A timing mishap kept Jim Furyk out of the Barclays last week. Now it seems his timing was just off.
ESPN.com's Bob Harig writes, The PGA Tour has suspended its pro-am rule that kept the No. 6 player in the world from teeing it up for the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Furyk overslept last Wednesday morning when according to him, the alarm on his cell phone didn't go off. The 2003 U.S. Open champion raced to Ridgewood C.C., but was informed he would be disqualified from both the pro-am and the tournament since he was late for his 7:30 a.m. tee time.
In the aftermath, many players complained that the rule was too harsh, especially since it only affects the golfers that are required to play in a pro-am on a given week. As a result, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has decided to handle such matters as a tour disciplinary matter for the rest of the year and find other ways to punish those not filling a pro-am obligation. A player who misses an entire pro-am event without a legitimate excuse, however, will still be disqualified. But since Furyk was late, but on site, under this new guideline he would have been allowed to participate in both the pro-am and the tournament.
In not playing the event, Furyk potentially cost himself millions of dollars, missing out on competing in an event where he has a good track record and falling from No. 3 to No. 8 in the FedEx Cup points standings. The No. 1 player at the end of the four-event playoff series earns a $10-million bonus and every spot makes a difference.
Finchem plans to discuss the matter with players in greater detail at the end of the season.
While Furyk's mistake was an innocent one, the PGA Tour clearly needs some type of rule to ensure its players, who generally find pro-ams to be a nuisance, attend. The events are financially crucial, as amateurs pay top dollar to play alongside the pros during these rounds and when the big names bail, it doesn't reflect well on the Tour.
As John Feinstein wrote in the most recent issue of Golf World, the rule in question may be tough, but it's fair. Feinstein cites the problem the PGA Tour was having with players no-showing these Wednesday events before the rule was enacted in 2004. He also points out that Furyk, though upset, didn't complain about his punishment.
"I'm kicking myself," Furyk said. "I have a way of climbing into situations that are all my fault."
Even if a more relaxed rule sticks, it doesn't sound like this is a mistake Furyk will make again anytime soon.
-- Alex Myers