Why Jim Furyk will help win the Ryder Cup in France
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Jim Furyk will be the captain of the 2018 Ryder Cup USA team in Paris. That's exactly the way it should be.
Furyk's appointment by the Ryder Cup Committee really should come as no surprise. He seemed the natural successor to 2016 captain Davis Love III after serving as an assistant captain at Hazeltine, helping to guide the Americans to their first win in the biennial matches since 2008 and just their third win in 21 years.
"My main focus and what I'm really interested in right now is being a captain," said Furyk, the captain with the most Ryder Cup USA playing experience in history. "I mean, worrying about points and where my game is really putting the cart before the horse in my opinion. My main goal is to focus on being the best possible captain I can, to try to get the best 12 players possible on this USA team and to provide that atmosphere to let them succeed; to basically carry out the plan that the Ryder Cup Committee set up and that Davis so skillfully did."
Thomas Bjørn, European Ryder Cup Captain, said: "I am delighted to offer my congratulations to Jim Furyk on being appointed captain of the United States Ryder Cup team for 2018.
"I have known Jim for many years and as well as being a worthy opponent and a tremendous competitor, I know he shares my passion for The Ryder Cup which ensures it will be a fantastic contest when our respective teams meet at Le Golf National in 20 months' time."
WATCH BELOW: Jim Furyk introduced as Ryder Cup USA captain:
Furyk checks off all the boxes for a Ryder Cup USA captain:
He has Cup experience. In addition to serving as Love’s assistant in ’16, Furyk has nine Ryder Cup playing appearances. Only Phil Mickelson (11 and counting) has more.
He can relate to the young guys. No doubt. Furyk is only 46 years old and still a fierce competitor on the PGA Tour. Remember that Tour-record round of 12-under 58 at the Travelers Championship last summer? How about the runner-up finish in the U.S. Open last summer at Oakmont?
He’s won. A lot. Seventeen times on the PGA Tour.
He’s won a major. The 2003 U.S. Open.
He commands respect. Check out all his peers -- past and present -- in the audience as he received the 2016 Payne Stewart Award.
There was also the time in 2015 when Furyk was forced to pull out of the Presidents Cup due to injury … yet still made the trip to Korea to serve as an assistant captain under Jay Haas.
"Jim and his wife, Tabitha, are the best,” Love said last year. “When I was a younger player in Ryder Cups, everyone always looked to Maria and Raymond Floyd as that calming influence, people with experience that you could go and talk to about anything.
"Watching Jim and Tabitha last year at the Presidents Cup in Korea and on so many teams together, they're that 'Raymond and Maria' type influence for this generation. Heck, I'd even include Jim's caddie, Mike 'Fluff' Cowan, in there too. Fluff has been a part of so many of these teams.
“[Furyk has] given some of the best little night-time speeches, and rallies the guys so well when we need them to go out and do something. He's a proven leader."
“It's the ultimate compliment,” Furyk said. “But I think as you -- you know, I remember my first Ryder Cup and I couldn't tell you which side was up; the week was a blur. I felt unprepared. Didn't know what to expect. I was on foreign soil. I mean, it was exciting, but it happened so fast…
“And if you look at the past few Ryder Cups, we've had some young players, the Patrick Reeds, the Jordan Spieths; they have been some of the leaders on the golf course for us. And I believe that's because we've had strong leadership from Phil Mickelson and from Steve Stricker and folks that have been in that position before.
“And so it's a compliment from Davis, but I know I'll surround the team with very capable, very experienced vice captains. We're going to have a good mix, I'm sure, of some veteran players and some young players, and there will be some great guys in the team room to take over that role for, say, Tabitha and I when we played in those teams.”
While Furyk is the obvious choice to lead the red, white and blue in Paris, the job won’t be an easy one.
The Americans have not successfully defended the Ryder Cup since 1993. That was also the last time they won on foreign soil (The Belfry in Wishaw, Warwickshire, England).
"Their fans provide an atmosphere that's electric," he said. "The first tee at Gleneagles was absolutely amazing for both sides, to be honest with you. But obviously their side is loud. They are cheering for their team, and you wrap the three of those together, it provides a very tough atmosphere to win in. It's much like any other sport. So we'll have our work cut out for us. But you know, it's been a long time but I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
Whatever the case, Furyk has proven to be up for the task and is honored to have the opportunity.