The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

93° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Former Wildcat hits links in Arizona again

    Former Wildcat and current pro golfer Jim Furyk looks back at Arizona head coach Rick LaRose during the Pepsi Wildcat Golf Fundraiser at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana on Friday. Furyk led the Wildcats to their only national championship in 1992 under LaRose.
    Former Wildcat and current pro golfer Jim Furyk looks back at Arizona head coach Rick LaRose during the Pepsi Wildcat Golf Fundraiser at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana on Friday. Furyk led the Wildcats to their only national championship in 1992 under LaRose.

    As a Wildcat, Jim Furyk was a two-time All-American and led Arizona to the school’s only men’s golf national championship in 1992.

    Now on the PGA Tour, Furyk is the No. 3 golfer in the world. He has 12 tour victories under his belt, including one major championship, the 2003 U.S. Open.

    On Friday, Furyk returned to Arizona to participate in the 29th annual Pepsi Wildcat Golf Fundraiser at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana, where he challenged tournament participants to “”beat the pro”” and win golf balls, in exchange for money going to the Arizona men’s golf program.

    “”It’s a big day for the golf program,”” Furyk said. “”They’re gonna raise a lot of money. One-hundred-fifty people came out and were generous in helping to raise money for the school and the golf program.””

    Notable tournament participants included UA softball head coach Mike Candrea and media relations director Richard Paige.

    The fundraiser was expected to raise from $80,000-100,000 for the team, a sum that will make up most of its budget, said men’s golf head coach Rick LaRose. The total amount raised was not released.

    “”It was really important to get Jim here,”” LaRose said. “”This is the best fundraising tournament of its kind. It’s a special day that is synonymous with Wildcat golf.””

    Furyk, who had not been on campus for years before this visit, said he enjoyed being back in Tucson.

    “”It’s been fun,”” he said. “”It’s been a while, but it’s good to get back to Tucson. I took my kid on campus, and it was fun to see how many changes there are. It is a beautiful campus.””

    Winning the national championship in his senior year was the highlight of Furyk’s time at Arizona. He still does his best to follow the team today.

    “”I keep in touch with Coach (LaRose),”” he said. “”He keeps me updated on what the kids are like and how they are doing.””

    Furyk knows how important college golf is, and that is why he is setting up a golf scholarship for the university, which will be dedicated to his late grandfather.

    “”College golf is a big stepping stone,”” he said. “”It matures you both as a person and a golfer. It got me ready to turn pro.””

    On the tour this past season, Furyk finished seventh on the money list.

    “”It was a pretty good year,”” Furyk said. “”It was a big disappointment losing the U.S. Open by one stroke, but it was a good solid year. I played very well.””

    This season was also the first year of the FedEx Cup, a multi-event tournament to end the season much like NASCAR’s Nextel Cup.

    Furyk finished 11th in the Cup standings.

    “”I represent a lot of guys on tour who thought the Cup was a huge success,”” Furyk said. “”Obviously, we have to make some adjustments and tweaks. But the positives are plenty. Our ratings went up, and it got fans more involved. It made the tour a better product this season.””

    Furyk said he hopes to come to Tucson for fundraisers more often.

    “”With my parents moving back out here, it’ll give me an opportunity to come back,”” he said. “”I’ll definitely be out here more often in the next five years than I was in the last five years.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search