Jim Furyk, now known as Mr. 58, shot the lowest score ever on the PGA Tour with a 58 on Sunday at the Travelers Championship. But that round came after struggling early on in the week. Furyk opened with a 73 on Thursday, had to shoot a good round on Friday to make the cut, and then lost it again shooting 72 on Saturday.
“We’ve been working on a few things,” said Mike Furyk, Jim’s dad and swing coach. “We talked about his setup on Thursday after the round. He said it felt good. He was hitting it solid and straight, and went out and shot a good round on Friday. And we thought Ok it’s under control. But then on Saturday, it started to fall apart. He called me and said he was totally confused and needed help.”
To figure out what was wrong, Mike, who was home in Florida at the time, did some deductive reasoning. He realized that Jim had been playing some really wet courses. The PGA Championship was soaked, and it was wet at the Travelers, too. Jim’s not the longest guy on tour, so when courses get wet and start to play even longer, he’s at a disadvantage. Mike, who knows everything about Jim’s swing, remembered that Jim has a tendency to get long in his takeaway when he’s trying to hit it higher and farther – which is exactly what he would be doing on wet courses.
“You associate your swing being long with hitting it high, but it doesn’t work like that,” says Mike. “In talking to him, I realized his body was stopping and his arms and club were continuing on. It was all out of synch, and causing him to hit it with a glancing blow. When we were on the phone, I asked him to shorten it up a little bit. When his body stopped at the top of the backswing, I wanted everything else to stop, too.”
Usually, that’s where Jim and Mike’s sessions would end. The two work on the swing verbally, relying on feel instead of video to talk about what is going on in the swing. Mike does this on purpose.
“I don’t believe in mechanics as much as other people do,” says Mike. “I think natural players win more than mechanical players, and they last longer. The only part of you touching the club is your hands and that’s what you have to rely on when you’re on the course. So that’s what we rely on in practice.”
But on Saturday evening at the Travelers, Jim took a few videos of his swing after they had talked, and sent them to his dad.
“He sent me the videos and I told him how perfectly on balance he was at the finish,” said Mike. “You could draw a straight line down his left side. Then he sent me the driver, and I told him it looked good, too. That was one of the few times he’s sent me video. He’s got to be really confused before we do that. He wanted me to look at it, and make sure that what I saw is what I was trying to relate to him. He needed that verification.”
Seeing as Jim's round on Sunday was the lowest round in PGA Tour history, it’s pretty safe to say that swing change has been verified.