BERLIN – About 14 hours after coming tantalizingly close to winning the U.S. Open at Oakmont in the Pennsylvania town of the same name not far from where he grew up, high-ranked PGA professional Jim Furyk was in the resort area Monday morning to help dedicate the War Admiral course at the Glen Riddle community.
A clearly tired Furyk was on hand Monday morning to help dedicate the members-only War Admiral course at Glen Riddle. Furyk, who served as a consultant in the design of both courses at Glen Riddle, helped cut the ribbon for the new course and fielded questions during a press conference before playing the course with scores of fans following him around.
Furyk lurked around the back end of the top 10 at the U.S. Open at Oakmont all weekend, steadily playing and hanging around while many of his tour colleagues were getting eaten alive by the treacherous course. He made a huge run late on Sunday afternoon, birdying three straight holes on the back nine including a birdie at the 15th that pulled him into a tie at the top of the leaderboard with the eventual winner Angel Cabrera.
An aggressive tee shot at the 17th left Furyk in a tough spot and he finished the hole with a bogey to drop one shot behind Cabrera, who was already in the clubhouse, and a valiant effort at the 18th left him with a chance, albeit a long shot, to pick up a stroke and move back into a tie. However, his long, twisting and turning putt on the 18th ended just a few feet short of the hole and Furyk settled for his second 2nd place finish at the U.S. Open in as many years.
“Obviously, yesterday was somewhat of a disappointment, but the applause and the attention I received made it special,” he said. “Then I come here today and receive the same applause, attention and well-wishes.”
Furyk posed for pictures, signed autographs and graciously fielded questions about the U.S. Open, his input on the design of the new course at Glen Riddle and other questions about golf in general before taking to the War Admiral course with dozens of fans and contingent of local media in tow. Furyk said after the long weekend at Oakmont he was ready for a relaxing round at the new course at Glen Riddle.
“It’s probably the most difficult course we’ve played, but it was fair,” he said. “I won’t lie, I’m tired, but this will be a fun day.”
At one point on Monday, Furyk was asked about the U.S. Open at Oakmont and whether the course was too difficult.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “You hear players complain sometimes. It’s probably in the Top Five hardest golf courses in the world, if not the hardest, but it’s fair. There’s a fine line between fair and unplayable, and most of the courses chosen for the U.S. Open flirt with that line.”
One fan in the audience suggested the average golfer enjoys watching the best players in the world struggle around a golf course in the U.S. Open because he or she can relate to it more than a tournament where the winner finishes in double digits under par.
“You must like watching NASCAR races to see the wrecks,” Furyk jokingly replied.
Furyk was involved in the design of the War Admiral course and its sister course, Man O’ War, which is open to the public, from the beginning, but has not been back to Glen Riddle since early in the design phase.
“Boy, a lot has changed,” he said. “This is a place you all should be very proud of.”
Furyk said his role in the design of the two courses at Glen Riddle was to provide input from a golfer’s perspective. Although the course might host lesser PGA events in the future, the intent was to make it a course the weekend duffer can enjoy just as much as a professional, he said.
“I just lent my eye and helped with what would make a hole play better from a golf standpoint,” he said. “Joel [course designer Joel Weiman of McDonald and Sons] wanted to make the course more difficult than I did. I realize everybody likes to play golf to escape for a little while from the struggles of life and their jobs, so I wanted to make it course where people can enjoy themselves. It’s challenging, but fun from every set of tees.”