Jim Furyk appreciates your concern about his disastrous finish to the U.S. Open, but s**t happens so just let it go, the 2003 Open champ pleaded Wednesday.
Were it not for the “hundreds upon hundreds” of well-wishers offering him attaboys all day long, Furyk believes he could have put Sunday’s horrendous final round, marked by a hideous bogey on Olympic Club’s No. 16 that knocked him out of the lead, behind him faster.
“I’ve had my share of close calls and I have myself to blame and didn’t get the job done when I really needed to,” Furyk told reporters ahead of this week’s AT&T National at Congressional Country Club. “I think for the first couple of days it stings a little bit more and it’s tough to deal with personally, and what I’ve always done is kinda gone through my mind about the things that I think I could have improved on and what I could have done better, and why exactly did I make the poor swing at 16, what was going through my mind, what caused the reaction on the last three holes, and then try to figure out how you can improve on it.
“I’ve always been really good at kinda putting it behind me,” Furyk said, adding that those around him have made it harder for him to do that. “I get reminded of it at least two dozen times a day [by] hundreds of hundreds of people just seeing me in public at the grocery story, at a restaurant, and you know, ‘I was rootin’ for you, I was pullin’ for you.’”
Even PGA Tour service personnel have hopped aboard the sympathy train.
“Our commissioner was telling me yesterday that our local dry cleaner was trying to figure out, ‘well, why did he hit that shot?’” Furyk recounted. When Tim Finchem noted that Furyk was not trying to shoot himself out of contention, the launderer pressed him further. “‘Yeah, but he shouldn’t have done it in that situation.’
“Well, no s**t,” Furyk said with a laugh, “but you shouldn’t break the buttons on my shirt, but it happens once in a while.”
Furyk said he appreciated the sentiments from strangers as well as his fellow players, but he would be fine if everyone stopped talking about it.
“I get reminded of it so often, and a lot of players in the field, friends will come up and say, ‘hey man, I was pullin’ for you,’ or, ‘good playing anyway, I know it wasn’t the result [you were hoping for],’” Furyk said. “So it makes it that much harder to put it behind you, but from a playing perspective I have.”
Furyk shared a two-stroke lead with 2010 Open winner Graeme McDowell heading into Sunday's play and he maintained an advantage for much of the final round. And then came the tee shot on 16, which Furyk blamed on a brain cramp as well as the abbreviated par-5 that played 575 yards. The 3-wood off the tee ended his quest for a second Open win when he pulled his ball way left into the trees.
“I was unprepared for the shot at 16, with the set-up of the golf course. I was unprepared for the tee to be 100 yards up,” he said, noting that everyone in the field had to play the same yardage and he just whiffed on a shot he had lost in the right rough the two previous days. His discomfort and uncertainty with what he saw caused him to “get short and quick and try to draw the ball [and] hit it hard left, which is the one swing I try to avoid at all costs.”
Furyk conceded he should have played the hole more conservatively, perhaps opting for a hybrid off the tee and another hybrid for his second shot.
“A lot of it was more mental, I think, than physical,” he admitted. “I made the poor swing because I made a poor decision.”
Still, Furyk believed USGA executive director Mike Davis made his own poor decision when he moved the tee up on Sunday.
“I think what he was trying to do was to get guys to go for it in two, which was extremely unrealistic for guys competing and trying to win the golf tournament,” Furyk said about what had played as the longest hole on tour. “Maybe for the guy going off at 9:30 a.m., it might have been fun, but not for the guy trying to win the golf tournament.”
In the end, though Furyk owned up to his costly mishap.
“I handled that situation poorly and that stuff happens in the heat of the battle,” he said. “You’re going to make some quick or rash decisions, and there I made a poor decision.”
Now, if people would just stop reminding him of it.