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January 30, 2007

Fred Funk


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Fred, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the FBR Open here in Phoenix. Nice win last week, 11 strokes.
FRED FUNK: It was a magical putting week. No question the three days of putting was by far the best I've ever had. It was just one of those on a roll. I actually went back through my round when I was on the airplane going through the three days, and I always do that and see how many good opportunities did I have and how many wasted shots did I have from stupidity or something where they're just truly wasted opportunities.
I didn't waste any anywhere, and I didn't miss but about seven opportunities all week in 54 holes. That's a very low number. I pretty much maximized out my score. It was just one of those got on a roll and kept it going I'd love to do that out here. I'd love to keep doing it and do it more often, but it was fun. I'd love to keep the pedal to the metal on the final day, and I did on the front nine, and it made it a lot easier going down the back, that's for sure.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: With your opportunities on the Champions Tour, what brings you out here this week? I mean, obviously you're not going to play out here on a regular schedule, so you're going to pick and choose. What brings you here this week?
FRED FUNK: I'm kind of wondering that myself (laughter). It's a golf course that since they've made the changes is more of a bomber's golf course, and obviously that's not one of my strengths. I've had a little bit of success here, and I just thought I'd come here and give it another shot. So we'll see what will happen.

Q. When you're playing so well like last week, it's a different kind of nerves I guess to when you're playing badly. How do you in your head think about the nerves and control those? What do you say to yourself when everything is going so well?
FRED FUNK: Well, actually not everything went that great last week. I've been struggling with my ball-striking for about a month and a half. The first two days I still really didn't hit the ball that well. I was hitting it good enough to work it around the golf course, but I wasn't hitting it that solid, especially off the tee.
So there was anxiety on that, and my putter was just ridiculous. It didn't matter whether I was 5 feet or 30 feet, it was either going in or really close. It took the heat off the long game.
And then Saturday night I found something for my long game, and I got to the range on Sunday and it was still there, warming up, and I couldn't wait to go out on Sunday, and I turned the front nine in 30 and played really well. So I was a lot more at ease obviously, especially after shooting a 30 going down the back.
So the nerves were still there, anxiety was still there. It wasn't like I was hitting on all cylinders, it was just -- I was really focused last week on trying to take each hole and its own little tournament, its own little entity and just go out there and play that hole the best I could and move on, and it worked the first two days. And then when I was hitting it a lot better on Sunday, I wanted to use the same philosophy and just keep the pedal down to the metal there and try and get some separation between me and Tom Kite and Kiyoshi, and I did.

Q. When you're trying to get say more yards off the tee when you're not hitting it so well --
FRED FUNK: I was trying to not get more yards off the tee as much as I was trying to hit it solid, and that would have taken care of itself. It was just an ongoing thing, working on -- for me, just my setup has gotten -- I've been working really hard on trying to get my posture right, and it's become where it's a conscious thing, and when it's a conscious thing it's not very good, and when you're in a tournament mode to try and be conscious about a swing thought or conscious about a setup thought. So I had to try to not be as conscious. It's hard to do.

Q. How will you decide your schedule split between the two tours? Have you pretty much got it in your head which ones --
FRED FUNK: Well, I've committed this year to the regular Tour. With that being said and experiencing -- having the good experiences I've had on the Champions Tour, it'll weigh a little different. I'm going to see where I am with my game and where I am with my schedule, where I'll pick and choose. Right now I'm still planning on playing probably six tournaments on the Champions Tour and the rest out here, but that could change, depending on how the schedule goes and how I feel and what's really happening. I'll be reevaluating as I go.
What it's -- I've had a great time on the Champions Tour. I've had a great time on this Tour, that's why I want to stay out here. But my experience out there with the guys has been fantastic. I love the camaraderie of the Champions Tour. The biggest thing I really enjoy that is different than our Tour, than the big Tour, is the -- I think the interaction with the sponsors and the interaction with the amateurs. It's a conscious thing that they do out there to try to make sure the sponsors are happy, make sure the amateurs are happy. But everybody's willingness to do it has been -- and the fun they're having while they're doing it is really seen. I really enjoy that. I enjoy being a part of that and seeing that.
We need to do more of that out here on this Tour, I think. They seem to see the big picture, and maybe it's because they've been out on the Tour for so long and they know what the Tour is all about and they know how important it is to make everybody happy and not take for granted things that are given us out on the Tour. I mean, we're catered to, and on the big Tour everybody is trying to do everything they can to be better than the other tournament and cater to the players, and the guys on the Champions Tour, you know, we see it as players on this Tour, but at the Champions Tour, it just seems to be a little higher level of consciousness to give back.
I like that. I'm really, really pleased with the way the Champions Tour handles their sponsor relations and things like that. I'm not saying it's bad with the big Tour, I just think they see the big picture a little more than like our young kids who are coming out. They don't understand the big picture yet. They're still in awe of what we're playing for and that they've made the Tour. I think they've got to say, hey, this may not last forever here; you've got to not take it for granted.

Q. You're a guy who's interacted with fans through the years. You would probably fit into that really well.
FRED FUNK: Well, I have. I enjoy doing that. But I enjoy seeing guys who I didn't think would be that way out on the Champions Tour be like that. Hale Irwin plays and then spends two hours with them after the Pro-Am at cocktail hour or dinner or whatever, and then we go to the awards dinner and the players are there, and we go to the pairings party and the players are there. It's pretty cool.
I am really pleased with what I'm seeing out on the Champions Tour. It makes me want to be a part of the Champions Tour.
With that being said, I still have unfinished business in my mind out here. I want to see how long I can stay competitive on the regular Tour. We'll see. My game will tell me when to move on.

Q. You mentioned working on your setup. Is that what you're currently really focused on?
FRED FUNK: Yeah, I'm trying to get my posture right so I can just get there -- I've got to get less conscious of what I'm doing over here and be out on the target in tournament play. So I'm trying to get this to be second nature again over the ball, so I can focus in on the shot I'm trying to hit and how I want to hit it.

Q. What kind of tip would you give readers to help with their setup?
FRED FUNK: Well, you've already -- my biggest thing with setup is that you've already learned the golf setup from every other sport you've ever played. If you played tennis waiting for a tennis ball to come at you, if you've played baseball and you're out in the outfield waiting for the ball to be hit, if you're a line backer waiting for the play to come at you, basketball you're waiting for the play to come at you, playing on the court you're trying to react to where the guy you're guarding is going, you're in a good athletic, balanced position: You're knees are flexed, you don't have too much weight on your heels, toes, right or left, everything is balanced, you're ready to move in the exact position. That's the exact position you need to get in in golf where you swing the golf club. I'm trying to get back to that balanced, athletic position, and it seems like it would be easy to do, but it's apparently not.

Q. If it softens up if we do get a little rain is that going to take that bomber factor out of the equation?
FRED FUNK: It puts it even more in the equation. I haven't seen the course yet. I'm trying to try to play nine holes today. I see that the rough is up. I didn't see what the fairways are cut like, anything like that. The one thing is the rain -- any time you have soft conditions, it lowers the scores. The course will play longer, but when the greens are holding and guys have control over where the ball is going to stop, that's when our scores go down, and the scores go up when we don't have control over where the ball is going to stop, when the fairways are running into the rough or the greens when they're hard as a rock. Yeah, the soft conditions I would think would definitely make the scores a lot lower here.
You see last year, J.B. Holmes on the tee on 18, and his caddie is telling him the lake is not even in play and it's a 300-yard carry. It's in play for me. I've got 50 yards of lake I've got to worry about (laughter).

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