Jim Furyk made a detour to Florida to sit on his back porch and hang out with his kids as he tried to figure out why decent golf was producing ordinary scores. The short break appeared to do him a world of good Thursday in the Bridgestone Invitational.
With seven birdies and a 30-foot eagle putt, Furyk had a 7-under 63 for his best score ever at Firestone and a two-shot lead over Lee Slattery of England.
The conditions could not have been more ideal with sunshine, heat and very little wind, along with carpet for fairways and smooth greens. It showed in some of the tee shots on the South Course -- 58 drives of at least 350 yards, and a 427-yarder by Branden Grace of South Africa -- and mostly in the scoring.
Luke Donald, the world's No. 1 player, and Masters champion Bubba Watson were among those at 66. Thirty players in the 78-man field at this World Golf Championship managed to break par.
Tiger Woods was not among them. He was 3 under after back-to-back birdies to start the back nine, but had to lay up with his third shot on the par-5 16th after driving into the trees and ended his round with a three-putt bogey from 25 feet for a 70. It was his second-worst start at Firestone, a course where he has won seven times. The other was a 74 in 2010, his last week without a swing coach.
"I averaged about four putts per hole, so it was a great day on the greens,'' said Woods, who lost his touch on the greens but at least kept his sarcasm.
Since missing out on a chance to win the U.S. Open, Furyk has tied for 34th in two tournaments and missed two cuts, including last week in Canada. For a guy who is 15th in the Ryder Cup standings -- even a win this week would not make him eligible for the U.S. team -- this was no time to be stuck in neutral.
So when he had another weekend off after rounds of 70-70 at the Canadian Open, he flew home for three days.