Furious Furyk hits out at Ryder Cup jibes before WGC reunion

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The Independent Online

Jim Furyk has two words to say to anyone who believes that he and his fellow Americans care more about the £4m individual event starting in Watford today than they did about that £0m event that took place at the K Club last week. And neither of them are "team spirit".

Indeed, on entering The Grove yesterday for his final practice round for the Amex Championship, the third best player in the world rendered the "k" in his name redundant by revealing a previously undetected fury.

"On Sunday," Furyk began, casting his mind back to the aftermath of that drubbing, "a well-respected writer asked me point blank whether in the big scheme of things the Ryder Cup actually mattered to me. Now, without wanting to reach out and strangle him or send a few F-bombs his way, I just bit my tongue, told him he offended me and walked away."

Lucky writer. Unlucky tongue. "Look, if you can't get up for the Ryder Cup you don't have a pulse," Furyk added. "It's the premium event. I get more jacked up for that than I could ever imagine getting for any individual event, maybe to a fault at times. It was such an offensive question."

Moving on - which seemed the sensible thing to do - Furyk was asked how much he was looking forward to this, the last World Golf Championship extravaganza of the season.

"I'm tired and slightly miserable, to say the least," he said. "What I miss most is my kids."

Best to look elsewhere then, in the 64-strong field that includes all the Ryder Cup competitors except dear old Phil Mickelson, who cannot be bothered, and Vaughn Taylor and Paul McGinley, who are non-qualifiers due to being out of the world's top 50.

Of chief interest on the home front will be David Howell's attempts to usurp Paul Casey at the top of the Order of Merit and Sergio Garcia's mission to dislodge Luke Donald as the highest European on the world rankings. All will appreciate, however, that Tiger Woods will pose somewhat more of a threat than he did in Kildare (not questioning his commitment, of course).

In the strokeplay format, Woods is on a five-tournament winning run stretching back to before the Open in July, and has won four of the six Amex Championships that have taken place to date. The Grove is the first British course to host a WGC event and the newish development reminds Woods of the greens at Mount Juliet in Ireland, where he won the same event with a 25-under-par total in 2002. "The greens were absolutely perfect there and they're perfect here," he said. "Expect some good scores."

He will not be surprised to see one of his partners notching them up. Woods described Darren Clarke's performance last week as "remarkable" and again he is afforded the chance to see his friend's talent up close. Yes, the K Club reminders will be everywhere. No wonder Woods said: "I can't wait to get back to the States."