Old White a factor in Furyk's decision to play
"It's just a beautiful place,'' Furyk said of The Greenbrier and the Old White Course. "I had some decisions on which places I wanted to play and how I wanted to schedule my end of the year, and I'm glad I put this one on the schedule.
"I probably committed, oh, six to eight weeks ago. I was looking forward to coming and glad to be here to start it. It's interesting being a new course, trying to get a handle for how it's gonna play, how it's set up. You know, it's just a beautiful place.''
Furyk, 40, is the highest-ranked PGA player to compete in the first-year tournament in the Greenbrier Valley. The West Chester, Pa., native is fifth in the World Golf Rankings, fifth in the FedExCup standings and sixth on the PGA Tour money list.
Furyk, who won the 2003 U.S. Open, said the golf course factors into his decision quite heavily when he chooses his tournament schedule. The Old White Course was built in 1914 by C.B. Macdonald and was recently restored to its original design by Lester George.
"The Tour, I think, did a good job trying to explain the golf course,'' he said. "And really they try to sell the The Greenbrier, the hotel, the family atmosphere. That's all well and good and nice.
"For me as a player, I've always tried to choose my courses and try and look at it as more of a business perspective and what's the golf course like. I want to hear about the Old White. C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor's names get thrown around, and immediately everybody's eyebrows get raised because of the great history and all the classic golf courses they've designed.''
Furyk has two wins this season (the Transitions Championship and Verizon Heritage) and four top-10 finishes. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound former University of Arizona standout shot a 5-under-par 65 in Wednesday's pro-am.
A win this week would vault Furyk into first place in the FedExCup standings. Furyk has 1,479 points, while leader Ernie Els, who isn't playing this week, has 1,751.
"I've been pleased with my year,'' Furyk said. "It's been nice to win a couple of events. The last couple of years, in '08 and '09, I didn't win. That's a sore spot with me.
"I was very consistent in those years. I had a lot of top finishes and opportunities to win, but I never really got over the hump. This year has been a little bit of an opposite year. I've been a little more inconsistent. I've missed a few cuts. I haven't had nearly as many top-10 finishes, but I've always said I would trade it. The goal is to win some golf tournaments, and getting over that hump this year to win those events has been a lot of fun.''
What about trying to convince the other top-ranked golfers to play in the Greenbrier Classic in the future? The Greenbrier Classic signed a six-year contract with the PGA Tour.
"Not my job,'' said Furyk. "We pay people to do that. There's 18 events that I won't go to this year where they're raising money for charity and they have 1,500 volunteers, where the community is busting their rear end to put on the biggest show they possibly can, and, you know, the owner is spending $750,000 to upgrade the course so the pros like it.
"That's every week, 43 weeks a year, and we have to say no. Tiger is gonna say no maybe more than half. So it's difficult. The tournaments are really in competition among themselves to lure the players to them as much as we are playing. There's just a lot of events.
"If people ask me what I thought of the golf course, I will let them know what I thought of the course, the setup. And if it's a place that I said, 'You know what? You would really like it,' I would let them know.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.