Jim Furyk Learned What It Takes To Host Champions Tour Event

Jim Furyk, Timuquana Country Club,Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Jim Furyk, Timuquana Country Club,Syndication: Florida Times-Union /

When Jim Furyk turned professional 30 years ago, he probably didn’t anticipate becoming a tournament host.  His goal at that time was to advance to the PGA Tour, which he did in the Q-School of 1993.  Two seasons later, he had already notched his first two victories.

Now, he can look back at a career packed with thrilling victories, including a U.S. Open and a FedEx Cup, where he rolled in a winning putt at the 18th in the pelting rain.

Furyk won 17 times on the PGA Tour. He may be the only PGA Tour player to shoot both a 59 and a 58 in PGA Tour events. Eleven others have posted 59s, no one else has matched his 58.  He played on nine Ryder Cup teams, captained once, and participated on seven Presidents Cup teams. He often partnered with Tiger Woods. It’s a career of excellence, really.

But none of that really prepared Jim Furyk for hosting a tournament.

“The reason we’re having the event is we’re really trying to impact north Florida and the Jacksonville area charitably,” Furyk said prior to the Constellation Furyk & Friends event, speaking from the beautifully scenic, clubhouse at Timuquana CC that backs up to the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida.

"“I can’t stress enough how significant the pro-ams are for each and every event. We literally could not have the tournaments without them.” – Jim Furyk"

It was just something he and his wife, Tabitha, wanted to do to raise money for organizations that need it: MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, First Tee – North Florida, Blessings in a Backpack, Habitat for Humanity, St. Johns River Keeper, and Hope for the Holidays which delivers nonperishable food to families during the holiday season.

For 10 years after Jim Furyk won the 2010 Tour Championship and FedEx Cup, the Furyks supported their favorite charities with a smaller community event, which they had named Furyk & Friends. But they wanted to do more.

After talking with the PGA Tour and his sponsor Constellation Energy, it seemed like the time was right to grow it into something more impactful. He was turning 50, and the PGA Tour Champions circuit was on the horizon.

With the backing of Constellation as the title sponsor and help from Circle K as the presenting sponsor, the idea became reality.

However, even with deep pockets like those two companies have, it’s not enough to make the tournament successful.  They needed to learn how to organize and sell a larger event.

Jim Furyk, Constellation Furyk & Friends, Timuquana CC, PGA Tour Champions, Jacksonville
Jim Furyk, Timuquana Country Club, Syndication: Florida Times-Union /

A big part of that was the pro-am.

“This Wednesday and Thursday really allows us to have a golf tournament,” Jim Furyk explained.

"“I can’t stress enough how significant the pro-ams are for each and every event. We literally could not have the tournaments without them. So, I try to stress that when these guys and gals wind down and we get a chance to say thank you and hand out prizes, I make sure I stress that.”"

Furyk said he’s been educated in the budget, the purse, and how the television portion works, but he does not try to do all that himself.

"“My style’s always been to try to hire really good people that I really trust and believe in and let them do their job,” he explained. “If they don’t, then we’ll find someone that will, but I try not to really stick my nose in where it’s not needed and try to help out as much as I can where I can.”"

They have a core of five people, one of whom is Tabitha Furyk, who participates as a volunteer.  (In other words, it’s a lot of work and she’s not paid.)

"“They have to wear a lot of hats and a lot of different types of things and be well versed in pretty much the whole event,” he added. “I’ve also noticed if I spend too much time in there learning more about it, it’s daunting. I’d be really, really nervous, if that makes sense.”"

Before having their tournament, the Furyks asked friends for advice.

“We definitely reached out to Davis and Robin (Love), and we reached out to Steve and Nicki (Stricker), and we tried to kind of compare notes and compare things that we can draw from,” Furyk noted.

“We’re all going to do things a little bit differently because we’re in different areas, have different needs.”

The Loves host the RSM Classic on the PGA Tour, and the Strickers host the American Family Insurance tournament on PGA Tour Champions.

However, Furyk & Friends has even come up with something other events have copied.

"“The one thing we did here, very unique, were the cabanas, the ones on 17. You didn’t see a lot of small hospitality, especially on the Champions Tour, at that time. Now this year we had such good success with it, I see it popping up at other tournaments.”"

It was so good that the PGA Tour mentioned it in their tournament meetings as something other tournaments might want to try.

“For us, it was by necessity. We were kind of going through COVID trying to sell hospitality, which is very difficult,” Jim Furyk admitted.

"“Tab came up with the idea — let’s do a smaller platform.  Let’s tell folks that food and drink’s included, but it’s going to be 10 to 12 people and it’s your people. It’s open air, and that way you can feel safe. The product’s done amazingly well.”"

Now when he goes to other tournaments, he’s stealing from them.  For instance at the 7th hole, at the Circle K Party Porch, if someone makes a 2 on No. 7, beers are two dollars for seven minutes.

“We didn’t invent that, they’ve been doing that at Ally for a long time, but it’s something we can draw from them, and the fans really enjoy,” Furyk said.

Now that he’s involved with a tournament on a more personal level, if he sees something interesting at another tournament, he snaps a picture with his phone to share with the tournament staff.

Though they might share ideas, there’s no stiff competition between Jim Furyk, Stricker, and Love trying to one-up each other. Each tournament, he noted is in a different market and caters to what they hope will be successful in each location.

“They’re all really dear friends,” he added.

Next. Phil Mickelson Finally Does Smart Thing: Drops Out of LIV Lawsuit. dark

Many of the players feel the same way about the Furyks. That’s why Davis Love III, Steve Stricker, Ernie Els, David Duval, Justin Leonard, Fred Funk, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Notah Begay, David Toms, and Vijay Singh, just to name a few big stars, have turned out to support the event.