Furyk Reaches Golf’s Pinnacle; A-Rod’s Career Hits Bottom
Joe Kazmar – For The Record
Last weekend was a biggie as far as the world of sports is concerned with the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics, NFL training camps in full swing and major league baseball heading into the crucial final weeks of the season.
There are plenty of subjects about which to comment, but today I have a chance to comment about one of my favorite pro golfers—Jim Furyk– and one of my least favorite major league baseball players—Alex Rodriguez.
Furyk appears to be like fine wine by getting better with age while the New York Yankees have finally decided that they may have made a mistake giving A-Rod such a lengthy and hefty contract nine years ago that the organization believes he has out-lived talent-wise.
The 46-year-old Furyk on Sunday did something no other member of the PGA Tour has ever done—shot 58 during a tournament.
The only problem Furyk had last weekend was that he didn’t win anything for his accomplishment. He started Sunday’s final round of the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Conn. 16-strokes behind third-round leader Daniel Berger.
Berger didn’t win the tourney either, finishing in fifth place behind relatively unknown Russell Knox.
But on this Sunday when Furyk’s round was completed before the Golf Channel began its final-day of TV coverage, all the news was about Furyk’s 12-under par round of 58. Fortunately, much of his round was taped and used as a highlight reel throughout the telecast of Sunday’s final round.
It’s wrong to claim that Furyk’s round was just a lucky one because three years ago he became only the sixth player on tour to shoot 59.
According to the Associated Press’ article in Monday’s editions, Al Geiberger did it at the 1977 Memphis Classic, Chip Beck at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational, David Duval at the 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Paul Guydos at the 2010 John Deere Classic and Stuart Appleby at the 2010 Greenbriar Classic.
Furyk began his historical round by holing an eagle from 135 yards out on the third hole and then running off seven consecutive birdies before making his final birdie on the 16th hole with a 24-foot putt. All he had to do was make par on the final two par-4 holes which he did to make golf history.
“There’s a lot of rounds by a lot of great players ahead of me that have never reached 58, so to hold that record alone right now on the PGA Tour is phenomenal,” Furyk told the AP after his round. “To have a little, small place in history is something you dream of.”
He is the only golfer with two sub-60 rounds in his career. And both times he had to settle for only history and not a trophy. He was third in the 2013 BMW Championship and finished in a tie for fifth place Sunday.
Knox, who fired a two-under par 68 to win his second tournament Sunday, collected a winner’s check of $1.188 million, compared to Furyk’s $231,825 for a fifth-place tie.
Rodriguez, who rode the Yankees’ bench for most of the past couple of weeks, was summoned into the office of Hal Steinbrenner, New York’s managing general partner, last Wednesday, according to the AP.
Steinbrenner told the 41-year-old A-Rod that there would be no more at-bats for him as a Yankee, not this season or the next one, either, for the fading slugger hitting a paltry .204 when he would be in the final year of his humongous $275 million contract. He would get the $27 million still owed him for this season and for 2017, but he would no longer be playing.
A-Rod was only four homers shy of joining the elite 700 homer club headed by another alleged user of performance-enhancing drugs Barry Bonds (762), plus pure sluggers Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
His final game will be Friday at Yankee Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rays when Rodriguez will be given his release by the Yankees and then appointed a special advisor and instructor for the team.
A-Rod probably made the right decision by accepting the Yankees’ offer. Otherwise he could have hung on stubbornly for the remainder of the season or be released and then try to catch on with another club for 2017.
KWICKIES…High school football scrimmages begin with four Orange County teams swinging into action Friday. Defending state champion West Orange-Stark will travel to take on always-tough Port Neches-Groves at The Reservation, Little Cypress-Mauriceville will go to Coldspring, Orangefield will be at Shepherd while the Bridge City Cardinals will host a tri-scrimmage with Buna and Beaumont Kelly.
However, a game that failed to materialize was the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame contest in Canton, Ohio between Green Bay and Indianapolis that was cancelled because of dangerous field conditions. Hardening of logos at midfield and in the end zone forced the game to be called off to ensure no player suffered an injury because of hazardous field conditions.
The Houston Texans travel to Santa Clara, CA. this week to practice against the San Francisco 49ers Friday and play their first preseason game Sunday. The Texans are looking forward to the usual 75 degree temperature and a cool breeze in the Bay area.
Forty-two year-old Ichiro Suzuki became the 30th member of the prestigious 3,000 Hit Club when he lined a triple off the wall Sunday to achieve that milestone as his Miami Marlins whipped the Colorado Rockies 10-7. He became the first player born in Japan to reach 3,000 and joined Paul Molitor, his former hitting coach when he was at Seattle, as the only ones to hit that mark with a triple. The next players bearing down at that milestone are the Texas Rangers Adrian Beltre (2,875) and LA Angels Albert Pujols (2,773).
On Sunday Houston Astros closer Ken Giles became the third pitcher since 1913 to record six strikeouts in less than two innings. Tim Wakefield and Steve Kline accomplished the feat a week apart from each other in August 1999.
JUST BETWEEN US…Two weeks ago the Houston Astros cut the lead of the first place Texas Rangers to a mere 2½ games after trailing them by 10 games two weeks before then. Now the Astros have slipped backwards and after losing two of three to the Rangers last weekend find themselves 7½ games behind them and in third place after Seattle slipped into second place. So instead of dreaming about overtaking the Rangers in the AL West Division, Houston had better work their butts off just to secure a wild card. When a team can’t score runs, it just can’t win many games. And that’s where they are after Sunday’s series with Texas as they began a four-game series Monday at Minnesota against the Twins and then three this weekend at Toronto. They need to turn it around, Pronto!!!