You’ve got to have nothing but respect for Jim Furyk, who has played on every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team since 1997. If you’ve ever spoken to Furyk about these biennial matches, it’s obvious that he truly cares about representing his country and enjoys the “team” aspect of these events.
Furyk was forced to withdraw from the last two FedEx Cup events due to a bone contusion on his wrist. He tried his best to rehabilitate the injury in time to compete in the Presidents Cup, but on Friday, he finally announced he would be unable to play. Instead, he’ll travel with the team as an assistant to captain Jay Haas.
“There is nothing I take more pride in than representing the United States in The Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup, and I am deeply disappointed that I will have to withdraw from playing because my wrist, although improving, is still not where it needs to be at this point,” said Furyk in a statement released by the PGA Tour. “There are few people I respect more than Jay Haas, who I partnered with in The Presidents Cup in 2003 in South Africa, and I’m very grateful to accept the invitation to be part of the team as assistant captain.”
Furyk, who is a natural leader in the team room, will no doubt be an asset in this role (and someday he’ll make a great Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup captain).
“Jim did everything he could to be ready, and I’m sad that he won’t be able to play,” said Haas. “He’s a totally selfless team player who will be missed. He’s had another great year, and I believe he was pointing toward this event to cap it off. Even though he won’t be able to play, to have both Tabitha and him in Korea will be a boost to the entire team.
“With that said, J.B. is excited for the opportunity and will be ready to play. He’s had two top 10s to end the FedExCup Playoffs, so he’s playing well and he’ll be a good fit. We’re all looking forward to a great week.”
Haas, who was given what essentially is an extra wildcard pick, chose J.B. Holmes, who was 12th in the points standings, to replace Furyk.
“My heart goes out to Jim because I know how much The Presidents Cup means to him,” said Holmes. “Obviously, he has been a leader for our team for many years and he will be greatly missed. I am, however, very honored and excited to get the call from Captain Haas to make the trip to South Korea to help the U.S. Team retain the Cup.
“Having personally experienced a victory in the Ryder Cup in 2008, I know firsthand what a phenomenal feeling it is to win for the United States and your teammates. I have always loved playing in team competitions, and, clearly, playing on the U.S. Presidents Cup Team represents the pinnacle of such team competitions. I am so excited for this honor and look forward to joining my great teammates in Korea.”
Snooze alert! Holmes is a super nice guy, but I’m not sure I could name a less compelling player to watch. It’s like Haas just wanted to be as non-controversial as possible (or he’s making up for the Phil Mickelson pick) and decided to play it safe by simply choosing the next guy in the points standings.
Sure, Holmes hits it far. He has a great comeback narrative after enduring brain surgery a couple years ago. But if we’re picking players based on who has the best sob story, then why not go with Erik Compton?
Oh, he has Ryder Cup experience, you say? Yeah, he was a captain’s pick and rookie in 2008, where he secured a 2-0-1 record. Yay!
As for Holmes’ playing record or current form, he finished T4 at the BMW Championship and T8 at the Tour Championship (which were both limited field events). He won the Shell Houston Open in April. He has a bunch of top 10s, but at no point this year did I really give him much notice. Because he simply doesn’t move the needle. I mean, does the addition of Holmes to the team excite you enough to stay up until the wee hours of the night to watch? Hell no.
Then again, I’m not sure that many players would. I’m not even sure why I’m ranting about this because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter (as indicated by picking Mickelson, who was so far down the points standings you had to scroll down five pages just to find him) — the Presidents Cup is an exhibition and the Americans demolish the Internationals every time. But, if anything, it’s a good experience young players who have the potential to have an impact on future Ryder Cup teams. Maybe I’ve been talking with my boy Soly too much, but picking Brooks Koepka instead of Holmes would probably have piqued my interest in the Presidents Cup more.
Just going to leave this here pic.twitter.com/FEeVJPxdb8
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) October 2, 2015
I could name a few other options (Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, etc.), but I’ve already put too much effort into this rant than it’s worth. After all, it’s just the Presidents Cup, where a bunch of American PGA Tour players throttle a bunch of International PGA Tour players for a weekend. I’ll bottle up the rest of my energy for the exhibition match that actually matters next year at the Ryder Cup.