Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Jim Furyk takes the lead into the last round of a PGA Tour event, only to come up short on Sunday.
I thought so.
Since winning the 2010 Tour Championship, Furyk has failed to capitalize on any of the seven 54-hole leads he has held.
The 44-year-old took a three-shot lead into the final round of the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday. His playing partner, Tim Clark, was also in search of his first win since 2010. Despite hitting three more greens in regulation than Clark on Sunday (14 of 18), Furyk lost by four to the South African, meaning Clark walked off with a one-shot victory.
Clark put on a putting masterclass Sunday, while Furyk’s stroke evaded him. Clark gained 3.167 strokes putting in the final round; Furyk’s number was -2.433, a difference of more than 5.5 shots on the greens.
The solo-second-place finish was Furyk’s third in his last seven events. He also finished solo-second at last year’s PGA Championship, where he took a one-shot lead into Sunday.
So what is happening on Sunday?
For a player whose game is built around accuracy and consistency, it is certainly surprising that he has struggled to get over the line so much when holding a lead. Sponsored by 5-Hour Energy, it appears Furyk lacks the energy needed to finish off events.
Since 2010, he has ranked 71st, 77th, 25th, 99th and 42nd in final-round scoring average, despite ranking seventh, 46th, fourth, 13th and fourth in stroke average differential (i.e. players’ score relative to the field average).
Since that famous Tour Championship victory in 2010, Furyk has started in the top 10 on Sunday on 21 occasions. He has improved his position on the leaderboard in 12 of those events, which is pretty solid.
However, over that time he has led seven times going into Sunday and failed to win any. Throughout his recent win drought, Furyk has finished second six times with 23 further top-10 finishes.
Plenty of money, but no wins.
There is no doubt Furyk is still one of the best players in the world. He currently ranks eighth in the world rankings, ahead of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and his win-loss-tie record over the last 52 weeks versus the top 100 players in the world is second to none. He has beaten 838 of the 1,112 top 100 players he faced in the last year, a rate of more than 75%. No other player in the world can boast a win rate like that.
So is it just a matter of time before Furyk wins again? Or will he finish his career with 16 PGA Tour wins?
Numbers suggest he will win again, but perhaps he would be best to let someone else lead on Saturday night.
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