There’s nothing better for a golfer than to win a competition on the final swing — even in a fun, informal atmosphere such as Monday at the Players Championship Celebrity Charity Shootout at the 17th hole of the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Winning also never gets old, even for Jim Furyk, who has captured 17 PGA Tour titles, three on PGA Tour Champions and a U.S. Open on both circuits.
He said the best part was doing it for something other than his bank account.
Furyk’s final shot of the four he hit to the Island Green came to rest 2 feet, 8 inches from the hole to nose out Dee Brown, the senior associate athletic director at Jacksonville University, by 9 inches in the closest-to-the-pin contest that also included former Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee, former Major League baseball player Daniel Murphy and actor Andy Buckley of “The Office.”
Furyk earned $50,000 for the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation. The other participants, Brown (playing for Operation New Hope), Scobee (Guardian Catholic School), Murphy (Foster Closet) and Buckley (Tesori Family Foundation) took home $5,000 in contributions for their charities.
More for charity through Furyk Foundation
“We’re happy to be able to do even more to help the community,” Furyk said, less than a week after the announcement that the Constellation Furyk & Friends PGA Tour Champions event was able to donate more than $1 million in charity to the foundation he founded with his wife in 2011, for a third year in a row. “I think it shows the hard work our team has done.”
Each player got two shots to the hole, with the closest one to the hole counting. They went through two rounds.
Furyk also had a bit of a handicap. The other four participants hit to a front pin placement on the Island Green, 125 yards away. But when it was Furyk’s turn in the two rounds, the flag was put on the back-right hole placement, the traditional Sunday pin for The Players, for a 134-yard shot.
“That was an amazing shot,” Brown said. “Jim’s a pro and he got it just a little bit inside of me. I was happy just to put the ball on the green all four shots.”
Players Charity Shootout returns after three years
The event begins in a sense, the countdown to the 50th Players Championship, which will be March 14-17 at the Stadium Course. More than $100 million has been donated to charity from The Players since it came to the First Coast in 1977.
It was the first time since 2020 that the Charity Shootout had been held.
The charity shootout participants began throwing darts from the start, with Scobee, batting first, hit his first shot an inch less than 6 feet from the hole. Murphy put his shot within 12-6 inches and Brown then delivered his best shot with his first attempt.
Furyk closed out the first round with a shot to 9-7.
Brown hit a shot to 10-7 with his second shot in the second round, the best among the first four players.
It was then left up to Furyk, who delivered his final dart.
Of the 10 shots that counted to the players’ total, seven were 15 feet or less to the hole.
Jim Furyk hopeful to make his first start in March
Furyk, who has been dealing with nagging back problems, said his game off the tee is a bit rusty but he’s been able to work more on his wedges and short game as he gets closer to being able to make his first start of the 2024 season.
“Hopefully I can play one of the events in March,” said Furyk, who made his last start in the PNC Championship in December with his son Tanner, and last played on the PGA Tour Champions in October when he was able to play only one round of the Dominion Charity Classic. “I’ve been playing quite a bit of golf and my wedge game is very sharp right now.”
As evidenced by his winning swing to the Island Green.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Last shot, big check: Jim Furyk nails it at the 17th hole's Island Green