Interview with Mark Long, Caddie for Fred Funk
By mustang6560 on 8/26/10
Q&A with Mark LongPGA Caddie Mark Long took the time out of his busy schedule to sit down and discuss Fred Funk's recent Champions Tour victory at the Jeld-Wen Tradition, his role as a TOUR caddie, the importance of proper distance information and how amateurs can play better using the right distance information.
Fred Funk just won a Major on the Champions TOUR, can you share with us what that means for you as Fred’s caddie?
The Majors mean so much more to us. The best players tend to rise to the top in the Majors, and I feel it's that way for Fred. He has six Champions TOUR victories, and half of those are Majors. To win a Major, it takes a little more precision, a little more control and a little more preparation. So you feel like you've accomplished a little more when you win.
Hole 16 at Crosswater Club was a good example. That hole demands experience, good course management and near perfect execution – and all that happened for Fred last weekend. We knew exactly where to try to land it, and he did it. Turns out it was the only birdie of the day there. I wonder if there has ever been a professional round where there was only ONE birdie on a par 5?
Who gets credit for reading the green on the Birdie on 16?
I have to give Fred all the credit. Making a putt like that is all about your talent as a player and Fred has plenty of that.
We call what Fred did a "feel" putt. It obviously was going left, but how fast and the amount of break could vary greatly depending on the speed. Sometimes it's better to let your instincts, your feel take over – just let your body do it for you!
The putt on 18 was different; it was an easy read, inside right. It’s nice to have a "no brainer" read on a putt to win, especially a Major! In the clubhouse, a bunch of the guys were sitting around watching the finish on TV. Word has it Tom Watson predicted both putts on 18. He said Fred would leave the first one six feet short, but would "bury" the winner. I guess Tom knows his stuff...
How important is a PGA yardage book when you are competing on TOUR?
Every caddie on TOUR relies on the PGA yardage book because we simply can’t afford to be off on distances. TOUR players are demanding, and my role is to provide Fred with all the critical distance information he needs to score his best on every shot. Fred swings the club, but I am by his side with my PGA yardage book in hand to make sure he has the course knowledge to play his next shot with confidence.
PGA yardage books have become an essential part of the game for TOUR players and their caddies. We rely on the detailed distance information from every angle on the golf course to obtain the best scoring opportunities on every shot. It would be amusing to watch an amateur try to navigate the Crosswater course without a PGA yardage book.
Amateurs don’t always have caddies or PGA yardage books, how can an amateur score better and what would be an alternative?
Use a SkyCaddie. A SkyCaddie is without question the closest thing to a PGA yardage book for an amateur golfer. Amateur golfers deserve the same reliable and trusted distance information that a TOUR professional gets from his caddie, and because of SkyGolf’s TruGround Mapping Methodology, SkyCaddie is without question the closest thing to a yardage book for an amateur.
The SkyCaddie gives you information to ALL your targets and hazards on the course like I do for Fred. You have to know this information to be able to take advantage of your good shots!
Why is ground mapping important?
Mapping a golf course by walking it is truly the only way to do it. In fact, only SkyGolf has invested the time and resources in TruGround Mapping, where SkyCaddie Mappers actually walk the golf course using survey grade equipment to ground verify all course maps. While other companies take shortcuts, SkyGolf’s approach to TruGround Mapping was modeled after what a TOUR caddie does, to ensure golfers receive the most trusted and reliable course maps in golf.
Because of the mapping process, SkyCaddie offers the most reliable golf course maps in the game today. Complement that with advanced applications such as IntelliGreen Pro and now an amateur is also privy to major green contours, false fronts and any other point on the green, plus front, carry and back distances from any angle of attack. Essentially this crucial scoring information is only possible because of SkyGolf’s precision TruGround Mapping, and this is same information that is in the yardage book and that I provide Fred while we’re out on the course competing for Major championships.
When creating the PGA yardage book or preparing for a tournament, do you rely on satellite images and flyovers?
All TOUR caddies will walk the course prior to an event, to verify the information in a yardage book. Any professional caddie worth his weight would never rely on satellite images or aerial flyovers – too much risk and we simply can’t afford to be wrong. A caddie simply can’t trust that the satellite images are updated and accurate. On any Monday of tournament week, you’ll see the caddies out there walking the course, matching distances with the information in the yardage book, and taking any special notes that they may need to share with their player.
SkyCaddie is the only company that obtains distance information the way a TOUR caddie knows how…by walking the course!
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Congratulation Fred & Mark!
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