July 11, 2013
Flash interview with:
MODERATOR: Okay, folks. Our eighth player at 67, Fred Funk.
FRED FUNK: How you doing? Did you lower this? Did he lower this? I think Tom would have been up here.
Q. Did you see your statue yet?
FRED FUNK: I took a picture in front of it. It's ridiculous. It's 12 feet, 13 feet high. The nose is 3 feet itself.
Q. Did it help you today to have that statue out there?
FRED FUNK: It would have been easier. My steps would have been longer, and I wouldn't have had to walk as far. No, it did not. My statue is a little stiff.
Q. Did you feel a little hometown backing today, even though you're not from Omaha?
FRED FUNK: Yeah, I got a wearing the Mutual of Omaha being my sponsor, it's like being home. I was here about six weeks ago for four days. I did a fundraiser for Creighton Athletic Department and stayed three extra days and played with my son. We played 90 holes in three days.
It was carts, so it was easy in carts. It was a lot of fun, and the course was totally different then. The greens were maybe 6 on a stimpmeter back then. You couldn't hit it hard enough. But the fairways were good, and the rough was high, and I got to learn a little bit of the golf course, and it was good that I came because I didn't play that many practice rounds here. Probably nobody did, like Tom said.
Q. Fred, you just had knee surgery. How did the knee hold up for you?
FRED FUNK: Knee's fine. Only thing I'm struggling with a little bit is my back, for the first time in my career, has been really bad all year. Really, the last two months, I guess.
Today when I teed off, it felt the best it's felt all year. It was funny. I just hit kind of a funny swing and bad swing on the par 3, No. 5, and it started bothering me again. I tweaked that SI joint. It was good. I'm real pleased with the way I hit it.
I hit a lot of fairways. My only real boo boo was I hit it over the green on No. 2 from 55 yards and made my only bogey, and that was a bad bogey. But I made some really nice par saves.
I made a great par save on 10. That's the only hole I'm really uncomfortable with out here. Playing as a par 4, I think it's just a real awkward hole, probably for a lot of guys. Although today I took driver and took it down there, and I hit a perfect drive. I hit about ten inches behind it with a 6 iron. I was 40 yards short of the green with a 6 iron. I got up and down.
But I'm real pleased overall. I love U.S. Open conditions. It's tough. I love four round tournaments because you can get some separation. When you get tough conditions and you're playing good, you get rewarded.
What I really consider is it's a lot easier to get the separation from the field, from the guys that aren't playing as well. If you play well, you really do well. And you can see who's playing a golf course like this, you can see who's playing well in a four day tournament, that's for sure.
So more than likely, the guy that's playing the best in these kind of conditions will be at the top, more than likely. So hopefully, it will be me. But I can't complain for now, from here anyway.
Q. [ No microphone ].
FRED FUNK: Not a 20 under. Not a Crooked Stick. Crooked Stick had firm fairways and soft greens, and the scores were pretty low. I was 20, and 14 was second. The scores were low. If you throw my score out, it's still pretty low. So I don't see that here.
You know, it's funny because you've got a lot of birdie holes here. You've got a ton of birdie holes here, but you have some really tough holes. If you just get out of position on these greens or in the fairway or not in the fairway, in the rough, you're going to pay the price, more than likely. You have to be really careful here.
I'm actually kind of surprised that 3 under is low, but we'll see what happens. I think they're a little dodgy with how they've got the greens. They're really not up to speed. I'm sure they want to have them because of the heat, and I'm surprised how brown they got. They really changed colors just in the last day or so. They're completely different.
I have one really strange – I was playing for a hard bounce all day, and especially as the round went. Then on 16, I was afraid to land one in the – too far back in there. So I take a 6 iron on 16, and it actually sat in its ball mark. And then Hale landed it about three yards past me, and I fixed his ball mark. It was like fixing the concrete. His ball went to the back. So it depends on where you land on some of these brown spots. That's probably going to be the case the rest of the week. It can be a little tricky.
Then 17, two of us spun it all the way back. So it's playing a little tricky in spots, but that's what you get.
Q. Speaking of the separation, what do you need to do to separate from all these guys at the top of the leaderboard?
FRED FUNK: Eventually, you know, when we get some separation from that. But overall, as the rounds go, you're not going to see that kind of that many tied for the lead, I don't think. I mean, you might. I think a couple guys will take off and separate themselves a little bit, but we'll see what happens.
I mean, you got to have – what did you say, eight guys are 3 under? That's a lot, obviously. How many guys are under par?
FRED FUNK: 19 under par? Okay.
Q. There are 42 guys within four shots.
FRED FUNK: Well, yeah, that will happen. And that's kind of I think the reason the golf course, the scores were like that, because you do have a lot of holes that are opportunities to make birdie. But with that being said, you should make par.
And if you can get by the holes like what I consider 4, 8, 10, 12, 18 are the Mac Daddy holes that you got to get by, you got to be careful with. So those are the holes that are if you par those or make a birdie somewhere on those, you're really catching up on the field and just try to minimize your mistakes.
You've got to take advantage of the par 5s. All three of them are reachable for most of these guys. You got to get those.
But you've got to be in position. Par 3s are really tricky and really good holes. So those are tough holes too. But you got a lot of opportunities out there. So I think the scores will be if the greens stay if they keep them a little slower and a little softer, it will be harder to get that separation, I think. It just won't play quite as difficult because balls won't be running out quite as much.
Q. Will the ability to get up and down maybe be the separation?
FRED FUNK: You can't get up and down out of this rough around the greens very easy. The rough is really thick. Guessing game out of that stuff. It's more keeping it in front of you, keeping it in the short stuff to give you a chance to get up and down if you're in that.
I think you've got to hit a lot of greens, and you've definitely got to hit a lot of fairways. Number one, you've got to get it in position. That's the number one thing, off the tee. So that's all I got to say about that.
Q. The elevations have been compared to Augusta by a couple of Masters Champions. How would you compare the elevation changes?
FRED FUNK: They are on the back nine, yeah. You're either going up, or you're going down. There's no flat. It's pretty severe on the back. Then some of the holes two of the holes where you're going from 11 to 12 tee, backwards, and then 14 to 15, you're climbing that same hill going backwards.
And that gets to you. You don't want to have you want to have honors, but you want to take a little time out when you get there, fake like you have gas or something.
Actually, I didn't have to fake that today. It was a senior problem. Okay.
Q. How often do you drop by Omaha and go to your favorite spots?
FRED FUNK: Not very often at all. I come for the Mutual of Omaha Shootout that they had.
But yesterday, I went up and fished on a lake with Mike Weekley, where he lives, about a half hour whatever direction that was. And it was nice. We caught a whole bunch of bass and had a great time. I didn't try to keep up with him in the beer, thank goodness. Then we had a good Mexican dinner and came back and went to sleep. So it was really good. Pretty bass too. I think we caught probably, for the boat, probably over 20. So that was fun.
Q. Nights like tonight, do you go have a couple drinks to celebrate a good round?
FRED FUNK: I'll have one beer that's going to taste really good. Maybe two, but no more than that. Especially with an 8:00 tee time.
We good? All right. Good. Thanks.
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