PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jim Furyk has had a chance to win the last two weeks – both times from the locker room.
Last week at Quail Hollow, Furyk closed with a 65 and had cameras on him in the locker room as he watched J.B. Holmes knock in a 3-foot bogey putt for a one-shot victory. Sunday at The Players Championship, Furyk was televised again from the locker room as Martin Kaymer made a 30-foot par putt on the 17th hole and got up-and-down with his putter from short of the 18th green to win by one shot.
Furyk has few regrets. His 66 was the second-best score of the final round. He could just do without the attention.
“I think it (stinks) to have a TV in your face, really,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you. Every time you scratch your nose it’s on television. But I understand it’s part of the deal. You’re looking for a reaction when you know you’re not going to get one, considering a guy knows that there’s three cameras pointed at him. So it seems a little pointless to me, but I understand.”
Furyk also understands that it’s not the worst thing in golf. It means he still had a chance. And he figures it’s better to finish second with a great final round than to shoot something like even par and have another player pass him.
The money isn’t bad, either.
Furyk has earned $1.825 million for finishing second the last two weeks. That’s more than he earned his first three seasons combined on the PGA Tour.
NO MOVE AT THE TOP: Tiger Woods stays at No. 1 for at least another week.
Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar all fell well short of what they needed to move to No. 1 in the world. Kuchar (71) was the only one of the four to break par in the final round.
Scott is not playing next week and still is likely to move past Woods and reach No. 1 for the first time in his career. Stenson is not playing next week. Kuchar is playing the Byron Nelson Championship, though the strength-of-field is not likely to allow him enough points even if he were to win.
WALKER RALLIES: Jimmy Walker hates playing poorly, and he wasn’t at his best on Thursday at Sawgrass. He made consecutive double bogeys and opened with a 75, and then headed straight to the range to let off some swing. Walker swung about as hard as he could with his driver.
“My caddie said, `Is this productive?’” Walker said earlier in the week with a laugh.
Apparently it was.
He bounced back with a 68 to make the cut with one shot to spare. He followed with a 71. And then the PGA Tour’s only three-time winner this year made eight birdies and an eagle in the final round for a 65 that gave him a tie for sixth.
“After the start – 3 over – I knew I needed to make a pretty good run Friday to make the cut,” Walker said. “And I finished strong. That’s big.”
Walker hasn’t won since the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am three months ago, though he took small issue with the suggestion he was struggling. He had six straight finishes in the top 25, including a tie for eighth in his debut at the Masters, until missing the cut at Quail Hollow last week.
“I feel like I’ve been playing pretty good – just maybe a fraction off,” Walker said. “Making cuts, finishing in the top 20 is good. It just shows that the game’s right there and you never know when you get four solid ones and jump back into the having a chance to win.”
GETTING CLOSER: Rory McIlroy matched his best round at the TPC Sawgrass because of how he played the front nine – he broke par.
In a most peculiar tales of two nines, McIlroy was 17-under par on the back nine, compared with 8-over on the front. He closed with three straight birdies for a 66, equaling the score he shot in the first round a year ago.
“Things are heading in the right direction,” McIlroy said after a week of making 25 birdies. “As I’ve been saying the last few weeks, I’m seeing enough really good golf in there to be really positive going into the main stretch of the season.”
And it’s a busy time of the year. He has the BMW PGA Championship in England, Memorial and the U.S. Open in America, the Irish Open, Scottish Open and British Open, then a return to Ohio for a World Golf Championship, the final major in Kentucky, and then four straight weeks in the FedEx Cup.
Next up for McIlroy is a little R&R in London. He was going to Italy until his fiance, Caroline Wozniacki, pulled out of a tennis tournament.
“Do a bit of shopping and see a few shows and take it easy,” he said.
STAY DRY: Martin Kaymer’s shot on the 17th hole was a foot away from spinning off the green and into the water Sunday. While it led to his victory, it also ensured a record at The Players Championship.
There were only 28 shots in the water all week, the fewest ever since the PGA Tour began keeping track in 2003.
Angel Cabrera was the only player to go in the water on Saturday, a record low. On Sunday, the water balls belonged to John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy and Brian Davis.
The previous record was 29 balls in the water in 2003 and 2010.
DIVOTS: Martin Kaymer’s victory was the first by a European on the PGA Tour this season. … Rory McIlroy’s 25 birdies were the most of any player this week. He still finished at only 9-under par. … Jim Furyk earned $1.08 million as the runner-up, the same amount Tiger Woods earned when he won The Players Championship in 2001. … Russell Henley was 14 shots better Sunday. He followed his 80 with a 66.