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Weeks: Furyk in control of his own fate at Canadian Open

Bob Weeks
7/27/2014 9:45:05 AM
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Jim Furyk isn't really concerned with the fact that his last bogey came on the fourth hole on Thursday. He isn't even concerned that since that time, he's rattled off 16 birdies. Or by the fact that he's one-putt 24 times.

He isn't awed by his prowess at hitting fairways, where he's tied for third with a percentage just below 80, or greens, where he leads the field after finding 45 of 54.

All he cares about is that he's leading.

"It's really not important," said the 44-year-old of his bogey-free run. "I know it's something that the media outside wanted to talk about. What is important is I'm 15-under and if that was with 25 birdies and 10 bogeys or 16 birdies and one bogey, it's really not that important. I would take another 65 tomorrow with as many bogeys as can be on the card."

Furyk is a guy who truly amazes me. Not because of his wonky swing that was once described by David Feherty as looking like an octopus falling out of a tree. That swing is so bullet-proof to me. It just works over and over.

Rather, he amazes me with his smarts, his insight, his attention to detail. It's as unique as his swing.

Last week, after he finished up at Royal Liverpool, I asked him what he remembered about Royal Montreal. He told me old-school golf course with modern greens and then went into a little more detail about the Dick Wilson design that was re-modeled by Rees Jones before the 2007 Presidents Cup.

I can't remember what I had for breakfast and he gave me a pretty good synopsis of a course he hadn't seen in seven years.

That, to me, is Jim Furyk.

He's a guy who listens to your question, thinks about a response and then gives you something great. Almost every time. He doesn't really have a cliché in his body, I suspect.

I remember after he stumbled down the stretch at the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club two years ago. The tournament was his to win until he messed up the 16th holes. He took full responsibility - in fact, his exact quote was: "I have no one to blame but myself."

You don't hear that too often out here. It's usually about the wind gusting a shot or a bump in the greens throwing a putt off line or a camera or a noisy butterfly landing a hole away.

I digress.

Today, Furyk goes to the first tee in control of the tournament. He leads by three and you know he already has a game plan formulated for Royal Montreal. He told us he's going to check the weather out tonight. Not just the rain and storms expected but also the wind. Yup, the wind direction, which will affect his game plan.

And he'll take a load of experience too. No one in the field has been in the position he's in more than him. Sometimes he wins, more often he's lost - that's just the nature of golf. He's had a share of the lead heading to the final round 25 times in his career and he's won 10 times.

"You know, I think it's always nice to have experience in rounds," he said. "Whether I've played well, whether you've won or ended up not winning the golf tournament, you draw from both experiences. The guys out here have played so well for three days already, everyone is capable."

Perhaps the only question mark on his docket is the fact he hasn't won since 2010. He's had a number of chances - including a couple of runner-up finishes this year - but never closed things out.

"Sometimes I just got outplayed," he said. "Case in point would be Jason Dufner at the PGA last year. Other times I felt like I got in my own way and that would be Akron and Keegan Bradley and not closing it out when I had the opportunity."

Sunday Furyk can join some select company if he does win. Just three players have three wins in the Open, but it's a pretty good lineup: Tommy Armour, Sam Snead and Lee Trevino. Only one has more, that would be Leo Diegel with four.

He's also be the third oldest golfer to win the national championship behind Mark Calcavecchia and Bob Tway.

Right now, based on his play through the first three rounds, it would be hard to imagine Furyk losing, but as he knows only too well, funny stuff happens in golf. There's no sure thing, no guarantees. The only thing certain is that Furyk will step up to the first tee, and set out towards what he hopes will be 17th PGA Tour victory.

Not bad for a guy with a swing that won't be in any text book.




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