HE may be on the visiting team but USA veteran Jim Furyk is relishing the opportunity to tee it up in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition at Celtic Manor on Friday.
Fresh from a one-stroke victory over Luke Donald in the Tour Championship at East Lake,Atlanta, last Sunday that netted him a total of $11.35 million for the first place and Fedex Cup series success, most people would be pretty happy with any scenario.
Still, a first shot in a Ryder Cup is a nervous affair and with a large horseshoe-shaped grandstand having been erected around the first tee box on the Twenty Ten course and sure to be filled predominantly with raucous European fans, it is certainly not one of the more obvious pleasures in life for an opposing team member.
Unless you’re Furyk.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “There’s no doubt the European fans are wonderful fans for their team.
“They were out-numbered 20 to one in Kentucky (at Valhalla in 2008), and they made a ton of noise.
“They were very low in numbers but high in spirit, and I always enjoy coming over to play.
“It’s obviously different; you enjoy being at home because you want all of that noise to be on your side, but they are good fans and they are going to make a ton of noise on the first tee and sing their songs and chants and support their team. It will be a great atmosphere.”
Furyk has had little chance to celebrate his windfall from the PGA Tour although he did enjoy one aspect of it – “finally won something more than Tiger Woods,” he joked.
He also has a better return from the Ryder Cup than his long-time team-mate Woods, having won the trophy twice in six outings, while the world number one missed out through injury in 2008.
Not that he would object to improving both their records.
“It’s been disappointing but I guess we’ve got an opportunity to get closer to back to square,” Furyk said.
“We have one more week to go. (Last week) was the perfect end to the season but not the perfect end to the year.”
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