from 3rd to as far as 19th in the FedEx Cup points race. But it’s likely he’ll only drop to 7th and at worst 10th.
Why am I posting this five hours after the fact? Because I overslept.