GET out there and practice those bunker shots! One day one might be worth $11.6 million.
Well maybe not for us plebs but it happened today for American golfer Jim Furyk.
The 40 year old made an exquisite up and down from a greenside bunker on the final hole of The Tour Championship to get one back on everyone who has ever made fun of his backswing, called him unfashionable, or neglected to include him in their FedEx Cup favourites list.
Furyk collected the $US11 million when he beat Englishman Luke Donald by one stroke in dismal, rainy conditions at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
He collected $US1.35 million for winning the tournament, and a further $US10 million for clinching the season-long FedExCup.
The former US Open champion put his tee shot on the par three 18th hole in a bunker.
Knowing so much was at stake, he seemed to quite calmly play an aggressive bunker shot out of the wet sand that imparted lots of backspin on his ball. It stopped just a couple of feet past the hole for an easy final putt.
“I nipped it perfectly and I was just hoping it would check,” Furyk said.
Cheque was the operative word.
Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy still had sight of it after two great earlier rounds and he was within one stroke of the lead after a birdie on the first hole of the final round.
But that was as far as he got, failing to pick up another stroke before a bogey on 16 and a triple on 17.
Furyk finished with a 70 to be eight under, followed one back by Donald and a further stroke back was South African Retief Goosen.
Ogilvy (75) was the best of the Australians, finishing tied for 13th, eight behind the leader.
Jason Day (73) and Robert Allenby (70) tied for 17th at two-over, with Adam Scott (74) finishing 27th on eight-over.
Furyk is known for his gritty performances and it was no surprise he had the mettle to keep cool while those about him fell away – and to play his aggressive but controlled bunker shot.
What was a surprise was that he actually let down his usual stoic demeanour after sinking the winning putt to show some strong emotion – an unusual celebration for him in which he thrust his fist toward the grandstand and heaved his ball into the crowd.
“It just hit me,” Furyk said later. “I was excited and dropped the putter and … I don’t know. I guess at that moment, you’re not really responsible for what happens next.”
Don’t get too excited Jim. It’s only 11.6 million dollars and a couple of silver trophies.