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Known on the pro-golf circuit for his looping, unconventional (and highly effective) swing, Jim Furyk is a 16-time PGA Tour champion and a Tour fixture since 1994. His career has required him to be a world traveler; during the height of his career, he spent 38 weeks of the year on the road or in the air. So he’s uniquely qualified to weigh in on both the pleasures and challenges of staying healthy while en route.
Q: As a PGA Tour competitor, you’ve traveled to a new destination nearly every week. What are some of your favorite destinations to travel to when you’re not on the golf course?
My family and I have traveled several times to the British Virgin Islands, which we really like. We especially enjoy island hopping, going from Tortola to Jost Van Dyke to Virgin Gorda; one year we chartered a boat for a week and did that. Another year we rented a beach cabana on a private island, Little Thatch. That was a great way to really relax and get away from everything.
In summer we also like to spend time in the Utah mountains, just outside Park City. My kids like to go horseback riding, fishing, river tubing…they’re really active. We rarely go on a family vacation and find ourselves sitting on our rear ends.
Q: Can you describe some of the particular measures you take to protect your health while on the Tour? Not just from sport-related injury, but from the vagaries of traveling so frequently?
It’s definitely tough…the hardest part of the job is the grind of travel. Although I have it relatively easy—I get to spend a week in every town I go to. I think business people who jump from city to city and flight to flight must have it much harder. And it definitely gets easier as you do it more. I can remember my first year or so on the Tour, I would get off a plane in Europe or Asia and just feel completely off, both mentally and physically. The golf club just felt wrong in my hand.
There are lots of little tricks to feeling better and reducing jet lag—staying hydrated, eating light meals. But the best way to beat jet lag is to do something active: go to the gym, go for a run. Don’t just stay in your room and rest, even if that’s what you feel like doing. You’ll acclimate much faster if you move your body around.
Q: Have you ever been far from home and dealt with a health-related emergency or injury?
Luckily, I haven’t had any close calls like that myself. But another player I know did—he was traveling somewhere pretty off the map in Asia and wound up needing emergency appendix surgery. It was pretty harrowing, from what I understand.
Since it’s always a risk, though, I feel a lot better having a MedjetAssist membership. It’s reassuring knowing that anytime I’m more than 150 miles from home, I can get a medical transport if I need it (I live in Florida, and even if I was just in Dallas, that would apply). The price for the service is reasonable too—so much so that I got memberships for my whole family, including my parents and my wife’s parents. You can’t be too careful.
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