The U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club will be homecoming for six-time Champions Tour winner Fred Funk.
Funk earned a spot in the event with rounds of 67-68 at a U.S. Open sectional qualifying event on Monday at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. Funk was born in Takoma Park, Md., less than a 30-minute drive from the U.S. Open venue.
He graduated from nearby University of Maryland in 1980 and worked as golf coach at his alma mater from 1982-1988.
"I didn't realize how much it meant to me until I walked off the golf course," Funk said. "The first question was, 'What does this mean to you?' I just broke down. I needed about 10 minutes to calm down before I could answer questions."
Funk, who is competing the week at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, had struggled with his game for most of the year. He only has two top-10s in nine Champions Tour events and has missed five cuts in six starts on the PGA TOUR.
Funk, who turns 55 on Tuesday, even said he was considering taking some time away from competitive golf.
"I expect to compete every week, and [this year] I haven't even been competitive," Funk said. "That's just been killing me."
Funk credited his caddie and 15-year-old, Taylor, for helping him stay positive. Funk joked that while Taylor, a 2 handicap, is learning a lot about the game by being inside the ropes, his son has learned a lot of the wrong stuff from him.
"He said, 'Dad, this is not how you're telling me how to act," Funk said. Taylor will be his father's full-time caddie until the start of his high school golf team's season in August.