Jim Furyk Snoozed, May Lose $10 Million
By Stephanie Wei under FedEx Cup

Jim Furyk can bet on getting an alarm clock for Christmas this year.

After he overslept and missed his Wednesday pro-am tee time by mere minutes at last month’s Barclays, the first FedEx Cup playoff event, he was punted off the field. The guys on Tour were sympathetic to his harsh punishment, but they also gave him grief.

“Hundreds of people told me that I was going to get alarm clocks for Christmas, so that one got beat in pretty good,” said Furyk after the second round of the Tour Championship. But I heard one saying, the over-under was 11 on the alarm clocks. I took the over.”

Just one painful joke after the other.

Furyk shot a five-under 65 on Friday to get to eight-under and a share of the 36-hole lead at the FedEx Cup finale. He’s No. 11 in the standings. Entering the playoffs, he was No. 3, but dropped to No. 8 after the mishap at The Barclays.

“I’ve always been able to kind of laugh at myself,” said Furyk, “and the only way to handle that situation was to really make fun of myself. I mean, it was my fault. I think people also — I said immediately, if I whined or complained or anything about the rule, it’s just going to make me look worse.

“My peers actually did plenty of that for me, so I think it was probably somewhat sympathetic with you all and then probably, and they gave me my due crap, as well, which I deserved.”

The controversy and reaction to Furyk’s fate led to Commissioner Tim Finchem overturning the rule for the rest of the season. Now, all of this could have been much ado about nothing because there’s the possibility Furyk might have missed the cut (in 20 starts in ’10, he has 3 MCs). It doesn’t do much good to harp on what might have been, but it’s hard not to with so much money on the line.

Because of the weighted and convoluted points system, Furyk would have needed to place third at The Barclays to secure being in the top five of the FEC standings going into this week and “controlled his destiny,” as the Tour calls it (winning the Tour Championship guarantees winning the FEC and $10 million bonus). But a finish better than 25th would have put him in the top 10, which is better than No. 11.

In golf you’re constantly reminded that you can only control your own game and can’t worry about what others are doing. Thing is, in the FedEx Cup game, it’s not quite the same — the system is contrived, which makes things more complicated.

Furyk has to play two more solid rounds and hope for crappy play from points leader Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker, Charley Hoffman and Paul Casey. The good news for Furyk is that he and co-leader Luke Donald have distanced themselves from the rest of the field. With the exception of Geoff Ogilvy who is just one back at seven-under, the rest of the pack is at least four strokes back.

“The only thing I can really control is to go out and play good on the weekend, try to win the golf tournament, and at that point there’s nothing else I can do about it,” said Furyk.

“You know, late on Sunday if any of us have a chance to win, projections say we’re going to win the FedEx Cup if we do, I’m sure it would — it’s a lot of money. I’m sure it’ll weigh on your mind. What did [Paul] [A]zinger say, the only thing that ever made him choke was money and major championships? I think it would weigh on your mind, but we’re at the halfway point.”

The huge, in-your-face scoreboards on almost every hole on the back nine ensure everyone is well aware of the FedEx Cup projections and standings (much more than the actual tournament leaderboard) — which on Sunday will silently taunt the players with info such as, “Jim Furyk must make this five-footer for $10 million!”

And still, no one will care. Because there are more important things happening in the world. You know, like, football.

[Photo by Kyle Auclair/]