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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Jay Flemma interview with Fred Funk at Pinehurst, 2005 U.S. Open

JF: Do you think that with all the varied recovery shots you have to play here - bump and run here, pitch and check there, putt from off the green somewhere else - that Pinehurst has helped you when it comes time for St. Andrew's?

FF: Yeah. It sure doesn't hurt. Absolutely with the tight lies and the kind of shots you have to hit with the little elevations over there.

JF: How was the greens speed and how were the pin placements?

FF: The greens were a little slower than they were all week. They were a little sticky today. They had a little stickiness to 'em. The USGA did a great job. I thought today good shots got rewarded. If you hit a good shot or hit the shot you were required to hit you got rewarded. Granted the greens are very difficult and the pin positions were pretty tough, but some of them were very accessible. I don't know if I just played a little better today, but alot of them on the back were easier than yesterday. I think a low number might be out there today among the leaders. Yesterday, no, alot of them were pretty tough, but they dialed it back to where it was the first two days. I really don't think there's too many tough putts. There's a really good one on 2,3 and 4, then after that 7 and 8, but alot of the others were pretty good. If you hit it in the right spot you have a legitimate birdie putt. On the back nine I thought 11, 12, and 13 were very accessible. 17 is very accessible. If you hit the right spot it'll feed right in there. 18's very accessible. So I think there's some birdies to be out there.

JF: Sawgrass holds a special place for you since your win at the TPC this spring, is it your favorite public golf course?

FF: Oh Sawgrass is terrific for so many reasons, but if I could only play one public course for the rest of my life, it would be Pebble Beach because of the scenery and the beauty of it. Those holes along the water. Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite golf course I say Pebble. Sawgrass is great too because of 17 and 18. But if I could only play one place and was stuck there the rest of my life, Pebble would be it.

JF: What other great public courses would you recommend to our readers?

FF: Well I didn't play Bethpage, but that looked real good. I hear Bandon Dunes is phenomenal. Whistling Straits is right up there as far as an experience. When you go out there it's something unique and different. Bandon Dunes is like that I guess. Is Prairie Dunes public?

JF: That one's private, but it's nice. What is it about Pinehurst that resonates so well with the golfing community?

FF: The thing about Pinehurst is that it's just golf. Strictly golf. I mean, you come to Pinehurst to live, you gotta love golf. There's nothing else to do. You can play some tennis a little bit. But it's designed for the golfers and there's such a variety of golf and the courses around here are spectacular. There's alot of golf here. Isn't it the most per square mile in the world or the country? I mean it's gotta be one of 'em.


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