There have been six golfers on the PGA Tour who shot the once-mystical 59 in a round, the first was famously Al Geiberger in the 1977 Memphis Classic. He was followed into the books by Chip Beck at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational, before David Duval shot the magic number at the 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Paul Goydos, at the 2010 John Deere Classic, and Stuart Appleby, at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic, then made it Nos 4 and 5 before Jim Furyk put together loops of 31 and 28 at the 2013 BMW Championship.
Ah, Furyk. Jim Michael Furyk, the 46-year-old American pro, whose swing was described by David Feherty as ‘an octopus falling out of a tree’ and by Gary McCord as looking like ‘a one-armed golfer using an axe to kill a snake in a telephone booth’.
He might be unorthodox, but the 46-year-old has won 27 tournaments around the globe, hit a career-high No 2 in the World Ranking in 2006 and won the 2003 US Open – and the 2005 Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.
In August he went where no man, or woman, has ever been on the US Tour. A second sub-60 round on the PGA Tour, this time posting a 58 in the third round of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. ‘It’s pretty cool,’ he said.
‘A million and a half rounds played in the history of the PGA Tour and you look at the great names ahead of me. It’s humbling, to stand alone at 58 is really a cool accomplishment.
‘I never thought I’d have the opportunity to shoot 59, so once we accomplished that goal I said, “I had my one chance, I was able to go ahead and birdie the last hole and do it, it’ll probably never happen again”, and lo and behold, I made the turn today and said, “Here we go again”,’ said the man dubbed ‘Gentleman Jim’.
While there have been lower rounds, with four 55s recorded, none of them have qualified for the Guinness Book of World Records. Our own Louis Oosthuizen has two sub-60 rounds, both at Mossel Bay Golf Club where he signed off for a 57 and a 59.
The Guinness Book of World Records is going to include Furyk in its next 2017 issue, along with Germany’s Stephan Jaeger who signed off for a 58 in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae.
The names of Furyk and Jaeger will be added to Shigeki Maruyama and Ryo Ishikawa. In 2000, Maruyama posted a round of 58 at a US Open sectional qualifier. Ishikawa added his name to Guinness-recognised record in May 2010, when he carded a 58 in the final round of The Crowns tournament on the Japan Tour. He was playing a course that barely cleared the Guinness requirement of 6 500 yards, but his round was the first 58 ever posted on one of the world’s major golf tours.
Twitter reacted, as is the norm in the modern age, to the news of Furyk’s 58 with some astonishing facts and figures. One such tweet came from the official timeline of the PGA Tour.
Simply, for Twitter purposes, it read: ‘Jim Furyk’s last 20 rounds: 74, 72, 70, 73, 74, 72, 72, 75, 70, 71, 71, 68, 74, 67, 69, 74, 73, 66, 72 … 58’
Because golfers at the highest level are remembered by the state they post, here are some that tell the tale of how Furyk made history.
There have been approximately 613 000 rounds in PGA Tour history. Furyk’s is the only 58.
Firing on all cylinders: Furyk hit all 18 greens in regulation, carded 10 birdies and one eagle and needed just 24 putts.
Furyk holed out on the third hole for eagle, and had just 10 putts on the front nine as he reached the turn in 27. That’s one off the Tour’s record over nine holes, held by Corey Pavin (26 at 2006 US Bank Championship).
Furyk was 11-under through his first 12 holes, including seven birdies in a row from holes six through 12.
Furyk started the Sunday 16 shots off the lead, and made the cut on the number on Friday by holing an eight-footer for par on his 18th hole.
This was the ninth time Furyk hit all 18 greens in regulation.
The Fairer Sex
Annika Sorenstam shot the lowest round in LPGA Tour history, shooting a 13-under 59 during the second round of the Standard Register Ping in Phoenix in 2001.
The Swede, then 30 (now 55), became the first – and so far only woman – to break the 60 barrier.
‘It was overwhelming. I wasn’t just trying to stay cool,’ said Sorenstam, who went on to win 10 Major titles, said of her round.
‘It was an incredible day, obviously. I had a lot of thoughts in my head. I was trying to stay calm and hit good shots, trying to hit it straight every time.’