JIM FURYK was the £7 million (€8.2m) man as he flew into Cardiff for the Ryder Cup yesterday.
But it was so very nearly Luke Donald arriving for the Ryder Cup having scooped golf’s biggest jackpot on Sunday night.
The last leg of the FedEx Cup play-off series saw Furyk lift the Tour Championship in Atlanta by a single shot from the English star.
Both of them had to win the tournament to add the mind-blowing £6.3m (€7.4m) cup bonus and the four-week play-offs were heading for a sudden death play-off until Furyk got up and down from a bunker on the final hole.
Donald, who had dramatically chipped in from over 90 feet on the 17th, still earned over £1.2m (€1.4m) for finishing third in the overall series.
Furyk’s win was remarkable not for how he played at the weekend – eight under par was good enough and he bogeyed two of the last three holes – but for what happened a month ago.
The 40-year-old was disqualified from the opening play-off event for oversleeping and missing his pro-am tee-off time.
But he came back from that, climbed to 11th in the standings with a week to go and took advantage of all the players above him not doing what they had to do in the 30-man finale.
Furyk, shedding tears, said: “What a special year. I’ve never had a three-win season and this is great icing on the cake.
“After what happened the first week I just wanted to have a chance to play here.”
On the up and down at the last he added: “I nipped it perfect, I heard the roar and knew it was good.”
Furyk added: “I just don’t think it’s sunk in to be honest with you. I’m usually not at a loss for words, and I struggled a little bit. I wasn’t so smooth in the ceremonies there afterwards. I rambled a lot, and as you’ve all seen here a few times. But I just don’t think it’s sunk in.”
The putt he left himself was under 30 inches and he described it as short enough to be “almost dummy proof” – even with $11.35m (€8.5m) on the line.
The American team and Donald were able to make their scheduled departures despite a near two-hour thunderstorm delay.
“About 15 degrees colder and you’ve got next week’s weather – that’s what a lot of European caddies were telling me,” added Furyk.
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