Jim Furyk has reason to be thinking about Rio Olympics
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) 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.
''I don't love crowds and I don't like traveling to certain areas,'' he said. ''But as a competitor, you're already there.''
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).
Part of that is to make sure he secures a spot in the Tour Championship. A year ago, Harris English failed to make it to East Lake even though he started the playoffs at No. 17. He missed the cut in the opening two events and was middle of the pack in the third one.
But there's a little more urgency than just getting to East Lake.
Koepka is No. 20 in the Presidents Cup with three tournaments remaining before the top 10 earn a spot in the team. The measure is FedEx Cup points, which count as double this year. U.S. captain Jay Haas lives relatively close to Greensboro, and it probably won't hurt Koepka if the captain sees him making this effort.
Koepka did not become a full PGA Tour member until October. He won the Phoenix Open and made the cut in all four majors, with top 10s at the last two. What might help is that of the top 10 in the current standings, only Chris Kirk (No. 10 and still out with a hand injury) has not played in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.
Then again, Koepka has experience ahead of him trying to earn a spot - J.B. Holmes (No. 13), Bill Haas (No. 15), Snedeker (No. 16) and Webb Simpson (No. 19).
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 victory.
The bubble boy is Charl Schwartzel. Even though the former Masters champion closed with a 75 at Whistling Straits, he moved to No. 125 in the FedEx Cup, one point ahead of Scott Langley.
MAKING THE CUT: Henrik Stenson was 5 over par through 15 holes of the PGA Championship when he closed with a birdie and two pars to salvage a 76. It gave him a little momentum going into Friday, and he shot 66 to make the cut with room to spare.
Stenson now has made the cut in all four majors in each of the last three years. The only other player to do that is Jason Day, who won his first major at Whistling Straits.
They were among 18 players who made the cut in all four majors, a list that includes Jordan Spieth for the first time (he didn't make the cut in the PGA the last two years) and Brooks Koepka, who was playing all four majors for the first time.
The biggest casualty was Adam Scott, who missed the cut in a major for the first time since the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.
On the flip side were Brian Harman, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Matt Every and Stephen Gallacher. They missed the cut in all four majors this year. Every has missed the cut in five straight majors.
DIVOTS: The John Deere Classic can claim the ''Grand Slam Exemption.'' It gave sponsor exemptions to Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson and Jason Day before they became full PGA Tour members. ... In the last 30 majors, Rory McIlroy is the only player to win with the No. 1 ranking (2014 PGA Championship). ... This was the second straight year that the PGA Championship winner shot all four rounds in the 60s. ... Jordan Spieth has been installed a 5-1 favorite to win the Masters, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. McIlroy is 6-1 and PGA champion Jason Day is 10-1. ... The USGA has selected half its 10-member team for the Walker Cup - Bryson DeChambeau, Beau Hossler, Lee McCoy, Maverick McNealy and Hunter Stewart. Still trying to get a spot is Jordan Niebrugge, low amateur at the British Open. The Walker Cup is Sept. 12-13 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Rose finished at 14-under 274 in the Masters and at the PGA Championship. He finished a combined 10 shots out of the lead.
FINAL WORD: ''I played good golf in the majors this year and I'm a lot under par. It just hasn't been my week in any of them.'' - Justin Rose, who was 34-under par in the four majors this year.
(Corrects ''Making the Cut'' item to add Miguel Angel Jimenez to players who missed the cut in all four majors)