Fred Funk at the TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra, Fla. Funk has spent 25 years as a professional golfer; he has been trying to return to the top of the pack since his knee replacement a year and a half ago.

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Fred Funk at the TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra, Fla. Funk has spent 25 years as a professional golfer; he has been trying to return to the top of the pack since his knee replacement a year and a half ago.

Jensen Hande/For The Washington Post

Fred Funk follows through on a tee shot at the sixth hole of the Crosswater Club in Sunriver, Ore. At the peak of his career, he won eight times on the PGA, amassing about $21 million in earnings.

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Fred Funk follows through on a tee shot at the sixth hole of the Crosswater Club in Sunriver, Ore. At the peak of his career, he won eight times on the PGA, amassing about $21 million in earnings.

Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Funk works with a physical therapist during the Regions Tradition Golf Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. He had the Stryker Triathlon Knee System surgically installed a year and a half ago.

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Funk works with a physical therapist during the Regions Tradition Golf Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. He had the Stryker Triathlon Knee System surgically installed a year and a half ago.

Jason Wallis/For The Washington Post

Funk is one of the few players who competes both on the regular PGA and on the Champions Tour (formerly the Senior PGA Tour). \

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Funk is one of the few players who competes both on the regular PGA and on the Champions Tour (formerly the Senior PGA Tour). "I don't want to go out there and show up," he says. "I hate losing. Everybody hates losing. But I <i>hate</i> losing."

Jason Wallis/For The Washington Post

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"I still pinch myself that I had the career that I had," Funk says.

Jason Wallis/For The Washington Post

Funk playing in the Regions Tradition Golf Tournament. His son Taylor, right, is his caddy.

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Funk playing in the Regions Tradition Golf Tournament. His son Taylor, right, is his caddy.

Jason Wallis/For The Washington Post

My career progressed slowly\

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My career progressed slowly" Funks says. "Real slow at a time. The irony of it was I had the best part of my career between when I was 45 and 49 years old. That's when most people are in their twilight, waiting to get to the Champions Tour. And that's when I made most of my hay.

Jason Wallis/For The Washington Post

Funk greets fans and autograph seekers at the Regions Tradition Golf Tournament.

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Funk greets fans and autograph seekers at the Regions Tradition Golf Tournament.

Jason Wallis/For The Washington Post

Funk with two members of the University of Maryland golf team in 1984.

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Funk with two members of the University of Maryland golf team in 1984.

Courtesy University of Maryland

Funk, seated in the cart behind the wheel, when he was coach of the University of Maryland golf team.

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Funk, seated in the cart behind the wheel, when he was coach of the University of Maryland golf team.

Courtesy University of Maryland

Funk takes a swing in a University of Maryland yearbook photo from 1988, when he was the school's golf coach.

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Funk takes a swing in a University of Maryland yearbook photo from 1988, when he was the school's golf coach.

Courtesy University of Maryland

Funk at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra in May. He qualified for the U.S. Open on June 6, but says his chances at that event are slim. The course is \

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Funk at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra in May. He qualified for the U.S. Open on June 6, but says his chances at that event are slim. The course is "too long for me to really, realistically compete," he says.

Jensen Hande/For The Washington Post

When I'm playing well, I'd put my game up against any of these young guys. Yeah, they hit it longer. But I know how to play golf. I know how to play. It's what I do,\

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When I'm playing well, I'd put my game up against any of these young guys. Yeah, they hit it longer. But I know how to play golf. I know how to play. It's what I do," Funk says. "Golf doesn't know age as long as you're healthy enough.

Jensen Hande/For The Washington Post