Fred Funk has been on tour for over 30 years and is one of the most liked players ever, by both fans and fellow players. I’ve had the pleasure if interviewing Fred and I’m excited to post the interview below. First though, I’ll post a few funky career notes and highlights.
Fred Funk is not a long driver, but is well known as one of the most accurate drivers in the history of the game. He led the PGA Tour in driving accuracy seven times and was in the top five in that statistic 13 out of 14 years.
Fred has eight PGA Tour victories, the highlight which is the 2005 Players Championship. I still remember when he slammed his hat down on the 18th green in celebration of the victory, after making a fantastic sand save to win by one shot.
Since 2006, Funk has been racking up some wins on the Champions Tour. Six of them, including the U.S. Senior Open.
Nine Holes with Fred Funk – The back nine at TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course
Hole #10 – Par 4 – 424 Yards
TK: Let’s talk first about how you started in golf. Who introduced you to the game, and how long did it take for you to realize it would be more than just a sport you play once or twice a month for fun?
FF: When I was 10, I caddied for my dad and I decided playing was better than caddying.
Hole #11 – Par 5 – 558 Yards
TK: You’ve been on tour for over 30 years now. When you’re not practicing or playing, what do you like to do in your free time?
FF: Because I am on the road so much I really just like being home. I go out on the boat and play and practice with my 15 year old son.
Hole #12 – Par 4 – 358 Yards
TK: What would you call your most satisfying moment in golf? Winning the Players Championship, or perhaps simply being able to make a career out of golf since 1981? Ryder Cup team member?
FF: Winning the Players is one, representing the US on the Ryder Cup and President Cup teams and playing a practice round with Arnie and Jack at Augusta.
Hole #13 – Par 3 – 181 Yards
TK: What is funniest moment in golf career? Perhaps the Annika skirt incident at the Merril Lynch shootout in 2005?
FF: No question the skirt was a great moment even at my own expense.
Hole #14 – Par 4 – 481 Yards
TK: Do you Facebook, Twitter? Have you learned how best to communicate with your kids by texting?
FF: I do not Twitter or Facebook, but I do text.
Hole #15 – Par 4 – 449 Yards
TK: You led the PGA Tour in driving accuracy (not distance haha) seven times and are always in the top in fairway percentage. Why you? What quality is it in your swing, technique or mindset that produces such precision?
FF: Short and crooked does not work, (Fred who?). I learned to swing with very little compensation. Ball goes straight, not far.
Hole #16 – Par 5 – 523 Yards
TK: Speaking of driving accuracy… Despite the new anti-square groove rules, do you feel that driving accuracy still isn’t rewarded as much as it should be in professional golf and if so, how would you fix it if they put you in charge?
FF: Too late, the USGA lost control of the ball and backing up is not likely.
Hole #17 – Par 3 – 137 Yards (The Island Green)
TK: Let’s talk gear for a minute. How in tune are you with the raw stats of your golf swing, launch angles, ball speed, ball spin and all of that? Do you spend a lot of time on launch monitors tweaking clubs?
FF: Actually I know my numbers but only for reference. I really only care about my driver numbers, if I find a driver that I can max out carry and roll, I use that club.
Hole #18 – Par 4 – 462 Yards
TK: Reading your bio I did a little search for some keywords. I found that the word “knee” appeared seven times. Tell me about the struggles you’ve had with your knees and how you’ve dealt with them.
FF: I had been suffering with knee pain for several years and had gone through numerous surgeries to repair torn cartilage in my right knee, subsequently having it drained of fluid 18 times. In 2009, after discussing my options with my orthopaedic surgeon, I underwent a knee replacement surgery and received a Stryker Triathlon Knee. After a three-month recovery, I was back on the Champions Tour playing a full tournament schedule. In 2010, I won the JELD-WEN Tradition, becoming the first player ever to win a PGA Tour-sanctioned event after total knee replacement surgery.