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The Case Against Jim Furyk for the 2016 US Ryder Cup Team

Jim Furyk is no stranger to the US Ryder Cup team, having played on the last nine teams dating back to 1997. His experience, presence on the task force, recent final round 58 at the Travelers Championship, seemingly “hot” play heading into the FedExCup Playoffs, and many of Davis Love III’s recent comments has led some to believe that he would be a common sense pick for the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Say it ain’t so, fellas!

There is no doubt that Jim Furyk has had a hall of fame career, and is at minimum one of the best players of this entire generation. His consistency and longevity is almost unmatched in the history of the game of golf. But I’m here to tell you that there should be a national outcry if he is given a captain’s pick on this squad.

Experience

This has been well documented, but Furyk’s “experience” with the Ryder Cup has been a disastrous one. He’s been a part of every team since 1997, over which the US is sporting a 2-7 record. I’m for sure not saying the he is the one to blame for the American futility, but Furyk’s record in those events is a stunning 10-20-4 (with a hilarious 2-8-1 record in fourball). Ignoring the ties, he’s winning his matches at a 33% clip, which is a worse percentage than the New York Knicks had in 2015-2016, and they finished 13th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference. The Braves are an MLB worst 44-78, which is still a better winning percentage (.361) than Jimmy boy in the stars and stripes!

Furyk’s point percentage (points scored divided by matches played, is an incomprehensible 32.3%, which is 5th worst all time of all US players that have played in at least six matches (63 players qualified, better than only Mark O’Meara, Ben Crenshaw, Chris Dimarco, and Miller Barber). Factor in that only seven guys have played in more Ryder Cup matches than Furyk has and you can easily see the depth of the impact that one of the worst Ryder Cuppers of all time has had on the nine teams that he has been apart of.

This all culminated in a painful way in 2012, with the U.S. team gripping on to an ever decreasing lead, and it coming down to Jim Furyk against Sergio Garcia at Medinah. Jim led 1-up on the 17th tee, and proceeded to throw up all over himself on the final two holes by bogeying them both, and lost to Sergio by one. The U.S. went on to lose the cup by one point. So remind me again why Furyk’s experience in the Ryder Cup is a positive? The sample we are dealing with, in Ryder Cup terms, is enormous. How many time are we going to keep banging our head against the wall before we realize it’s causing brain damage? Might I also add, that Furyk was a captain’s pick in 2012. The captain was of course Davis Love III.

furyk ryder 2
How many times do we have to see this image?

Of the nine teams Furyk has been a part of, he has a winning record in exactly ONE (2008) of them. In all eight of the other Ryder Cups, his contribution to the team was negative!

Task Force

The PGA of America elected to take the Corporate America approach in responding to the failures of the U.S. team. Come up with a trendy name, talk a lot about all the things you’re going to change, which makes it appear like you’re actually doing something, and at least make it seem like there is a plan in place. I know there is a lot going on behind the scenes that I am not aware of, but based on Love’s comments so far (more on this below), I’ve seen nothing that would make me think there have been any significant or noteworthy changes in the process. If anything, they made the problem worse by including some of the same guys that have been on these losing teams to the so called task force, causing huge conflicts of interest when it comes down to the time to select the the captain’s picks. Both Rickie Fowler and Furyk are on this task force, and Furyk was already named to an assistant captain role. This was supposed to signify the end of the Furyk era at the Ryder Cup. Now he’s potentially involved in the decision over this own fate?

He Shot a 58

I really, really don’t want to discount the lowest recorded round in PGA Tour history, but let’s be honest for a second. It was played on a Sunday morning where is out of contention, and before the television cameras are even turned on. He was out for a Sunday stroll, facing absolutely no pressure until the final few holes, which by the way is the exact opposite atmosphere of the Ryder Cup. Yes, this round was absolutely incredible and historic, and nothing about the round itself should be discounted. But why is this round always referenced when discussing his candidacy for the Ryder Cup, and not the 72 from the day before? Which Furyk is more likely to show up at Hazeltine? Two over par Jim, or out of his body, 12 under par Jim? What is it about this round that convinced people that he will be able to stare down Rory/Sergio/Stenson/Rose come Sunday singles? Daniel Berger and Furyk both tied for 5th at the Travelers. Why did one round seemingly help Furyk’s status so much more than Berger’s T5 finish helped the youngster’s chances? It would be different if Jim was trending in a particular direction, but…

“He’s Hot” 

Uh… is he? I’ve seen it thrown around that if he was playing this well all season, he would have made it on points. Right? Well, no. Davis Love III said this at Baltusrol:

“We will factor that in there, that Jim Furyk missed a lot of tournaments that he played really well. I’ll have the stat crunchers go back and run 10,000 times if Jim Furyk played his normal schedule, where he would have finished, and he’ll probably pop right back up into the top five or six.”

Let me help you out Davis. Actually, if you only look at the points from Furyk’s first event of the season (the Wells Fargo) until now, he would be sitting at 10th in the US standings, behind names such as Daniel Summerhays and William McGirt. His T5 at the Travelers was his second top-10 of the season, the other coming at the U.S. Open at Oakmont. Of course, as I write this, he’s sitting in a tie for second at the Wyndham Championship after rounds of 66 and 64, and if he goes on to win this, DL3 likely has all the ammo he needs to justify the pick, but the point stands. He’s not nearly as hot as some people would like to make you think. There was no indication that this 58 was due to come, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation (to the extent that we are) if that one round doesn’t happen.

Davis Love III’s Comments

“You know, Jim Furyk played one, did probably one of the best rounds ever played in the history of the PGA Tour and he didn’t really move up much in points, but he got everybody’s attention that he’s playing really well. Then you go back and look, wow, Jim, he played great at the U.S. Open, he’s played really well in a lot of big tournaments coming after his wrist problem.”

Jim Furyk was out for — he probably missed ten, 12 tournaments. Every time he plays, he plays well.

Love’s comments are admittedly the most concerning thing at this point. He has been unable to keep Jim’s name out of his mouth when talking about captain’s picks, and the above quoted comments actually disturb me. Yes, as established earlier, he played a historic round. In what world does that indicate he would come even remotely close to replicating that under the highest of pressure situations? This is selective reasoning at its worst.

He’s played really well in a lot of big tournaments coming after his wrist problem?? Which ones, Davis? Was it his T59 at the Open Championship? T73 at the PGA Championship? T42 at the Bridgestone? T52 at the Memorial? Outside of the aforementioned U.S. Open, those are the biggest tournaments he’s played in this year, and if that’s considered playing “really well” then this U.S. team is going to get skunked. We need to get some political fact checkers to step away from the 2016 election and provide their input on the legitimacy of Love’s statements, because they sound more like propaganda than facts.

It’s not hard to read between the lines and see that Love has basically already made up his mind, and will be including Furyk as a captain’s pick. You can’t mention Furyk as much as he has, and then cold-bloodedly leave him off the team, only to ride around in a cart with him for a week.

Although the first selection is only three weeks away, I still say that it is way too soon for anyone to come to a conclusion as to who should be on the team. I give this topic an unhealthy amount of thought, and there isn’t one guy I would consider a lock at this point, much less a guy with Furyk’s background. At this point in 2014, was Billy Horschel on anyone’s radar? What if Furyk MC’s the Barclays, potentially ending his season? Too many unanswered questions as we approach the playoffs.

The bottom line is that there is no set formula for determining a captain’s pick. A hot series of rounds in August are not an indicator as to who will stand up to the heat in September and October in a completely different scenario. Having played in a Ryder cup previously is not a required pre-req for success (in 2014, the US rookies went 6-2-4, and in 2012, the rookies went 9-6). Even if a guy is trending in August, there’s no indication that 40+ days from now, he’s still going to be trending that same direction. We’ve all been clamoring for fresh blood, and this was supposed to be the year that they delivered that. If they don’t, it’s going be blood we’re after.

About the Author

Inventor of #TourSauce, always waits for the green to clear, and club twirl savant.

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