Former Lancaster County resident Furyk has reason to think about Rio Olympics
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Jim Furyk looked at the calendar when golf was added to the Olympics for 2016. He realized he would be 46, and most likely would not be among the top four Americans who could earn a spot for Rio de Janeiro.
"I just assumed it wasn't going to be an issue for me," the former Lancaster County resident said.
And then he had a strong season a year ago with four runner-up finishes. And he won this year to go along with four other top fives.
With less than a year to go before qualifying ends, Furyk currently is No. 6 in the world and has the third-highest ranking of the Americans behind Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson. He is narrowly ahead of Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.
And the Olympics suddenly are more realistic.
"Is it something I'm interested in? I am, but it's for very selfish reasons," said Furyk, a 1988 graduate of Manheim Township High School. "Instead of looking at the big picture what golf in the Olympics means for our sport, next year my kids will be 12 and 14. If I were to play well enough in the next year and I could go to the Olympics, it would be really cool to take my kids.
"My wife was looking at the schedule and said, 'What would we do?' Well, either I'm taking a month off or we're going to take the kids to Brazil for two weeks."
Furyk is among those who was skeptical about golf in the Olympics. He is a sports nut, and to him the Olympics bring to mind sports like swimming, track and field, gymnastics, where a gold medal is the pinnacle of the sport.
"I think of the Winter Olympics and Dan Jansen dying a thousand deaths. He's the best guy and can't win the gold medal. He finally comes through and wins the gold medal," Furyk said. "It's a crowning moment of his career, what he's worked for all those years. We still have the Masters and the U.S. Open and the British Open and the PGA. As much as I love basketball, I really don't care to watch basketball in the Olympics. I'll check the score and I hope we win.
"I'm interested in how it will be with golf," he said. "I think it's going to take some time."
Furyk said he will not change his schedule to make sure he gets a spot on the team. No country can have more than four players, provided they are among the top 15 in the world ranking. Currently there are eight Americans among the top 15.
He loves to compete. He loves sports. With his schedule, he has never gone to the Olympics as a spectator. Maybe he could do both.
"I don't love crowds and I don't like traveling to certain areas," he said. "But as a competitor, you're already there."