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November 6, 2003

Fred Funk


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Fred Funk to the interview room. Thanks for coming in, after a 3-under 68 today. You're appearing in your second TOUR Championship, you're back to back.

FRED FUNK: Now, I can answer that. I didn't know how many I have been in.

TODD BUDNICK: You started off with a birdie and bogey on the front and then kind of the same thing as Charles, the three birdies in your last five holes. Talk about today.

FRED FUNK: Well, I just started off really struggling with the driver. I think I missed five of the first ten holes on nine, five of the first nine driving holes. Chipped out on all but one of them. Made pars on all but one of them. Actually I made a birdie on one of them that I didn't have to chip out on. I made a long putt. You just can't do that here. That's not my game. I've got to be accurate. And I haven't been that accurate the last month and a half or two. I've been struggling with missing it right and left. And so I felt really good actually that I made these great par putts on 10 and 11 and I got up-and-down out of the bunker on 12.

My caddy told me I was standing too far away from it. So I moved in closer to it on 12 and 13 tee and drove it great the rest of the way in. I just drove it straight down the middle. Hitting it real solid. That made it a lot easier to play the golf course, obviously, from the fairway. But I putted extremely well today. When I wasn't hitting it well, my putter saved me and I made a lot of great par saves. And then coming in I made a real big bomb on 18 from the front of the green. I hit a good drive and a fat iron in there. I was trying to hit it real easy, a 7-iron in there. Just fatted it. Short of the green. And made it from the front of the green. So that was about 45 feet.

Pleased overall. It was one of those days when I could have been two or three over. Instead I was 3 under. So that felt good to do. Obviously when you play -- shoot a better score than you think you should have, that a lot of times it's the other way around. But one bad thing I did, I drove it, I did drive it perfect on the three par-5s and was easily reachable. I hit it over the green on two of them with a rescue club and didn't get up-and-down. And then on the other one I hit a bad 3-wood into 13. Didn't get that up-and-down either. Those are the holes where guys are going to make -- the way the wind was blowing they were pretty short par-5s today.

Q. Can you give us some background on your wife being from Houston and she's going around with you now.

FRED FUNK: Yeah. I met her in '92 for about five minutes. It happened to be the year I won. But I only saw her for maybe 10 minutes total the whole week. So just kind of saw her. Didn't see her again until the '93 Houston Open. I asked her out there. The rest is history. That's the easy answer to that one. Two kids later.

Q. Did you have expectations for this week? Did you come in hitting the ball great or not hitting it great or what was your thought?

FRED FUNK: No, really I've had pretty low confidence. Because the strength of my game is driving and I just haven't been driving the ball well. I haven't quite figured it out. Usually that's the last part of my game that I worry about. If that part of my game is struggling, I'm in trouble. That part of my game has been a detriment to me instead of an attribute here recently. When I was averaging almost 81 percent two months ago and now I'm two-tenths ahead of Glen and I don't want to lose that thing with Glen going into this week. So I figured I can only miss maybe 13 or 14 all week and I missed five of the first nine. I put myself pretty far behind the eight ball.

So I'm very conscious of the fact of hitting it in the fairway and the fact that I haven't been. And that alone makes it a little more difficult. I'm not up there just free-wheeling it. But it really helped me today, that little adjustment. Hopefully that will be the key for the rest of the week. And that's what I've been searching for. Everybody needs a swing key. I've had different swing keys trying to get out of it. One will work a little bit and then it will go away. And it doesn't seem to last. So I found out it's more my setup. I've been reaching much and my balance has been off. So everything made sense that I was too far away and my caddy finally said just move in on it a little bit.

Q. Is there anything else that goes with leading? Is it just a matter of pride leading the fairways hit?

FRED FUNK: Yeah, pride.

Q. Anything else? Anything in your contract or anything?

FRED FUNK: No, I'm one of the shortest hitters on TOUR so I've got to be at least straight out here. I'm averaging like 274 or 275. So something like that. And there's only nine guys behind me or something, of all the guys they keep track of, which amazes me. The distance has just gone so far out here. I do take pride in my driving accuracy. I really want that one. I won it quite a few times. I've been top 5 almost every year. Like Tiger says, second sucks. I don't want that.

Q. You don't get a bonus from TaylorMade or anything?

FRED FUNK: No, no. That's the thing. I don't get anything like that. I keep waiting for BMW to say like the "ultimate driving machine" or something. Give me a car. Something. But nothing's happened.

Q. You need a better agent.

FRED FUNK: What's that?

Q. You need better agent.

FRED FUNK: Yeah. We have contacted them. They don't want it.

Q. Any way to predict how low the scores could be if the winds continue to be pretty light?

FRED FUNK: Well, the course is in great shape. I think it would be very similar to what it was whatever it ends up today, just kind of keep going from there, because the greens are perfect. I've never seen greens so good. The best. Champion-7 I heard it. Some sort of hybrid. It's just phenomenal. That last putt I had 45 feet away, I looked up, it still had 20 some feet to go and I knew I made it. It was just going just perfect. Of course I should have -- you don't want to think that and then it misses. You go, what the hell was that? But they are the kind of greens that if you get it on line, and you see the line that you intended it, it's going to go in. They're pretty special. It's also one of those golf courses, it's kind of -- you can shoot a low number, you shouldn't say this, but you should only shoot so high. It kind of keeps everybody kind of close. Because the greens are so big. And you can keep a bad day -- hopefully you can keep a bad day, not that it will do you any good, but around 75, 76. And you can maybe rebound with a 65, 66 on one of the other days. But I don't think that made any sense, but if you're off you can get it.

I could easily -- you can put a guy 18 times on a green and in the wrong spot and he's going to shoot 90, as big as these greens are. And number 7 today, you're out there with a pin sheet and you look and it's 60 yards and that's like, 60 yards doesn't compute. 60 yards deep. I had to lay up. And I was 90 yards or whatever it was, 137 minus 60, what is that? 77? Yeah. 77 yards from the front of the green. And my caddy says, and it looks like I can just go and throw it on the green. And he says, oh, 137 yards. And I just, well, it can't be 137 yards. It looks like it's right there. But it was. It's just hard. That's when you've got to trust your yardages because your depth perception gets all fouled up with the size of these greens.

Q. I was just going to say, are they the biggest greens you play?

FRED FUNK: I think easily they're the biggest greens we play. I can't imagine any greens bigger than these anywhere.

Q. Western Open? They're twice the size of Oakhill's average. 10,000.

FRED FUNK: The Western's are big, but they're not this big. I don't think. Not the whole setup. 18 of them. To me they're huge. The biggest one is 7. That's 60 some yards deep. Something like that.

Q. Several clubs different from front to back.

FRED FUNK: Well, it is. That particular hole, I remember when I was here in '99, I had a 9-iron from the same spot in the fairway, and the same wind conditions. I hit 9-iron to the front pin. I hit a 3-iron to the back pin. It's like I just hit a 9-iron yesterday, now it's a 3-iron. This is ridiculous. And that's what makes it kind of fun. When they put the pins in the corners of the greens it's very difficult to get to. Your green isn't really that big. It starts right out on one. The pin's in that front right corner and there's really not that much room over there in that right corner.

And all the greens seem to have a little fall off, the front, the sides or the backs. They seem to all fall a little bit. The pin they had on 13, the par-5, it's in that back right corner and it's in a terrible spot. It's slopes away and that's where everybody's going to be putting towards the creek. In the back of that green. And J.L., He hit a beautiful second shot in there about 30 feet left of the hole and putted it off of the green. Didn't hit it that hard. Barely got by the hole and just kept on going. Sometimes I don't understand our setup guys.

Q. Did you play as well this year as you did last year?

FRED FUNK: No. Not as well overall. I played better early this year than I did last year. But I played really good from the week before -- well, BC, I guess from middle of July on I played really good last year. The best I ever played in my career. I had the four seconds and the top-10s and had the great PGA and then the WGC event I played really well. Fourth at the PGA and second at Sahalee. So I played really good in some really strong fields.

Q. What was the difference last year versus this year?

FRED FUNK: Well, I was driving the ball good at the end of last year, but I was putting phenomenal. Obviously I was just finishing it off. I was scoring really well. It didn't seem to matter how I hit it that much, I was real patient, I was having fun on the golf course. That was the big thing that changed. I went in with the intent of having fun and the chicken and the egg thing: Does good playing allow you to have fun or do you have fun and that allows you to have good play? In the case last year it was having fun and that created the good play.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through the card, Fred. Birdie on 6.

FRED FUNK: What did I do on 6? I drove it like an inch into the high stuff out of the first cut. Had a flier lie to the -- I hit a 9-iron to pin high just on the green. So I made about a 30-footer on that hole.

I bogeyed the next. I had to chip out.

14, I hit a 9-iron to about 8 feet, 10 feet.

The next hole I hit a 9-iron again to at least 25 feet there.

Then 18 was a 45-footer from the front.

TODD BUDNICK: You had a chip out on 7. The bogey was what?

FRED FUNK: I hit a chip out and then the pin was -- that's the 60-yard deep thing and I didn't believe what I was looking at. I left a pitching wedge 50 feet short. I said I just can't get it back there.

TODD BUDNICK: Okay. Thanks, Fred.

FRED FUNK: Thanks.

End of FastScripts.

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