This week, 56-year-old Fred Funk makes his Web.com Tour debut at his hometown event, the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open presented by Planters. Not only is he seeking his second win at TPC Sawgrass – he won the 2005 PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course; this week’s event is on Dye’s Valley Course – he’s also seeking to join a small group of players who have won events on all three Tours.
Funk has eight wins on the PGA TOUR and also eight wins on the Champions Tour, including last week’s Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. If he wins this week, he’ll become the seventh member of the Triple Tour Club.
TRIPLE TOUR WINNERS
Here is the list of players who have won events on the PGA TOUR, the Web.com Tour and the Champions Tour. Kirk Triplett is the latest member of the group, having won the Champions Tour’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach earlier this year.
|Kirk Triplett||3||1||1||2012 on the Champions Tour|
|Olin Browne||3||4||1||2011 on the Champions Tour|
|Ron Streck||2||1||1||2005 on the Champions Tour|
|Keith Fergus||3||2||3||2009 on the Champions Tour|
|Tom Lehman||5||4||6||2012 on the Champions Tour|
|Gary Hallberg||3||1||1||2010 on the Champions Tour|
Have a question for Fred Funk? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats with Funk, winner of the 2005 THE PLAYERS Championship. Funk went on to win eight times on the PGA TOUR and seven more on the Champions Tour.
If you want to ask Funk a question, now is your opportunity. Just fill out the form below.
Also, we are now taking video submissions of questions. If you would like to send a video of you asking your question, please email the video to email@example.com. Please keep video to 20 seconds or less, shoot landscape style, and include your name and where you’re from in the text of your email.
Direct Connect video is posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM, so please check back then for the Funk interview.
As excited as I am regarding Rickie Fowler’s win at the Wells Fargo Championship, I am even more ecstatic about Fred Funk winning for the first time in two years on the Champions Tour at the Insperity Championship. Now of course I am a bit biased, being that Fred has been a student of mine for the last year. However, understanding everything that Fred has went through to get back into the winner’s circle, it truly is an amazing story.
So to you, Rickie, I apologize for this week’s blog but look forward to writing about many more wins to come – perhaps at this year’s PLAYERS Championship.
Like so many here in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., we all watched in anticipation as Funk birdied four of the last five to win by one over Tom Lehman. Over the last year, Fred has worked really hard to get his game back to the highest level. One of the keys to his game was to create an environment with all shots where he could find the bottom of the swing more instinctively.
With putting and his short game, the importance lied in the address position where with the full swing it came into understanding his body motion.
Putting – Many times over the years I have discussed the relevance of the right forearm at address. What’s important is keeping the right forearm is on the same plane angle as the putter shaft. When this occurs, the putterhead has a much better chance to move on a natural arc with the bottom occurring at impact.
Short game – One of the keys to the bottom of the arc in short game is to get the sternum over the golf ball. Like many players, Fred has a tendency to get the sternum behind the ball, which can lead to some inconsistency. With the sternum more over the ball, the clubhead bottoms out consistently past the ball, leading to more instincts around the green.
Full swing – One of the keys for Fred is to keep his head centered during the swing. One of the most common errors for better players is their head moves too much off the ball (righthanded golfer – to the right). Therefore, the key is to feel the lead shoulder move on a steeper angle and/or the feeling as if the spine leans a bit towards the target. This keeps the head more centered and allows once again a more repeatable divot through impact.
This full-swing thought is something you are seeing a lot in today’s game. Much of this comes from the study of biomechanics in the golf swing. Leaders in biomechanics in our industry include Dr. Phil Cheetham, Dr. Rob Neal, Andy Plummer, Mike Bennett and others that have done a great job in enhancing how the pivot is taught. Although the pivot is not everything, it has great value when controlling the bottom of the swing arc.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here .
BETHESDA, Md. -- Four players competing in the 111th U.S. Open are celebrating birthdays this week.
Fred Funk turned 55 on Tuesday and is the oldest player in the field while Hiroyuki Fujita and Phil Mickelson turn 42 and 41, respectively, on Thursday. Anthony Kim is the final birthday boy – celebrating his 26th on Sunday, which also happens to be Father's Day.
A win on Sunday at Congressional would make this a memorable week for anyone, of course, but especially the birthday boys.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. – Tuesday was a big day in the parallel worlds of entertainment and golf.
At 7 p.m., the first “Golf Boys” video was released – featuring Ben Crane, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson dancing and rapping. You can click here to watch the sure-not-to-be Grammy-nominated performance.
An hour later, David Feherty – one of golf’s premier broadcasters and without question its pre-eminent comic – debuted several elements of his new Golf Channel show at a Washington, D.C., theater.
The show, which is aptly titled “Feherty,” debuts at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21. It will feature conversations with players like Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Tom Watson, Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle and former NBA great Charles Barkley.
Fred Funk, who turned 55 Tuesday, and Rickie Fowler, the 22-year-old phenom, took time from their U.S. Open preparation to appear with Feherty. In the “Caddy Knows Best” segment, Funk’s wife Sharon and son Taylor, who is toting his bag this week, easily got the upper hand.
Judging from Tuesday’s performance, you can expect “Feherty” to be, well, Feherty -- at times irreverent, strikingly funny and surprisingly touching.
The Belfast native, who became a U.S. citizen several years ago, is a passionate supporter of the American military. Those of us in the audience expected to be entertained, but likely didn’t think we’d be laughing through tears during the last half of the hour as Feherty interviewed two wounded veterans.
“Humor is the last defense of the human soul,” he said, explaining his bond with soldiers and sailors who have such searing sacrifices.
Toward the end of the program, Division Commander Sargent Major James Champagne of the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army and Sargent Major David Santos of the First Troops Foundation took the stage. They presented Feherty with a bronze statue of an angel soldier watching over another in combat.
This time, Feherty was the one shedding tears.
Fred Funk and Jeff Klauk withdrew from the Transitions Championship on Wednesday. Funk has a problem with some cartilage in his chest while Klauk tweeted he isn’t feeling well.
@JEFFKLAUKpga Just WD from the tournament. Feeling terrible and need to head home. Innisbrook Is one of my favorite courses on tour as well
Funk was replaced by former Florida standout Billy Horschel while Richard S. Johnson replaced Klauk.
Ask Fred Funk to describe the 66 he shot on Saturday and he has a simple answer. “A good day with the putter,” the 53-year-old said with a shrug. “Just a good day with the putter.”
It was, indeed. Funk needed just 24 putts, his low total of the week, as he made six birdies, one eagle and two bogeys to move to 8 under for the tournament. The key, he said, was changing his grip on Friday.
“I hit the ball pretty good the last couple of weeks and I saw signs of it coming around but my putter was just horrible,” Funk explained. “The first round I putted poorly. I had a lot of opportunities and turned them into par.
“So I decided to go with the claw, or the pencil, of whatever you want to call it.”
His putter responded well in the second round, although Funk didn’t make as many birdies as he did on Saturday. Other than a 5-footer that he missed at the 14 th hole in the third round, the 53-year-old veteran was extremely pleased – particularly with that clutch 23-footer at the 18 th hole that salvaged par.
“I made a ton of putts, and making that last one after such a bad second shot makes up for a couple,” Funk said.
Funk, who won THE PLAYERS in 2005 and lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., really got his round going when he holed a “delicate” chip for birdie at the sixth hole. He went on to birdie four of his next five holes, too, as he made the turn.
“(I had a) perfect lie just didn’t have any green to work with,” Funk described the cup. “With kind of shot I was going to hit, flopping it up there, I probably had a foot to land it in and get it close. It came out perfect and I got on a little roll there.”
Not only was Funk using a new putting grip, he was playing with his third driver in three days. This one, the newest TaylorMade Burner driver, has a lower trajectory and tends to run further.
“That’s the one I like,” Funk said. “I got a lot more distance today because I had the run out on it. Trajectory-wise I was zipping it out there pretty good.”
The Champions Tour star, who had his right knee replaced in November, said he’s probably 75 percent right now. “But it was killing me the last 4-5 holes,” admitted Funk. “It’s getting better all the time, but it’s still got a ways to go.
“It’s just become a part of my every day deal.”
Funk said he is hoping that the greens on the Stadium Course will get “dry and cooked” as the day wears on. He couldn’t have asked for better scoring conditions, though, and the 66 he shot was one stroke off his career-best here.
“That’s one advantage of playing in the morning with the humidity that we’ve had and the softness of the greens, you get perfect scoring conditions,” Funk said. “I couldn’t complain about one spike mark.”
To replay Funk's round on Shot Tracker, click here. -- Helen Ross
FRED FUNK'S STATISTICS FROM ROUND 3
|Driving distance||Fairways hit||Greens in reg.||Putts needed||Sand saves|
|268.7 yards||10 of 14||11 of 18||24||0 of 1|
Fred Funk made par on his final two holes for a 6-under 66 that puts at 8 under for the tournament. That's his lowest round at THE PLAYERS Championship since he opened with a 65 in 2005 en route to winning the title that year, and it's just the 10th time in 91 career rounds in this event that he's broken 70.
Funk is still four shots off leader Lee Westwood's 12 under, so he may need a similar number on Sunday to win his second PLAYERS. But he has not broken 70 in any of his 15 final rounds at TPC Sawgrass.
Fred Funk has just made consecutive bogeys when he missed the greens at the par-4 14th and 15th and couldn’t convert 5 and 18-footers for par. He’s still 6 under for the tournament, though, and 4 under for the day.
The 53-year-old – who won THE PLAYERS in 2005 -- had a knee replacement last November. He shot 32 on the front nine making birdie putts of 10, 9 and 20 feet on the front nine, and chipping in for another from 50 feet on No. 6.
Funk rode that momentum early on the front nine when he made an 8-footer at the 10th hole and a 5-footer on the par-5 11th. He’s entering the difficult final three holes now so we’ll see if he can right the ship.
Looks like we’re in for some low scores today before the wind really kicks in. – Helen Ross