What they said: Fred Funk

August 02, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

U.S. SENIOR OPEN: Transcript archive

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 2009 U.S. Senior Open champion, Fred Funk. At 20-under par, you've established a number of scoring records which may stand for a long time, but tell us what it's like walking up to the 72nd hole with a 5-shot lead and making birdie to win.

FRED FUNK: Felt pretty good, actually. A huge relief because of all the trouble that's out there on a Pete Dye course and on the finish of this golf course. I didn't look at the board, I had a feeling that I had a little bit of a lead, but Mark didn't let me look until I hit the green on 17, so it was a big relief to free-wheel it on 18.

Q. Talk about today's round. It was not totally flawless but pretty close, that has to be one of your better round in your career, isn't it, given the circumstances??

FRED FUNK: Well, the way I kept it together on a couple of occasions when I got in trouble I got out of trouble. I had some clutch putts or good wedges in there.

The biggest mistake a made, it was really 7 and 8, and I was fortunate to draw a decent lie on 7. I pulled the drive there, and I just kinda tried to steer it. It was really my first uncomfortable tee shot.

And then on 8, I honestly was thinking of what I just said on 7, I didn't want to do that on 8, so I guarded and I went way right.

Making two Pars on those holes kept the momentum I had going, and I started to free-wheel it other than 14. I steered that into the right rough but it was the prudent play to do. I didn't want to go out on that -- make a big number by hitting it in the hazard there.

Q. You're first words for TV was to pay tribute to the families who have had some tragedies this summer. Was that something you thought about over the last few holes or it just came to you??

FRED FUNK: No, it's something that I've thought about when I had opportunities all week, and I didn't say it.

I was hoping -- I knew when I got that opportunity I had a chance to say what I wanted to say, but at the same time, there was more I wanted to say, but you can't ramble on.

You know, I feel like we're a big traveling circus out here on the Tour whether it's the regular Tour or the Champions Tour and we're a brotherhood, and the media guys that follow us week in, week out, we all are really close to each other. When tragedy -- and those were big tragedies between Ken and Chris with Amy what she is fighting and Phil's mom, and there are a lot of other stories out there, but I felt like it was a good time to say something, and I wanted to take that opportunity to think of them and have the focus on, you know, the people that need it.

Q. Last year you finished second, had a great tournament but you arrived very early there, prepared like heck. This week you weren't prepared at all, totally different outcome; I wonder if that speaks to a hot golfer??

FRED FUNK: I think so. I knew I was playing well last week and I kinda letting it by not letting it go, I let it go by not letting my swing go.

Really, my swing, if I stay in my posture and my balance and I swing, I usually hit it straight. My shots won't get ugly like they did on those two holes on 7 and 8.

I got a little pep talk, a little talking to myself when I walked off those, and I wanted to keep the pedal down. If I ended up losing and go, I lost by giving it a good shot, that's fine.

There was a couple of opportunities last week that I know I let go, and it hurt because you can always look back and -- unless you win, you can always look back and find shots in four days that you wish you had back. And I didn't want to look back this week and say would have, could have, should have.

Q. I know you're in your own game and playing well, but did you see anything in Greg's game today? He didn't seem to have the spark.

FRED FUNK: He just didn't have control of the golf ball like he did yesterday. He didn't drive quite as good and got himself into a little bit of trouble. And a couple of his good shots didn't turn out good and it started eating at him a little bit. And he is seeing me a couple of times, and I think it gets irritating when your playing partner hits a couple of scruffies and ends up making pars on the holes and it can eat at you pretty good.

I think it started going down when he hit a good shot on 6 and hit that tree and went in the water. It wasn't that bad of a shot, and you don't think that tree is going to come into play and it did. It started going down from there.

Q. Fred, following up on Greg's play, the fact that he didn't mount a quick charge against you, did that make the day more comfortable??

FRED FUNK: No, I was never real comfortable as far as that. I was trying to stay in my own mode, and I did notice Loren Roberts taking off from way back and wondering what the heck he was doing and playing. It was pretty interesting to watch him climb the leaderboard like that, and it was putting a little scare in me. But I wanted to keep putting all the opportunities that I had forward and keep the momentum going for me. That's actually when I stopped watching the scoreboard; when I saw Loren kind of finish at 11 or 12. I didn't really watch what Joey was doing or anybody at that point.

Q. Fred, I think you said the other day that winning a National Championship, whether it's the British open or over here is special because people remember that. You just shot a score that's the lowest score of any USGA Championship; how special is that??

FRED FUNK: That's pretty special. What did I -- what was the lowest before?

Q. 17.

FRED FUNK: 17 for this? And what about the other, probably it was Tiger. Tiger at Pebble? Yeah. That, obviously, feels really good. That's something I didn't fathom happening but it did.

The biggest thing is getting that name on that trophy and all the great names that are on there and being part of that history is what I was talking about.

Q. Where does this rank for you, winning this Championship and being on that trophy??

FRED FUNK: It's probably ties for first. I'm going to put the Players right there with it. This might be a notch higher because it is a National Championship. The only reason I put the Players that close is because of the strength of the field and it's my new hometown and living there is pretty cool and the history of that. But this is big. Plus it was a qualifier for Pebble Beach next year, so it's nice to know, that I'm in that, now. If it was Bethpage, I would probably not go (Laughter.) I would just say "no thank you."

Q. Fred to have this many good scores at a Championship, is there a message here of how well you guys play on this Tour??

FRED FUNK: I hope it is. I think we need to get the credit we deserve and all these guys are great champions and -- most of the guys have played the game a long time and they know how to play and know how to win.

It shows that the game is kind of an ageless game. It's not something that once you get to a certain age that you can still play at a super high level as long as you're healthy and prepared. So I think this is proof in the pudding when you get a guy like it Tom Watson at the Open last year and Greg Norman at the British.

Any time any of the guys go out there and have a great week it shows how great the game of golf is because you don't have to be thirty years old to compete. Also depends on the venues you're playing, too, what kind of length they've got or how they're playing.

If they had Bethpage at the conditions running like this one, it wouldn't have been such an issue to be just pure length. I think you would have seen a diversity in the types of guys playing well there, because it didn't depend on sheer length. This week was an example of that. You didn't have to be long it was a position golf course. I think that makes it better for everybody. When you can get the firm conditions.

Q. Fred, you were quoted last week after what happened last week as you really wanted this one. Maybe you wanted it too much and you were concerned about it. What does it say about wanting it that much??

FRED FUNK: I did want it that much, but the biggest thing was that I went with the mentality that I was going to give it -- try not to steer the ball, try not to protect -- sometimes you get in the mentality -- and I did it on the lay-upshot on 5 today and on the tees on 7 and 8 -- where you're trying not to hit a bad shot and you don't commit to the swing and you end up hitting a bad shot anyway. That's the mind games that you have to deal with, especially when you're at the top and everybody is chasing you and you've got a tough golf course ahead of you. You're constantly playing seesaw battle back and forthwith your positive thoughts, negative thoughts, positive thoughts; you're constantly fighting back and forth.

The biggest thing is getting over and committing. You've got to commit. That's what I wanted to do and I did it most of the day. I sure can't say I did it all day but I did it most of the day.

THE MODERATOR: Fred, thank you for your time, congratulations.

FRED FUNK: Thank you, guys.