Sheboygan, Wis. — Jim Furyk looked at the calendar when golf was added to the Olympics for 2016. He realized he would be 46, and most likely would not be among the top four Americans who could earn a spot for Rio de Janeiro.
“I just assumed it wasn’t going to be an issue for me,” Furyk said.
And then he had a strong season a year ago with four runner-up finishes. And he won this year to go along with four other top fives.
With less than a year to go before qualifying ends, Furyk currently is No. 6 in the world and has the third-highest ranking of the Americans behind Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson. He is narrowly ahead of Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.
And the Olympics suddenly are more realistic.
“Is it something I’m interested in? I am, but it’s for very selfish reasons,” Furyk said. “Instead of looking at the big picture what golf in the Olympics means for our sport, next year my kids will be 12 and 14. If I were to play well enough in the next year and I could go to the Olympics, it would be really cool to take my kids.
“My wife was looking at the schedule and said, ‘What would we do?’ Well, either I’m taking a month off or we’re going to take the kids to Brazil for two weeks.”
Furyk is among those who was skeptical about golf in the Olympics. He is a sports nut, and to him the Olympics bring to mind sports like swimming, track and field, gymnastics, where a gold medal is the pinnacle of the sport.
“I think of the Winter Olympics and Dan Jansen dying a thousand deaths. He’s the best guy and can’t win the gold medal. He finally comes through and wins the gold medal,” Furyk said. “It’s a crowning moment of his career, what he’s worked for all those years. We still have the Masters and the U.S. Open and the British Open and the PGA. As much as I love basketball, I really don’t care to watch basketball in the Olympics. I’ll check the score and I hope we win.
“I’m interested in how it will be with golf,” he said. “I think it’s going to take some time.”
Furyk said he will not change his schedule to make sure he gets a spot on the team. No country can have more than four players, provided they are among the top 15 in the world ranking. Currently there are eight Americans among the top 15.
He loves to compete. He loves sports. With his schedule, he has never gone to the Olympics as a spectator. Maybe he could do both.
Koepka’s big push
Brooks Koepka is No. 16 in the FedEx Cup, making him the highest-ranked player in the field at the Wyndham Championship who doesn’t have a business relationship with the title sponsor (Brandt Snedeker, at No. 14, has Wyndham on the crest of his shirt).
FedEx Cup bubble
Tiger Woods is not quite done with his PGA Tour season, though he faces a long shot at the Wyndham Championship. He is No. 187 in the standings and while mathematically he could finish second alone and move into the top 125, he likely will need to win.
The season is over for a pair of major champions.
Geoff Ogilvy at No. 148 did not enter and will miss the playoffs. He made it to the Tour Championship all but two years. Graeme McDowell at No. 156 also is not playing the Wyndham and will miss the playoffs for the first time since he began playing a full PGA Tour schedule in 2011.
Seung-yul Noh at No. 127 also is missing, and his season is done.
All three of those players are exempt for next year based on recent PGA Tour victories.
Locally, Brian Stuard (Jackson) is sitting at No. 119 in the standings and Tom Gillis (Lake Orion) is at No. 138. Both will play in the Wyndham Championship.
Course: Sedgefield Country Club (7,127 yards, par 70), Greensboro, N.C.
Purse: $5.4 million ($972,000 winner)
TV: Golf Channel — 3-6 p.m., 9:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Thursday; 3-6 p.m., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Friday; 1-2:30 p.m., 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. CBS — 3-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Last year: Camilo Villegas closed with a 7-under 63 for a one-stroke victory.
Canadian Pacific Open
Course: Vancouver Golf Club (6,681 yards, par 72), Coquitlam, British Columbia
Purse: $2,225,000 ($333,750 winner)
TV: Golf Channel — 6-9 p.m. Thursday; 3:30-5:30 a.m., 12:30-2:30 p.m., 6-9 p.m. Friday; 4:30-6 a.m., 7-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Last year: So Yeon Ryu won at London Hunt in Ontario, breaking the tournament record at 23 under.
Course: TPC Snoqualmie Ridge (7,172 yards, par 72), Snoqualmie, Wash.
Purse: $2 million ($300,000 winner)
TV: Golf Channel — 9-11 p.m. Friday; 2:30-4:30 a.m., 5-7 p.m. Saturday; 2-4 a.m., 5-7 p.m. Sunday
Last year: Scott Dunlap won his first Champions Tour title, beating Mark Brooks with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.