Jim Furyk has captained the American squad only once. And she bowed. It was at the Ryder Cup in 2018. However, he will have the chance to recover next summer, on the fairways of the Royal Montreal golf club.
On Tuesday morning, the 52-year-old golfer was named captain of Team USA for the 2024 Presidents Cup. “I found out over the phone. I’ve spoken to former captain Davis Love III, Zach Johnson and [PGA Tour] commissioner Jay Monahan,” he told La Presse, just an hour after his appointment was officially announced. .
The winner of 17 titles, including the U.S. Open in 2003, has competed seven times as a player. He was also an assistant captain in 2015 and 2017.
Now he has the reins of the team. His approach will be very different from that he had as a player, even if the notions of team and mutual aid remain a priority.
In 2018, at the Ryder Cup, Furyk came under a lot of criticism for his choice of strategy and duos. The United States had been beaten by the European team 17 ½ to 10 ½. “Hopefully it will be better than 2018, but I will turn those negative things around to try and help the team win this time,” he said.
Furyk would like to be part of the cohort of American players treading the Montreal turf, there is no doubt. He is still inhabited by all the passion that fed him during his prolific career.
“My wife always told me how stressed she was when she watched me play,” he recalls. As a player, you are always a little stressed. Even when you hit your first shot, it stays for the whole round, but at least you feel like you’re in control of your stress. As captain, I can only watch. We did the work beforehand and we are trying to put the guys in a comfortable position with good duos, but we can only watch. »
The American team will arrive with the label of favorite. She has won the last nine editions. It also has 6 players in the world top 10.
The number of candidates will be staggering for the captain. Never mind, no matter who will be present in Montreal, the American team will be able to rely on extremely solid foundations: “There is a lot of chemistry that develops over the years. There are leaders who stand out and young people who shine, like Jordan [Spieth] at his first Ryder Cup. »
Furyk was present when the Presidents Cup stopped at Royal Montreal in 2007. He also won the Canadian Open twice.
“I have a very good relationship with Canada,” he laughs. I think Canadian fans have always liked me. At the same time, the other captain is at home and has carried the torch of Canadian golf for a few decades now. It was obvious that he was going to be the captain for this Presidents Cup. »
The other captain in question is Mike Weir, whose appointment was announced last November at the Bell Centre.
The crowd will be on his side and the Americans will be the enemy, and that’s fine, he believes: “What makes the Presidents Cup so unique is the emotion. I like to say it’s like a game of football or hockey on a golf course. Even the most stoic players get caught up in the game clapping and cheering until the air is out of their lungs. »
If there is so much emotion, it is because the competition is increasingly tough, he thinks. From now on, the United States and Europe are no longer alone. A ton of talented players are developing and emerging in the rest of the world.
“That’s the point, isn’t it? »
For Furyk, it’s a point of pride, even if it could possibly come to haunt him a year from now: “It’s such a beautiful sport. Our goal is to spread golf all over the planet and that’s a great goal. It is thanks to events like this, which brings together many countries. »