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August 2, 2008

Fred Funk



RAND JERRIS: It is a pleasure to welcome Fred Funk to the interview room this afternoon, with a round of 1-under par 69 today, 7- under par for the championship. Looked like you were in a lot of bunkers and drawing some difficult lies.

FRED FUNK: I was around the bunkers, and in some. I never counted how many I actually was.

That front nine I played really solid and the back nine, I just did what you can't do on this golf course, and that's not control your golf ball. I didn't control my ball very well off the tee and got into trouble about every hole on the back nine and ended up shooting 3-over, and 1-under for the day. But kind of blew a really good front nine.

I was still having a ball out there. I was having a great time on the front playing good, playing with Eduardo playing off each other and we both shoot 4-under on the front, and I just -- 11th hole, I hit a bad 6-iron into the green and into the bunker and that kind of started to snowball a little bit from there, and for whatever reason, from there I had no idea.

I said early on that this golf course rewards good play, and the opposite of that, penalizes you if you don't play well, and I didn't play well, kind of did a half and half today. So again it was real satisfying to finish with a par on the last hole. Drove it crooked and had the worst lie I've had all week in the rough. It was funny, I walked off the tee, and while I was walking down there, I said, "Mark I might be far enough into the rough that I have a decent lie." I walked up there, and I can't even see it.

I tried to chip it out, almost did not make it to the fairway by an inch. Hit an 8-iron in from there and made the putt. It kind of negated and took away some of the bad feelings I had on the back nine, if I had not parred that hole -- I knew I needed it to be in the last group and I wanted to play with Eduardo tomorrow and be in the last group, and I got that.

Now I've just got to go out there tomorrow, and I think what's going to happen -- I'm going to answer all of your questions before you ask them. I think tomorrow the key is going to be the front nine, the group of guys that goes out there and lights it up on the front. That's where you've got to get it. I think it's proven, and I haven't senior read the stroke average difference between the front and the back for the week but it's going to be pretty dramatic.

Today guys were shooting four and three and one guy shot 6-under on the front. That's really good golf, I'm not saying the front side is easy, but it's a lot easier than the back.

RAND JERRIS: Can we get you to go through your card?

FRED FUNK: 3, I hit it in the rough. I had to lay up and I laid up in the rough and it was bad. I actually hit a sand wedge down there from short of the lake to about six inches to a foot or something like that, so tapped in.

5, I hit a decent drive. I hit a 7-iron to about 20 feet left of the hole and made it.

8, I hit it just below the hole from about 20, 25 feet and made it, something like that.

9, I made a really nice up-and-down out of the bunker, about 20 feet and made a nice little right-to-lefter.

Then it started going the other way. On 11 I hit a really good drive and had a 6-iron and just hung it out to the right of the bunker, and missed the putt from about six feet.

12, I tried to hit a 5-iron, whiffed it into the stuff, missed a pretty good chip and missed that putt.

Great save on 13 from probably about 12 feet, after laying up out of the really bad lie.

Drove it again in the rough on 14. Didn't get up-and-down, bogeyed.

The one shot that hurt me, 15, I drove it in the left side and hit a great 9-iron in there to about six feet right of the hole, dead- straight putt. All I have to do is just start is it on-line and started it on the right edge and pushed it a little bit and missed it. I thought that could have been a two-shot swing. I wasn't sure if Eduardo was going to miss but I was figuring like a match-play, after 11 I could get a little payback, but then I missed and he missed. That was the only discouraging thing on the back nine for me really was that putt.

Fortunately I got up-and-down on 16 after I miss-clubbed off the tee, and I already talked about 18.

Q. Not much of a difference on the two sides?

FRED FUNK: I think it's a big difference.

Q. Scoring average isn't.

FRED FUNK: It's not that much difference? You're kidding? I guess that's why I haven't read anything. I'm really shocked, because I think 10 through 15 is the meat and potatoes of this whole golf course, it is really, really tough. I'm really shocked at that, especially with the scores that were out there today on the front nine.

You sure about that?

RAND JERRIS: It's a couple tenths of a stroke.

FRED FUNK: Golly, that's amazing. Every day?

RAND JERRIS: Cumulative.


Q. Are you going to play the back nine any differently?

FRED FUNK: I actually got away with a really bad one, which was too aggressive a play, I should have hit a 3-wood on 13 and hit driver. Should have hit 3-wood just to stay short of those bunkers.

14 I need to hit driver there, it was into the wind and I just hit that out to the right a little bit. .

15 is a really awkward tee shot for me. That, and 9, and 14 is a tough one for me, too, and 18 -- just go through the whole thing. (Laughter).

Those are the main ones but those are real uncomfortable for me on the tee. When I look out there, it's just not that comfortable. It just doesn't seem like when the fairways are running like they are right now, which is the way they should be, you have to hit the right line and the right shot to keep it in the fairway. I'm not long enough take it over some of those bunkers like Eduardo is, but it really opens up for him a little more because he can fly them first set of bunkers on a hole like 14.

15, he just takes it -- I thought he pulled it into the deep stuff, real deep stuff left of the trees maybe, and he flew that bunker forever out there. I've got to look at my book at how far that is. That was a long way. That's not even an issue for me. I just try to stay right of it.

Well, it isn't as far as I thought. It's 308 carry over that bunker. That's still pretty good, for an old guy.

Q. In the middle of your round, the wind picked up a little bit, did it ever come back?

FRED FUNK: Yeah, it did but I don't think it was as much of a factor for the guys that played in the afternoon yesterday. It still felt playable out there and I knew when I was out there in the afternoon yesterday, as crusty as the greens were, if it was like that today, with that wind blowing, it would have been another -- a bigger challenge than it was. But it still rewarded good shots like it did the first day a little more and the pins were just not as crazy. I think the USGA kind of listened to some guys and they did a good job with the setup.

Q. Can you describe what goes through your head when you step up on a tee box and you're uncomfortable like you said? What do you think, what do you tell yourself?

FRED FUNK: A whole lot of things. I go back -- yeah, it looks great, no, it doesn't -- yeah, it does, we have this internal battle going back and forth.

You have to stay positive and you have to pick a line and just whatever club that is and whatever line that is with the club and just commit to it. That's what you try to do. So it's basically trusting your golf swing.

Q. Did you get treatment on your neck last night and were there any issues with it today?

FRED FUNK: Yeah, it's still bothering me a lot. I apparently strained it pretty bad, I don't know now, but it's right up in here on this trapezius or whatever they call that thing back there. It's pretty locked up. I spent about four or five hours getting treatment on it between last night and this morning and icing it last night and waking up this morning hoping I could move my neck a little bit.

It was pretty bad when I woke up but actually got better as I went on the back nine. I wish could I blame it on my neck on the back nine, but it's sore, but I could move. I had range of motion, so it wasn't that big of a deal. Hopefully it will be at least that good tomorrow.

Q. Could you talk briefly about clubbing yourself; do you use a ten percent formula here?

FRED FUNK: Yeah, that's kind of where we start. Start with the ten percent, and then we have to take any elevation change, whether it's uphill or downhill and then factor in the wind and so it's a lot of factors. Playing altitude in mountain-type golf is pretty tough.

You have to do a lot of calculations. It gets a little uncomfortable at times but I've got a caddie that's really good and makes me really comfortable out there. He does all of the numbers for me and we sit there and discuss. It's usually a hard something or an easy something, no matter whether you're at sea level or at altitude, you have to decide, very seldom, it's just that club, whether it's a 7-iron or 8-iron, depending on how you want to hit it.

So that's kind of the way I always think, and I do -- I don't know whether I said this yesterday to the media or not, but I think this is the hardest set of greens I've ever played. And that's throwing Augusta in and Oakmont and Winged Foot, Pinehurst; I've just never seen greens with this much movement in them, meaning they don't have any flat spots on them like an Augusta have. You have all that, and then you have to factor in that mountain. That's what's crazy, it just gives you that illusion that you have a putt that looks like it's uphill and it's really downhill or the other way around, and it just keeps you guessing a little bit. That's why guys were having so much trouble with it and that's what makes this golf course so great and why you've got to be really playing good to get your irons in a decent position so you're not putting these really, really tough putts. You're going to have them during the course of the day, but you just don't want them all day.

RAND JERRIS: Fred, thanks very much.

End of FastScripts

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