Monday, April 19

Furyk Wins Plaid, Davis Wins Praise

2010 Verizon Heritage Recap
Winner: Jim Furyk
Score: 13 under, 271 (67, 68, 67, 69)
Quote: “I think my confidence level is obviously very high.”
Fact: Ranks 4th all time in career PGA Tour earnings.
Thought: Are the recent and soon-to-be 40-year-olds (Els, Mickelson, Furyk) taking over?

I SPENT PART OF SUNDAY afternoon (and evening since I watched the replay on Golf Channel because I didn’t see the last few holes) wondering about two things: 1) Is Jim Furyk going to win again so soon? 2) Who the heck is Brian Davis?

Let’s start with the latter. After the CBS crew explained that Davis had finished second on the PGA Tour three times, I felt as if I should know something about the Englishman. But it didn’t rattle anything loose in my brain. Turns out he finished 43rd on the PGA Tour money list in 2009 and has won twice on the European Tour. Maybe I should have noticed. It’s a reminder that there are a bunch of Brian Davises, top 100 players who are good enough to win on tour at any moment. One good week can change everything.

Furyk is a prime example. He ended a three-year win drought a month ago at the Transitions Championship, and now he has another. Home of the Verizon Heritage, Harbour Town Golf Links is old-school golf, not a long track by any means (under 7,000 yards, actually) but narrow, breezy, sandy and watery, perfect for the boring, down-the-middle, short-knocking style of golf Furyk plays. I’m impressed, not just because Furyk won again so soon but because he did it the week after missing the cut at the Masters with ugly rounds of 80 and 76. Talk about shaking it off. Just throw the clubs in the trunk and head to the next event. Tomorrow is always a new day. Furyk demonstrated perhaps the most important attribute in golf: a short memory.

Getting back to Davis, we now know something else about him. He called a penalty on himself on the first playoff hole, certainly a laudable thing to do. Davis suspected a loose impediment moved in the hazard on his back swing and immediately called over the PGA Tour’s Slugger White after the ball came to a stop on the far side of the green. When the situation was finally sorted out, Davis was assessed a two-stroke penalty and Furyk was the new owner of a plaid sport coat.

The self-called penalty seems to be the bigger story in the tournament’s aftermath, and I get that, sort of, since it came at such a highly visible, climactic moment. But wasn’t Davis just doing what most golfers would do under the circumstances? I hope so. And do there really need to be so many lofty commentaries about the integrity and honor of golf? We know this.

I like the quote I saw at ESPN Golf about Bobby Jones, who called a penalty on himself during a playoff in the 1925 U.S. Amateur. When he was praised afterwards, Jones said, “You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”

So I say well played and well called, Brian Davis. And I say the same to you if you’ve ever called a penalty on yourself on the golf course, even if it didn’t cost you the club championship.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Keith Allison/Flickr)

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