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July 12, 2013

Fred Funk


THE MODERATOR:テつ Good afternoon.テつ I'd like to welcome Fred Funk in, rounds of 67 and 70, 137, 3 under par through the first two rounds.
Very well played.テつ Just three bogeys through the first two rounds.テつ Seems like you've really been able to minimize the damage and keep it in play.
FRED FUNK:テつ Yeah, I have.テつ I've played really well.テつ Two of those three bogeys were on par 5s with wedges.テつ I'm kicking myself on those because I managed to make some good par saves on some of the other holes like 8, I don't know, 18, and a few others.
Making the bogeys on 2 yesterday and on 6 today with wedges, it was not a good thing.テつ If I'm going to look at any negative, that was the only two negatives I had.
I expect to bogey 10.テつ If I play that hole 2 over for the week, that will be good for me.テつ Anything better than that would be great.
I can't make those mistakes on those par 5s because there's some other tough holes out there.テつ The par 5s are where you need to play under par.
I'm sure the rest of the guys that are anywhere close to me or going to be ahead of me are playing those a lot better.テつ If I can clean the wedges up a little bit, that would be really good.
THE MODERATOR:テつ You're only even on the par 5s with 3 under on the par 3s.テつ Let's go through your round.
You started off on 10.テつ You said it's a tough hole with the length.テつ You start off with a bogey there.
FRED FUNK:テつ Yeah, it's a real awkward hole.テつ I really don't like it as a par 4, but it's all relative anyway.テつ I think it would be a much better hole if they played it as a par 4 and moved it to the box in front of the cart path and kind of take that right creek out of play.
Then you've got a medium short iron into a‑‑ with a decent lie into a green that will receive it.
It's just‑‑ I don't want to say an unfair hole.テつ It's just a really awkward hole.テつ I think it's poorly thought out to move up there.テつ I'm going to criticize the USGA on that one, but that's okay.テつ They can take it.テつ We're the ones that got to play it.
If you play it really conservative‑‑ I've taken it and hit two perfect drives.テつ I've been way up there.テつ I had 5 iron, 6 iron in, which is no problem, but it hadn't done me any good.テつ I think I'm going to lay up and just accept hitting a rescue into that green and hope I can get it up and down or keep it on the green somewhere.
That's the only hole here I'm really‑‑ when I was here six, eight weeks ago, and they told me it was going to be a 4 and they were going to play the back tee, I knew it was going to be a very awkward hole.
The other ones‑‑ just some of the other holes where you just get a lot of awkward stances.テつ You never have a level lie out here.テつ That creates some adjustments that you got‑‑ and some of them are really severe that you got to figure out.テつ But that's the nature of when you have a really hilly golf course like this.テつ Overall, I like it a lot.
The only other factor I would say is that the greens are a lot softer because they've got to keep the water on them because of the heat, and they're probably going to get really dry again this afternoon unless they really start soaking them.テつ The problem with that, they get all footprinted up.テつ They were pretty soft this morning, and a lot of footprints just from the first groups on the front nine was very noticeable.
So that's going to be an issue as we play out the rest of the week, but that's just the nature of the business when you have bent greens in a hot climate, at least summer climate.テつ We'll deal with that.
But it's the speed of the greens more than anything.テつ They're slow, and you just can't comprehend in your mind‑‑ I was playing with Cookie and Hale, and we're just‑‑ we're thinking, this is a downhill putt.テつ Should be fast.テつ It's the U.S. Open.テつ Just got to touch it, and then you got to hit it.テつ The uphill putts, you've really got to hit hard.
It's just hard to get you to really try to hit it hard enough to get up there.テつ And then every now and then, you have dynamite for hands, and it will blow way by.テつ That got my attention on 6 when I knocked it off the green from the top tier, which was stupid‑‑ I'm good at that sometimes.
It's just little things out there.テつ Everybody's got to adjust.テつ The wind's going to get tough.テつ The greens are going to get dry, they're going to get footprinted up, and then the speed you got to adjust to.
The bottom line here is you've just got to stay out of the rough.テつ If you stay out of the rough, you can score.テつ If you go into the rough, you're dead.テつ That's what you got to do.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Let's open it up to questions.

Q.テつ Let's just get the ugliness out of the way.テつ When was the last time you putted off a green in competition?
FRED FUNK:テつ Oh, I know.テつ I'm sure I've done that before. テつWith these being so slow, I knew I hit it too hard when I hit it.テつ In my mind, I've been leaving even downhillers slow.テつ It was a big tier there.
Right behind the hole, probably three feet past the hole, it was just straight down.テつ So once it got there, it was going off.テつ I just wasn't careful enough.テつ I just needed to feed it down, which was what I was trying to do.テつ I just hit it too hard.

Q.テつ Do you feel like you have to have an encyclopedia of shots because, like you said, you never have a level shot, and this shot might be this way and that shot that way?テつ Do you feel like you have to refer to those things?
FRED FUNK:テつ Yeah, you just got to adjust to them.テつ We've been playing long enough that you can adjust to them, but you just got to be cognizant of how the ball's going to take off.
Like on 18 is the one that's been getting me a little bit.テつ I've been on that upslope, and the ball's a hair above your feet, but it's more a really severe uphill.テつ It tends to make the ball, for me anyway, go left a little more.テつ So I kind of guard against that, and then today I didn't guard enough, and it went in the left bunker.
I got up and down, but it just immediately kind of went left of my line by about ten yards.テつ I think it's just more of the lie that does that.
I had one yesterday on 10, after hitting a great drive, I had a little bit downhill and the ball below my feet.テつ So I'm downhill, and the ball below my feet, trying to hit uphill with a 5 iron.テつ I don't have that shot.
Actually, yesterday was a 6 iron, and I just skinnied it‑‑ no, I fatted that one.テつ I laid the sod over that one, trying to get it up in the air.テつ I tried to help it, and that's a cardinal sin.テつ You don't do that.テつ Just take what you got and hit a low one up there and run it up.
That's part of the deal, though.テつ You just got to deal with that.

Q.テつ Fred, you've spent a lot of time in Omaha in the last year, I think, and a lot of time out here on this course.テつ Do you feel like you're home at all this week?
FRED FUNK:テつ Well, yeah.テつ I have a great relationship with Mutual of Omaha, who's been a sponsor of mine for a long time, I think about eight years to ten years, something like that.テつ I don't know exactly.テつ We have that little shootout we've had with all the guys that are sponsored on the regular Tour.テつ I'm the Senior guy.テつ It's been a great relationship.
What was really neat for me, actually, when I came back, John Hildenbiddle asked me to come back about six weeks ago to do a Creighton University fund‑raiser day for the athletic department.
I had no affiliations with Creighton, obviously, but I came in and had a great day.テつ Then I met the coach of the basketball program and his two sons, and we played golf and had a great time.テつ Played with some of the Mutual of Omaha guys.
We spent three days here, my son and myself, playing‑‑ we played 90 holes in three days.テつ Now, obviously, that was in carts so it was a lot easier.テつ There was no way we were going to play 90 holes in three days walking.テつ But we zipped around, got to know the golf course.テつ It was fun.
I'm actually a big Creighton basketball fan now just because of the coach.テつ They're awesome.

Q.テつ What do you expect in course setup this weekend?テつ Do you expect it to get tougher than what we saw the first couple of days?
FRED FUNK:テつ I think, with the weather conditions, thank goodness Mother Nature is letting us‑‑ giving us a break on rain and stuff because we've had it all year long.テつ We haven't gone anywhere without Mother Nature drenching the golf course.
So now they can do it with the hand watering and kind of try to control the greens.テつ I think it's more trying to save the greens at this point, trying to keep them from dying.テつ That's why they are a little slow.テつ They just got to protect them.
We don't want to leave here and leave them without a golf course.テつ That wouldn't be a nice thing to do, where they have to spend all summer trying to heal up.テつ We'll adjust to whatever it has, but it's going to play tough.
3 under, if you asked me that before the tournament started, I thought anywhere from 4 to 9 under would win this thing.テつ And if the wind blew and the greens got really fast or firm or both, then you're going back to even par or maybe even over par.テつ With the soft green conditions, I can still see it between 4 and 9 if we can get it going a little bit.

Q.テつ Is there like a weekend gear you shift into now?
FRED FUNK:テつ Oh, no, no.テつ I try to do the same thing, just‑‑ I don't have another gear.テつ I got reverse and forward.テつ There's no extra gear or overdrive or anything.テつ I'm going to try to go forward and not reverse.テつ Just try to keep hitting fairways and try to trust my golf swing.
I'm swinging really good right now, the best I have all year.テつ For the first time, my body's allowing me to swing the way I know how to swing, and I'm having fun out there again because I was saying in the interview outside that this is the first time all year I'm really playing golf.テつ I'm able to hit shots.
Before, everything has just been slapping it around.テつ I haven't been able to swing hard enough to flight the ball the way I want to or control different shots, hit it low, hit it high, wherever.テつ Now I have the ability this week because my back's feeling a lot better, and I'm able to go after it.テつ That makes a huge difference, especially with a guy like me that doesn't have that much speed to start with.
I need to have all the cylinders working or at least 7 of the 8 working.テつ I've kind of been running on 4 or 5 all year, and it hasn't been much fun.
So it's kind of fun to go out there and play pain‑free.テつ I'm just really relaxed.テつ Kind of just whatever happens happens.テつ If I can keep that attitude, it will be fun.テつ I'm just enjoying the competition and being in the hunt again.
It's just been killing me all year not to be in the hunt.テつ I've been trying to stay patient and not get frustrated, but I've been very frustrated and not very patient.テつ I get very mad out there at times this year, and I work really hard on not doing that.テつ But I'd just get so frustrated that I couldn't swing the way I wanted to that I was losing my patience.
So finally this week, I just said, all right.テつ I knew it was starting to feel good.テつ I could see it turning the corner as I got here over the weekend, and I'm really pleased with it.テつ So I'm ready to go.テつ Just see what happens.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Fred, you've been known as one of the straightest drivers of the golf ball for a long time.テつ And once again this week, one of the leaders in fairways and one of the leaders in greens.テつ You've had a very good record here in the U.S. Senior Open.テつ You won in 2009, a couple of runner‑up finishes.
How has that accuracy enabled you to compete and play well here in the U.S. Senior Open Championship?
FRED FUNK:テつ Well, it's because of the conditions and the way USGA sets up golf courses with a very severe rough.テつ It's a premium on being in the fairway.テつ Fairways are usually a little more narrow than the average week.テつ So it penalizes those guys that are‑‑ anybody that's hitting it crooked, including myself.
It's the equalizer for me.テつ The bombers, the more wild they are, the more they hit it in the rough, and the less effect they can have on the golf course.テつ They can't shoot low from the rough.
As long as I'm hitting it good and playing well and I stay in the middle of the short stuff, I can beat anybody on a given‑‑ on a U.S. Open setup.
I really enjoy that kind of setup.テつ The harder, the better.テつ And four rounds, to me, I love that a lot more than three rounds, even though I'm a Senior.テつ It's just a way you can get some separation.テつ Three rounds seems to keep everybody all bunched up, and it's just harder to get that separation.
THE MODERATOR:テつ And I'll leave you on this one.テつ I see Stryker Orthopaedics on your hat.テつ You went to Methodist Hospital a little bit earlier.テつ You had a knee relationship four years ago.
Getting around on those hills, how has it been out there for you this week, and how has it enabled you to come out here and compete on a very hilly golf course?
FRED FUNK:テつ I haven't had any problems with the hills at all.テつ I spent four days, five days last week in the Shenandoah Valley and hiking the Appalachian trail four days in a row, hiking all the hills.テつ We went on three three‑hour hikes.テつ And this golf course is flat compared to that Skyline Drive.テつ This thing looks like a desert compared to what the Shenandoah Valley looks like so I haven't had an issue with it.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Good preparation.
FRED FUNK:テつ I didn't know it would be, but it turned out that way.テつ I have more trouble with the steps in the locker room than the hills out on the golf course.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Very good.テつ Fred Funk, 3 under, 137.テつ Good luck.

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