The excitement of the FedEx Cup championship and the Ryder Cup may be over, but nonetheless, there's still plenty to look forward to on the golf calendar.
And it carries on this week with the McGladrey Classic, marking the third of four Fall Series events.
This week also marks the first time we'll get a glimpse of Jim Furyk since his epic defeat at the hands of Sergio Garcia in his singles match, which essentially cost the U.S. the Ryder Cup last month. Throughout the course of this season, Furyk has, more than ever, solidified his reputation as a golfer who can't finish strong.
Perhaps a win at Sea Island will get him on track to changing that perception. If nothing else, it could take some of the pressure off.
But he'll have some tough competition, most notably from the likes of Zach Johnson, Michael Thompson and Heath Slocum.
Here's a look at what to expect from this weekend.
Where: Sea Island Resort, St. Simons Island, Ga.
When: Thursday, Oct. 18 to Sunday, Oct. 21
Golfers to Watch
This year has not been entirely kind to Furyk, despite the fact that he's achieved some moderate success. It's just that he hasn't achieved enough success, given all of the opportunities he's had.
Furyk has registered two second-place finishes in 2012, seven top-10 finishes and 13 top-25 finishes—and yet, he still has zero wins. He's been painfully close at times, but too often—and most notably, at the U.S. Open and in the Ryder Cup—he hasn't been able to hold strong over the last few holes in order to seal up a victory.
At the U.S. Open, he blew it over the last three holes after leading through the first 69. He missed a key putt to choke in the Ryder Cup. At the Bridgestone Invitational, he double-bogeyed the final hole, ruining another chance at a win.
Perhaps this tournament, against lesser competition, could restore some of his confidence.
Many an expert is picking Thompson to come out on top of this year's tournament, even with defending champion Ben Crane returning to the fairways. Thompson made an impression in 2011 when, according to ESPN.com's Michael Collins, he was one of 12 players who shot in the 60s during all four rounds.
The Golf Channel also reports that last year, Thompson was one shot away from making it into a playoff, and plus, he's one of the better putters in the running.
Even though he only tied for 15th in this tournament last year, Slocum is still a threat because he won it by one stroke back in 2010.
This year, however, hasn't been so kind to the veteran. He has zero top-10 finishes in 2012 and just three top-25 finishes. Since mid-July, his best performance came at the Shriners Open, when he finished in a tie for 13th (he also tied for 13th at the True South Classic); in that period, he's also missed two cuts.
Slocum really needs this win, though, in order to make a jump up from 140th on the money list, according to ESPN.com.
Notable Groupings for Opening Round (All Times ET):
|Time||Player 1||Player 2||Player 3|
|12:35 p.m.||Gary Woodland||Vijay Singh||Charles Howell III|
|8:05 a.m.||Zach Johnson||Ben Crane||Davis Love III|
|8:15 a.m.||Jonas Blixt||David Toms||Jim Furyk|
A full list of tee times is available at McGladreyClassic.com.
Television Schedule (via the Boston Herald)
|Oct. 18||2-5 p.m., 9:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.||GOLF|
|Oct. 19||2-5 p.m., 9:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.||GOLF|
|Oct. 20||2-5 p.m., 9:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.||GOLF|
|Oct. 21||2-5 p.m., 9:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.||GOLF|
Prediction: Jim Furyk Wins
Furyk has been playing well enough against tougher competition to suggest he has a win up his sleeve. He'll have extra confidence knowing he's one of the sure-fire favorites in this one—perhaps enough confidence to finally know he can get the job done.