On a day that we will celebrate the first career major championship title for Jason Dufner I can’t help but feel badly for Jim Furyk who dropped another heartbreaker in a major. Dufner held on for a much-deserved two stroke win at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill this week.
Despite the fact that he hasn’t played well in big events this year – Furyk missed the cut at the British Open and U.S. Open and tied for 25th at the Masters – he was in contention for almost the entirety of this event. Had he pulled out the win it would have been Furyk’s first victory since the 2010 TOUR Championship.
He’s been close to breaking through several times since then, however. Last year, Furyk held or shared the 54-hole lead in four tournaments, but failed to hold on for the win in any of them. He fared much better in the majors last year, racking up two top 10 finishes, including a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open. That loss at the U.S. Open was one that stuck with Furyk for quite some time, as he knows that he gave away that tournament. “I’ve made peace with that,” he said. “Hopefully what I do is I draw from that experience. I’m a more mature player now and hopefully I draw some positives from it. I’m a better person and better player for it.”
There is no doubt in my mind that Furyk drew from that experience. This year’s loss will almost assuredly be difficult to swallow, but it was far from a collapse. Furyk was chasing Dufner for the majority of the final round and just couldn’t manage to close the gap.
It’s difficult to say whether or not the 43 year old Furyk will bounce back, but if history is any indication, he’s going to be in the mix in at least one major next year.