GWAA’s Bartlett Award honors work of Jim and Tabitha Furyk


Jim Furyk’s one-of-a-kind golf swing may take a circuitous route to a golf ball — with substantial success, mind you. But when it comes to helping youths and addressing meaningful community needs near home, Furyk and his wife, Tabitha, always have taken a more direct route.

Furyk, 53, is this year’s recipient of the Golf Writers Association of America’s Charlie Bartlett Award, given to a playing professional for “unselfish contributions for the betterment of society.” It was Furyk’s name voted upon as the “playing professional,” but his foundation is very much a team effort. He will accept the award alongside Tabitha, who oversees the day-to-day operations at the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, at the 50th ISPS Handa GWAA Annual Dinner on April 10, on the eve of the 88th Masters in Augusta, Georgia.

“Our mission statement is to help children and families in need in Northeast Florida,” said Furyk, who counts the 2003 U.S. Open among his 17 PGA Tour victories. Furyk is a past member of U.S. Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, a past U.S. Ryder Cup captain, and this year’s U.S. Presidents Cup captain set to lead the U.S. team into Royal Montreal this autumn.

“Tabitha always mentions that we are very ‘project specific,’” Furyk said. “We just have so many wonderful organizations in Northeast Florida. We’re partnering with them, trying to combine a few, trying to combine our abilities and resources to help those other foundations and charities prosper and do better.”

The foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser is a golf tournament near home at Timuquana Country Club that brings together PGA Tour Champions pros with athletes and celebrities. The tournament began 13 years ago, and in 2021, Furyk & Friends became an official stop on the PGA Tour Champions schedule. In the last three years alone, the event has raised more than $3.5 million for area charities.

The Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation has a significant outreach around two children’s hospitals in Jacksonville; an outreach around food insecurities; and a military outreach, as well. Among its many activities, the foundation operates beneath the Birdies for the Brave umbrella to sponsor Operation Shower, a group baby shower for military mothers-to-be.

The foundation also sponsors Hope for the Holidays, a holiday meal drive. Between Thanksgiving and early December last year, volunteers joined the Furyks to put together more than 6,000 holiday bags that were delivered to families in need.

“What it does is it brings our community together,” Furyk said. “We set up an assembly line, and in the evening, parents are asked to bring their kids out, and you get the whole community together, packing bags. That’s the awareness of our community and some of the issues that we are having.”

The issue of food insecurity, for instance, is one that the foundation has tried to shine a light upon.

“A lot of it is just awareness,” said Furyk, who was the 2014 recipient of the GWAA’s ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for his longstanding cooperation with members of the press. “Looking at just our hometown in Jacksonville, and looking at the number of schools, we targeted a lot of schools where the kids are on a free or reduced meal plan. It’s amazing how many schools there are where 90% of the students are on that statewide plan.

“Jacksonville is a big military town, and some of them [schools in high need] are around our military bases, which is disheartening. A lot of us live in a bubble, and don’t really get a chance to see our community and what’s going on in it. It doesn’t matter where you live, you don’t have to go very far and there are folks in those same situations that we can reach out and help. There are a lot of folks, a lot of kids, with food insecurities.”

Furyk started his foundation when he was 40, and by then he had seen, and participated in, many charitable events that his friends on tour were running. He and Tabitha had a good idea of what they wanted to establish and how they could help. For Tabitha, who majored in education at Ohio State and was headed for a career as a teacher when she met Jim one year at the Memorial, running the foundation and helping children is a natural fit.

“She works so hard at the foundation,” Jim said. “This sort of became her outlet. She’s an inspiration for me.”

Davis Love III, winner of the Bartlett Award in 2019, says the high regard that his peers and younger players hold for Jim Furyk is part of the reason he has been asked to captain the U.S. side in both the Ryder and President Cups.

“He is one of the guys who players respect, that does all the right things,” Love said. “Whether you ask him to be on the board, or be an assistant captain, or help with a kid, or do the interviews, or be kind to volunteers …  he is a guy who always looked ahead towards Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson and looked to pass it on to the next generation.

“He’s a hard worker. Nobody really grinds it out as much as Jim.”

Past winners of the Charlie Bartlett Award, named for the former Chicago Tribune writer and first secretary of the GWAA, include Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Patty Berg, Gene Sarazen, Betsy King, Payne Stewart, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Lorena Ochoa.

Others being honored on April 10 by the GWAA: Jon Rahm, Lilia Vu and Steve Stricker, the respective male, female and senior players of the year for 2023; Judy Rankin, an LPGA Hall of Famer who went into television and will receive the PGA of America’s Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award; and longtime Golf Digest photographer Dom Furore, winner of the PGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism. The GWAA will also present its Ben Hogan, William D. Richardson and Jim Murray awards that evening.