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A year is hardly a failure when you rack up $3.6 million in earnings. But Jim Furyk's disappointment and heartache outweighs any sum of money or check he could cash.
Furyk finished runner-up twice in 2012, first at the Transitions Championship and then at the World Golf Championship at Firestone. In between may have been his harshest defeat, the U.S. Open, where he finished T4 after having the lead on the 16th hole.
Then came the Ryder Cup. As New York Times writer Karen Crouse wrote,
As the singles matches unfolded Sunday at Medinah Country Club, the bull’s-eye landed on Furyk, the only golfer on the 12-man United States team without a PGA Tour victory this year, a well-liked veteran who owed his inclusion to the American captain, Davis Love III, who selected him with one of his four discretionary picks.
Once again, Furyk fumbled, giving away two key putts down the stretch, on the 17th and 18th holes, in Sunday's singles match against Sergio Garcia. He lost his point, one of many for the Americans on that surprising Sunday, but critics of Furyk were not surprised that his season-long putting woes exploded again at a pivotal moment for the American squad.
Furyk's a grizzled Tour vet, renowned for his resiliency under pressure, and he's a proven champion (16 PGA Tour wins, including one major championship in 2003).
That may be why this stung so much.
Golf fans, like myself, assumed he'd rise to the occasion at the U.S. Open after that first bout at the Transitions. Or that he'd pick up the pieces at Firestone after the U.S. Open bomb, but to no avail. Then again, with the onus on him to come through in the clutch for the Americans, Furyk couldn't close.
Each time he squandered his lead, and each time he bounced back, only to be beaten down again.
Perhaps more than anyone, Furyk will need to flush away memories of 2012 and focus on remaining competitive, so the next time he is in contention—and there will definitely be a next time—he can end his Sunday hoisting a trophy.