July 31, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to welcome Fred Funk to the
interview room, Fred with a round of 5-under par 65 this afternoon,
and 4-under through four holes, pretty good start.
FRED FUNK: Yeah, that's a dream start obviously. In fact, I wouldn't even dream that big, so I was obviously really pleased with that.
The problem with that is you don't want to get ahead of yourself and
think that you're going to have this great round. There's a lot
of golf left, especially the back nine here, and then the wind kicked
up a little bit, and you know, I had to stay focused and just try not
to think of results and just go out there and go through the process
and try to hit good shot after good shot and go to the next hole.
think overall, I did a really good job of that. Really,
obviously, the bottom line, I'm real pleased. It actually could
have been -- I hate to say it, it could have been a lot lower. I
think I could have shot a 61 or 62 out there today. I had enough
opportunities to do that. And it's a little disappointing
finishing with a bogey on 18, but you just get these little -- use my
name here, "funky" lies in the first cut or in the rough and
I was in the first cut and it was sitting right down. I was
playing not to go over the green and put it on the green and 3-putted
But overall it was obviously a really good day.
RAND JERRIS: Can we ask you to go through the birdies and eagle?
FRED FUNK: Yeah, 2, I hit in there about six inches with a sand wedge.
Then 3, I hit a 3-wood to about 25, 35 feet and made it for eagle.
Then I hit 8-iron on 4, probably 30 feet left of the hole, at least
and made that. So that was my great start.
And then actually drove it bad on the next two holes, or the next hole
and then the sixth hole, on the edge of the bunkers. I was in
the bunkers but I had to stand where it was way below my feet and I
had two of those lies and I had to stand out of the bunker and my ball
is in the bunker. I hit good shots, I actually had a birdie putt
on one of them.
Then the other birdie, 16, I hit a 9-iron to about six inches.
Then 17, I hit 8-iron out of the first cut to 12 feet left of the hole
and made that.
RAND JERRIS: Do you know the yardage on the 3-wood on 3?
FRED FUNK: 3-wood on three was 270 to the front, flew it on the
front and rolled back pin-high.
Q. Obviously you had a great score. Do you feel like the
course was there for the taking today, and do you anticipate that
tomorrow, not your playing, but the course, will be a different story?
FRED FUNK: No, I think the golf course played the way they wanted it to play. I didn't think it was really there for the taking. The weather obviously was outstanding today. Middle of the back nine, the wind started picking up for us, and it got a little trickier.
But no, the pins were fair, if that's what you mean. But still,
if you get on the wrong side or if you -- if you're not hitting
fairways, you're in a lot of trouble out there, even in the first cut,
because you can't really control your ball. It looks like it's
going to come out and you can control it, and then it just doesn't
come out. It's almost like a kikuyu grass that they have out on
the West Coast. It looks pretty good, but the club just kind of
bounces or stops right off of it.
Pretty tough, so I don't think it was for the taking. I think
the USGA has done a really good job all week. They have been
real open-minded about pin positions, the speed of the greens.
Their philosophy they were going to carry for the week, to be fair,
but be a good test; and the golf course is, it's a great test of golf.
don't know what the overall scores were. I don't know if they
are considerably low or not. Are they? Because I haven't
seen -- I've only seen the leaderboard, but I haven't seen the average
Q. Not especially.
FRED FUNK: I don't know what the difference was in the morning scores and the afternoon scores, either, so it will be interesting to see, too.
The greens got a little crusty in the afternoon as far as they weren't
rolling real, real smooth late. They were kind of bouncing
around. A little more -- not really crusty, but you could see
where the footprints were on some of the greens, and that makes it a
little tougher to make putts obviously, especially the short ones.
If you're on the wrong side of the hole, you're totally at the mercy
of the speed of the green and you can't really hit it that hard, and
that makes it a little more difficult.
thought the golf course was very fair and the USGA did a great job.
Q. For those of us who haven't climbed Seven Falls, can you
describe it to us, and what were you thinking?
FRED FUNK: I took the family. It was my wife's birthday two nights ago, and we had dinner with everybody. And it was almost dark, and I heard that they light up the falls. And I've been there a long time ago, and I remember it was really pretty. There were so many people, we had to park down in the middle of the parking lot and that's a climb just to get to where the climb starts and where the stairs are. And the first set of steps, we saw it's 188 steps to the top, and you get halfway up, and it says you're halfway, keep on going.
You get up there, you have a great view of the falls, but then you see
the other set of steps that go along the side of the falls. So
we took the elevator down and went over to those, and those are I
think 224 steps. So we started climbing up there.
It's actually pretty scary coming back down because that top set of
steps is almost straight down. If you misplace a step, you're
not going to feel too good, or probably die if you go down
there. (Laughter) I heard actually somebody did die this year.
But yeah, considering I just had knee surgery a couple months ago and
I've been fighting that, and I put my knee to the ultimate test that
night, I was real sore yesterday and a little sore today. So
I've been waiting for that to dissipate a little bit.
But today, I drove the ball, other than a couple of drives, as good as
I've driven it all week, so really pleased and surprised that that
happened, considering my legs, I can't even bend down to line up a
putt because my thighs hurt so much. It's not even my
knee. Now it's not my knee; just my thighs are burning up.
Q. A lot of times in the first round of a major, you get a lot
of surprising names. It looks like in this one, there's a lot of
names such as yourself with big-time credentials. Is there
something about the golf course you think that separates the men from
the boys a little bit?
FRED FUNK: Well, I think this is the kind of golf course if you're playing really well, it rewards you; and if you're not, it's going to get you, because again, I'm going to go back to keeping the ball in the short grass, which is going to be your first priority obviously.
And then you've got to control your irons. You've got to figure
out this altitude and the up and the down, and then you've got to
figure out the greens. So there's really not any relaxing shots
out there, I don't think. It's very tough.
It's kind of like an Augusta, where you've got to position your tee
shot and then you've got to really work hard to control your irons,
and those are the guys who are going to get rewarded, because you
can't get away with it all through the course of a round or definitely
four rounds; it's going to catch up with you.
So I think the guys that are playing their best this week are really
going to be the guys that show up on the top of the leaderboard.
There are not going to be too many guys that are going to fake
it around here and scramble their butt off because it's too hard to
make the 5- and 6-footers.
Q. What kind of factor will the heat be as the week goes on?
FRED FUNK: The heat, to me, it's not hot at all. Compared to Florida and the East Coast where it's 90 percent humidity and 95 or 100 degrees, it feels great to me. It's warm in the morning and it gets pretty toasty; the sun is pretty intense, but you don't sweat like you do over in the East Coast. I love this climate. This is fantastic. Just the thin air is more of a factor.
Q. How much did you practice when you got in last Thursday, you
FRED FUNK: I got in Thursday night. We went white water rafting at Echo Canyon on Friday with the family and Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I played 18 a day just to get a feel for the course.
Usually I don't practice near that hard on a golf course because you
get worn out, and usually I'll get in on a Monday and by Wednesday,
I'll do a nine-hole day. But I didn't think this golf course was
-- you couldn't play it enough. You need to learn it; each day I
learned a little more, a little more and got a little more comfortable
loved it the first day I saw it, and my caddie loved it. He came
in early and did the yardage book that everybody is using. He
told me how good he thought it was, and then it really is. I
think it's a great venue to have this championship on.
RAND JERRIS: Thanks very much.
FRED FUNK: Thanks. Hope to see you late Sunday.
End of FastScripts