After Fred Couples announced his selections for the American President’s Cup roster, the golf world was abuzz. Near-miss Webb Simpson was chosen, as was white-hot rookie Jordan Spieth, who started 2013 with no status on the PGA Tour and will soon be playing in the TOUR Championship with a legitimate chance at the FedEx Cup title.
While those two selections are excellent picks for the American team as they prepare to face Nick Price‘s International team led by Adam Scott and Jason Day at Muirfield Village, you can’t help but feel for Jim Furyk, who Couples said was one of four players he was going to choose between.
The Ryder Cup and President’s Cup are two of the more exciting events in golf. While the sport will be included in the Olympics when they go to Rio de Janeiro in 2016, for the longest time, these have been sort of golf’s version of the World Cup, and Furyk has been a mainstay on American teams since 1997.
So when Furyk received the news from Couples that he would be left off the team this year in favor of the younger pros, it must have been a gut shot, but the veteran has taken it all in stride, as you’d expect would be his style.
“I’m disappointed,” Furyk said on USA TODAY via the Associated Press. “I’m sure Dustin Johnson is disappointed and Bubba (Watson) is disappointed. Webb and Jordan, I think they’re good picks and they’re going to be excited. You’ve got to say ‘yes’ to somebody and ‘no’ to somebody.”
Couples also admitted that he agonized over the choice, which he said came down to Spieth, Johnson and Furyk. He said that he sent Furyk the news in text message because he couldn’t bear to call him. In Couples’ own words, he “took the easy way out”.
There’s no way that Couples could have left any of the top Americans off the team without some scrutiny. While Furyk finished 13th in the final President’s Cup qualifying ranks, each of these players had solid credentials. Furyk struggled some for much of the spring and summer this season, and even though he’s played some of his best golf over the last month, that was likely the difference in Couples’ decision making.
Don’t expect this to get Furyk down. He’s still ranked 12th in the world, and 15th in the FedEx Cup with next week’s BMW Championship coming up. Asked if he would use the exclusion as motivation, Furyk said, “I’m not really a ‘slight’ guy. I’m not into bulletin-board material or whatever.”
With a solid shot at winning his second season title and a near-guarantee to be a future Ryder Cup member and eventual captain, he really doesn’t need it. He’ll let his play do the talking on the golf course.