Furyk misses cut, is baffled by his putting
DUBLIN, Ohio - With a second-round 75 Friday and a 152 total, Jim Furyk missed the cut in the Memorial Tournament for the first time in 16 appearances. The 2002 Memorial winner was "baffled" by his performance, particularly his ball-striking, but the week wasn't a total loss.
Sometimes it helps to learn what not to do on a golf course, even for a veteran like Furyk.
Furyk, frustrated by his putting most of the season, experimented in the opening round with a putting technique similar to that employed by Matt Kuchar where he anchors the shaft of the putter to his left forearm. Furyk practiced for 10 days with a longer putter and new technique, and then tried it in the first round of the Memorial. He shot a 77 with 30 putts.
On Friday, Furyk had sawed his putter down to 33 inches, the shortest he's ever tried, while going back to the left-hand-low style he's used throughout his career.
"I gave it about 11 days, and after putting with it in competition on fast greens I determined it was time to give up," said Furyk, who played nine holes with Kuchar earlier in the week at Muirfield Village GC. "I wasn't comfortable with what I did yesterday. You will not see that at the U.S. Open."
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, said he tried the shorter putter Friday in an effort to get his eyes lined up over the ball. He improved on the greens slightly with 28 putts. "Usually a bad habit is getting my eyes outside of the ball, which is very rare for most tour players. Most tour players have their eyes inside the ball. This actually helped, and it allowed me to get some flex in my knees and change my balance point."
Now it would help if he could figure out his iconic, unique swing. Furyk came to the Memorial feeling confident and sporting a career stroke average of 70.73 at Muirfield Village, but he had nine bogeys and two double-bogeys in posting two of his three worst scores on the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.
"I'm a little baffled right now," said Furyk, 41, the defending FedExCup champion. "I felt like I was on top of my game, especially my ball striking. I couldn't have hit it worse for two days. I don't think I'm that far away. I usually can figure it out within nine holes, but I'm confused, especially when I had been hitting it so well.
"I just haven't been getting the ball in the hole," added Furyk, who has just two top-10 finishes this year. "I can work on all the mechanics I want, I can work on all the putting I want, short game, whatever, but I'm just not doing a good job of getting myself around the golf course and managing my game and putting it in the hole, and I usually do such a good job of that. It's confusing to play like this coming to a course I like and that suits my eye and I'm comfortable with. But I'll figure it out."
-- Dave Shedloski