The reunion of David Duval and Jim Furyk on the PGA Tour Champions is just the beginning of their connection.
They first met in Hilton Head, South Carolina, at an AJGA golf tournament when Duval was 15 years old and Furyk was a 6-foot 16-year-old, long before either had won a major championship. They would meet again a few years later, this time competing against each other in college, and their connection would only grow from there.
They learned they made a good duo ahead of competition while vying for a PGA Tour card on what was then known as the Nike Tour in the early 1990s.
“On Tuesday on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour, we were gambling partners,” Furyk joked ahead of the PGA Tour Champions’ Chubb Classic. “I’ll simply say we have a very [good] record and have made a few money.” He’s a fantastic teammate. Three years later, a couple of veterans tried to grab a little money from us, and three years later, he was ranked in the top 10 in the world and I was ranked in the top 25, so they obviously chose the wrong battle.
“However, it was a lot of pleasure to get some experience and play a lot of golf with him on Tuesday.” We were always partners, so we played a lot of practice rounds on the tour together, and we also played a lot of practice rounds in majors together, so I spent a lot of time with David. I appreciate being in his presence.”
Duval had the same recollection.
“On the Nike Tour, which is now the Korn Ferry Tour, we undoubtedly dipped into a few pockets,” he claimed. “Almost every week, he and I were partners.” I don’t recall ever having to pay out.”
Following their developing years, the two had PGA Tour careers that were very similar. Both have won on Tour more than ten times (Duval 13 times, Furyk 17), both have won one major (Duval the 2001 Open, Furyk the 2003 U.S. Open), and both have two sub-60 Tour rounds (Furyk has two). Despite their friendship, both of them have a competitive nature that pops out.
“David loves to brag that his (59) was 13 under par and both of mine were 12 under par,” Furyk said, “but mine was one lower (58 at the 2016 Travelers) so we’re in a friendly competition.”
That light-hearted feud has now moved on to the senior circuit. For the first time in a decade, Duval is competing full-time, and Furyk is in his second season on the tour. Despite their desire to beat one other on the golf course, they are delighted to embark on a new adventure together as if it were the 1990s.
“To have known and played and competed against someone for 35, 36 years, and he and I are dear friends, and our wives, Tabitha and Susie, are dear friends, I just think that the opportunity to kind of reconnect in that way, especially in a competitive environment, is a true blessing that the Champions Tour provides,” said Duval.