Funk Chooses BC Open Over British Open

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It didn't take Fred Funk long to decide to skip the British Open, even though he's exempt. He's in the running to make the Ryder Cup team for the first time in his career, and that's a very big deal to him.
 
'It's huge,' Funk said Wednesday after a rainstorm and severe lightning cut short the pro-am at the B.C. Open. 'I experienced the Presidents Cup last year, and that was the highlight of my golf career. Ryder Cup would be right there with it.'
 
Funk is ninth on the Ryder Cup list, just ahead of Jeff Maggert. The team is chosen on the basis of points accumulated through the PGA Championship in mid-August. The top-10 finishers in points automatically qualify for the team, and two more are selected to complete the 12-man squad.
 
The 35th Ryder Cup is slated for Sept. 17-19 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
 
That Funk chose to play the B.C. Open to keep alive his Ryder Cup dreams isn't difficult to understand. He figures to finish higher in the B.C. Open, which he won in 1996. He also has finished second twice in the tournament..
 
In three appearances at the British Open, he withdrew in 1999 and missed the cut in 2000 and again last year.
 
'I just weighed all the options and thought what's best for me - to stay over here and play as good as I can here,' Funk said. 'If I went over to the British and played well, great.
 
'But if I went over there and played poorly, I would have gotten nothing out of it other than playing in the British and would have been tired coming back.
 
'A lot of it had to do with the state of my game and where I am mentally.'
 
Despite maintaining his poise off the tee - Funk was the most accurate driver on the PGA Tour last year and is No. 1 in 2004 - it's been an up-and-down year for the 48-year-old veteran who began his PGA career 22 years ago.
 
In 18 starts this year, he has three top-10s, including a tie for sixth at the U.S. Open and a tie for 10th at The Players Championship. He's also missed eight cuts, including three of last four.
 
'I haven't been playing that well, really, all year,' he said.
 
Funk's decision was easy for Joey Sindelar to understand because he's been through the same scenario.
 
'I once did not go when I was exempt well ahead of time,' Sindelar said of the British Open. 'If you've gone and had the experience and said, 'This isn't for me,' then I'm OK with that.
 
'We're talking about a tournament that he doesn't feel comfortable in the environment, and he would have to be 10th or better to earn a single point,'
 
The En-Joie Golf Club course was inundated with water on Wednesday after a series of heavy thunderstorms also knocked out power around 4 p.m. Still, defending B.C. Open champion Craig Stadler managed to get in five or six holes before play was called.
 
'I made some birdies today, so there's still something there,' said Stadler, who shot a stunning 9-under 63 on the final round to come from eight strokes behind last year.
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - British Open

  • Full Coverage - B.C. Open

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