Jim Furyk had gone 99 tournaments without a win before the RBC Heritage. But how much did this matter?
Jim Furyk, reflecting on his reaction as his play-off-winning birdie putt dropped in at the RBC Heritage said: “That was four-and-a-half years of frustration in that celebration.”
But he denied there was any relief involved in finally winning a tournament again, 100 starts after his last win. His most recent win before that had been in the Tour Championship in September 2010.
“It’s really not relief at all,” he argued. “It’s zero percent relief and 100 percent joy.”
Furyk broke his 99-tournament winless run, but that many people would not consider that four-and-a-half year period one of failure. Well, certainly not unmitigated failure anyway.
In that period he finished second seven times, finished in the top-10 31 times and made $14,828,330 in prize money.
With just under $63 million in PGA Tour career earnings, Furyk has earned more prize money from playing golf than all but three men in history – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
However he plays, Jim Furyk knows that there was enough money in the bank to pay the next gas bill. Indeed every gas bill he will receive for the rest of his life.
What Furyk’s ‘failure’ consisted of in many watchers’ minds was his failure to convert 54-hole leads into titles. In nine of those tournaments in his barren spell he was atop the leaderboard after 54 holes.
Was he choking?
Did he simply not care enough anymore about winning, buttressed by this fortune?
Or did he care too much? After all surely it is no longer about the money – he has enough of that – it is about the glory. It is about gleaming cups in the trophy cabinet.
Or was it just more in the line of being a statistical quirk. An element of luck is required in coming out first from a group of 156 people, however well you play. And Furyk was still playing well. He just wasn’t winning.
Before the RBC Heritage, Furyk had played in 531 PGA Tour events in his career and won 16 of them, or 1 in every 33 on average.
“I always did feel like I was going to win a tournament again. I believed that in my heart. But I was starting to feel like this game is beating me up,” Furyk admitted after his RBC Heritage play-off win.
He hasn’t ended the jinx of not converting 54-hole leads to victories, as he came from behind at the RBC Heritage. He made nine birdies in his final round, and then two birdies in the two sudden-death play-off holes.
So he still has that particular monkey on his back.
But what he doesn’t have anymore is that “hasn’t won since 2010” tag.