Furyk ends long title drought

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-23 09:23
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PALM HARBOR, Fla - Jim Furyk finally won after 32 months and 58 tournaments and it still became a footnote on Sunday.

When he finally reached the 18th green after a wild detour through the trees at Innisbrook, two television networks broadcast the first interview with Tiger Woods since revelations he had been cheating on his wife.

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Furyk wasn't aware of this until after he won the Transitions Championship. One of Woods' closest friends on the PGA Tour, he walked into the interview room holding a three-page transcript of Woods' interviews with ESPN and the Golf Channel.

"You know what? Tomorrow, the paper is going to read that I won the golf tournament and I don't really care if it's a three-page spread or a little blurb in the corner of the paper because the article is about him.

"I won the damn thing and it really doesn't matter to me."

All he cared about was winning for the first time since the 2007 Canadian Open, his longest stretch without a victory since he first joined the PGA Tour. He almost cared too much.

Furyk closed with a 2-under 69 for a one-shot victory over K.J. Choi, and he made it way too hard on himself.

He missed the last three greens in regulation, making a remarkable par save from a bunker washed out by earlier rains, then hitting what he called a half-shank from the trees, a shot that nearly took out NBC Sports reporter Roger Maltbie.

"It all worked out in the end," Furyk said.

The road getting there was more of a roller coaster than Furyk wanted - the birdie on No 10 to build a three-shot lead, failing to make birdie on the par-5 11th, a 35-foot birdie on the 12th, a pair of three-putt bogeys on par 3s sandwiched around a knockdown 8-iron within 3 feet for birdie on the 14th.

"I have a habit of making it tough on myself," Furyk said. "Just nerves got me, to be honest with you."

Furyk finished at 13-under 271 and won for the 14th time in his career, moving to No 6 in the world.

Choi, who started three shots out of the lead, was tied with Furyk through seven holes until a two-shot swing on the par-3 eighth. Choi never got any closer until the final hole. He closed with a 4-under 67 but his runner-up finish should be enough to move him to No 47 in the world and give him a good chance to get into the Masters.

Associated press