Las Vegas, Nevada (September 27, 2010)–Some of the celebration on the 18th green at Eastlake Country Club, following the final putt of the 2010 Tour Championship, looked very familiar. There was Jim Furyk, capping a win by hugging a young lady named Tabitha, who these days is married to the champ and the winner of the FedEx Cup trophy and a ton of cash. Flash back about 15 years and to the 18th green of Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin and Furyk is also celebrating a win on the PGA Tour by hugging a young lady named Tabitha, who in 1995 was yet to be Mrs. Jim Furyk. Yes, in 1995, a younger Jim and Tabitha hit the jackpot in Las Vegas when Furyk earned his first PGA Tour victory when he edged Billy Mayfair by a single shot. Furyk is currently on the commit list to play in Las Vegas this October. —By Brian Hurlburt.
Furyk now stands as the 2010 FedEx Cup champion, a 3-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2010, and possibly has sown up the 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year award. In all, Furyk has amassed 16 PGA Tour wins and is a major champion who probably is headed into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Furyk is generally regarded as one of the best golfers in the world, but when he won in Las Vegas he was pretty much a no-name PGA Tour player, except to those who were watching closely. Furyk, who started a habit of going low in Las Vegas in 1994 as a rookie, came into the 1995 Las Vegas Invitational having made 21 of 30 cuts on the year, with a couple of top 10 finishes. And he had finished in a tie for 5th in Las Vegas as a rookie the previous year. Furyk would continue his Las Vegas legend when he, again, won the Las Vegas PGA Tour event in 1998 and 1999, becoming the only golfer in the history of the tournament to win it more than once.
These days, the Las Vegas PGA Tour event is called the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and the 2010 rendition is to be played October 21-24. Martin Laird is the defending champion. But Furyk also left his mark on a Las Vegas golf course last year when he fired a final-round 62 to vault up the leaderboard and into contention. Furyk just missed qualifying for a playoff that featured Laird, Chad Campbell and George McNeil. Furyk lost to Wes Short, Jr. in Las Vegas in a playoff in 2005. In all, Furyk ranks as the highest roller in Las Vegas golf history with more than $2.2 million in total earnings, three wins, seven top 10 finishes, and 12 top 20 finishes. In all, he has played in Las Vegas 14 times, making the cut in 13 of those tournaments. His worst finish (besides when he missed the cut in 2001) was a tie for 22nd in 1996.
Las Vegas' involvement with the PGA Tour, dating back to the 1953 Tournament of Champions, has helped the area flourish into an ultimate golf city. There are more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses. One that stands out is Las Vegas National Golf Club, formerly named Las Vegas Hilton Country Club, which was one of three Las Vegas golf courses used during the 1995 tournament. Las Vegas National, then named Stardust Country Club, was also a host course for the Tournament of Champions and the LPGA Championship, a major on the ladies tour. Las Vegas National is conveniently located to the Las Vegas Strip, and offers a historic golf experience to all Las Vegas golfers. Click now to view the official website for Las Vegas National Golf Club and to reserve your Las Vegas golf tee times and Las Vegas golf packages.
Furyk has always loved Las Vegas, on and off the course. "I won three of my first four events here in Las Vegas," Furyk said before the 2009 tournament." Unfortunately I haven't won here in 10 years. But I had a couple of good opportunities. I lost in a playoff since then, and I had some other top finishes. I enjoy coming here. I enjoy playing … My family and I enjoy coming to Las Vegas, and I enjoy TPC Summerlin." The private TPC Summerlin has been the only course played in the tournament rotation since 2008.
After his 1998 victory, Furyk said that playing well and winning in Las Vegas did a lot for not only his bank account and PGA Tour status, but also helped give him a strong belief in his abilities. "It gives you confidence," Furyk was quoted as saying in an interview for the official 1999 tournament program. " When you're on Tour, it becomes more than physical–everyone on tour has a lot of talent and a lot of physical ability–but it breaks down to more than that. You have to be mentally strong."
The 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is the ongoing commitment between Timberlake and Shriners Hospitals for Children to continue the tradition of a PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas. The collaboration between Shriners Hospitals for Children as Title Sponsor and Host, along with Celebrity Host Justin Timberlake, creates a truly unique and world-class event for players and fans alike. A variety of well-known golfers will participate in the competition and help support the mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children, while enjoying the signature flair that Las Vegas has to offer. Click now for the official website to check out all of the action and events surrounding the tournament.