In second year, Furyk and Friends tournament gaining in reputation

Event at Timuquana Country Club tees off Friday

Ponte Vedra Beach resident and championship golfer Jim Furyk celebrates with fans in 'Club 58' at the innaugural Constellation Furyk & Friends presented by Circle K golf tournament at Timuquana Country Club in 2021. (CR PR Group)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Constellation Furyk and Friends golf tournament tees off Friday at Timuquana Country Club. It’s the second year of the PGA Tour Champions event, hosted by Jim and Tabitha Furyk.

This year, the field will include David Duval. The Episcopal graduate competed in the pro-am in 2021, but this year, he’s in the field.

Duval, who grew up playing the course at Timuquana Country Club while his father, Bob, was the pro there, just missed playing in the inaugural event last year. Duval was a month shy of his 50th birthday to qualify for the PGA Tour Champions.

The tournament has quickly gained a strong reputation among Champions players, mostly due to the Furyks’ hosting and the course itself.

FURYK AND FRIENDS TOURNAMENT GUIDE | What you need to know about the event

“First and foremost, it speaks a lot about the family and their commitment to community,” said Champions tour rookie Notah Begay. “They’ve raised a ton of money for a lot of different charities in the area supporting a variety of different very good causes.

“Secondly, anytime you have a community champion pushing forward your issues within your community, it always garners more attention. In Jim’s case, using his platform, you usually are able to pull in more corporate support. So it’s a win-win because it’s very organically grown and developed, which makes it more sustainable, which is what we’re trying to do with our nonprofit work.”

Last year, three-time major champion Padraig Harrington made his Champions tour debut at the Constellation Furyk and Friends because of Furyk’s invitation. He said he was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the course at Timuquana.

“It’s a fabulous course. I’d come back here with my friends, “Harrington said. “It was a surprise to me. I hadn’t heard of the course. I didn’t know anything about it. I think you would have more fun playing with your friends than you would playing a tournament here.

“When your friend’s ball rolls off the green 20 yards down into the rough, you can laugh at them. Obviously this week, it feels pretty miserable for the opposition, and when you do it. And what a view here (on the St. Johns River facing downtown). It’s a hidden gem.”

As for Duval, he will be paired with Begay and Justin Leonard in the 12:15 p.m. group on Friday. It’s been decades since Duval and Begay, who both have done work as television commentators, have played a round together.

“Probably 20 years ago. We were on the same Presidents Cup team, so probably played a practice round then,” Begay said. “It’s been really fun getting to know him and Justin away from golf. We both grew up in the game and really get a sense and an understanding of just their approaches to the game, and now they’re raising their families just like I am. We’ve really become close over the last five or six years and I’m looking forward to walking alongside those guys.”

Duval isn’t the only player with local ties in the field. Furyk, the tournament’s co-host lives in Jacksonville. Vijay Singh, Frank Lickliter, Fred Funk and Rocco Mediate are among those who live or have lived in the area.

There are five former winners of The Players Championship in the field: Duval, Funk, Davis Love III, Stephen Ames and Justin Leonard. Eleven major champions are in the field: Furyk, Duval, Love, Leonard, Lee Janzen, Retief Goosen, Mike Weir, John Daly, Singh, Steve Stricker and Bernhard Langer.

Missing from this year’s field is the defending champion Phil Mickelson, who jumped to the LIV Golf series, forfeiting his PGA Tour card in the process.