NAPA, Calif. — The star of the U.S. Ryder Cup scouting trip? It was a blast from the past.
Jim Furyk dug deep into his closet and resurrected the infamous 1999 Sunday singles shirt that the American side wore at The Country Club in its dramatic come-from-behind victory that became known at the Battle at Brookline.
“It’s quite vintage. I think it’s coming back now and style,” Johnson said on Tuesday during an interview with SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. “And Jim can pull it off. He is kind of a fashion forward guy as it is, so, it’s awesome.”
Furyk, who was U.S. team captain in 2018, the last time the American side lost on foreign soil, is serving as a vice captain for Johnson later this month in Rome at Marco Simone. The burgundy shirts, created under the direction of U.S. captain Ben Crenshaw, were dotted with portraits of victorious U.S. teams from the past six decades. It’s a shirt that has to be included in any list of the ugliest uniforms in sports. Asked in 2004 by ESPN what he did with his shirt, Tiger Woods said, “I threw it in the fireplace over Christmas and burned it. It was sooo ugly. It provided more warmth for the house.”
Furyk saved his and once told Sky Sports that it’s “his party shirt.” Packing for the trip to Rome, he happened to come across it, tossed it into his suitcase and wore it to be funny.
“He texted me he’s like, ‘What do you think?’ I’m like, ‘Buddy, if there’s ever a place and time to wear that thing, it’s now; it’s so good.’… As an American golfer, as the guy that watched every second of that championship, you remember those shirts. You remember that team, and what happened so, it’s so much fun. I love seeing it.”
“I have worn it three times since 1999,” Furyk told Golfweek in a text. “Once at Halloween, one at New Year’s Eve to be funny and last weekend.”
Stewart Cink, another of Johnson’s vice captains, said Furyk was taken by surprise the night he wore the shirt to dinner when the team left the restaurant and walked about three city blocks back to the team hotel.
“It felt like Times Square, shoulder to shoulder with people in the middle of the city, wearing that shirt and having a lot of people say, ‘Hey, look at that Ryder Cup shirt.’ It was hilarious,” Cink said. “And I don’t know if he expected that.”
“That was the best part,” Johnson said.