Players Championship 2019: Jim Furyk becomes first flagstick putting victim under new rule (Or did he?)

March 15, 2019

Thanks to the new rules of golf, the game's most-heated debate these days revolves around a round piece of fiberglass. Does leaving in the flagstick on putts help or hurt you? It's a question that has produced numerous studies with mixed findings, and just last week, Francesco Molinari became the first player to sink a putt to win a PGA Tour event with the flagstick in. But on Friday, Jim Furyk became the first victim of this new rule.

Or did he?

In the midst of a scintillating second-round 64 that saw the 48-year-old briefly climb atop the leader board at the 2019 Players Championship, Furyk nearly made another birdie at TPC Sawgrass' 17th hole. After finding the front of the infamous island green, Furyk rapped a long birdie attempt that hit squarely in the center of the flagstick and somehow stayed out of the cup. Check it out:

But was this a bad break or a bit of luck? Speaking with NBC/Golf channel's Mike Tirico following his round, Furyk felt it was the latter.

"This is the first time (that's happened), but this ball was humming. It was going too fast," Furyk said. "I had a gentleman on the way out saying, 'Tough luck, Jim,' but really, it was really good luck to be honest with you. That wasn't going to catch the hole, it was going to go through it."

Of course, we'll never know where Furyk's golf ball would have wound up if he'd had his caddie, Mike "Fluff" Cowan, tend it. Either way, Furyk handled it well, flashing a smile and making a good closing par on the following hole. And flagstick supporters like Adam Scott and Bryson DeChambeau have more evidence to consider.