PGA Tour professional Fred Funk, a former University of Maryland golf coach, has become a member of the Booz Allen Classic's Board of Governors. Funk will help tournament officials try to attract a more glamorous field.
The tournament will be held this week at Avenel in Bethesda. Only five players in the top 40 world golf rankings -- Jonathan Kaye, Adam Scott, Charles Howell III, Brad Faxon and Chris Riley -- are in the field.
GS: As an active player, why did you agree to become part of the tournament's organizing and operational committee?
FF: This is my home town and I've always wanted to be part of the tournament in some capacity. I want to do what I can to make it a quality event, as does the sponsor.
GS: Why is it so difficult to put together a strong field?
FF: A lot of tournaments say the same thing and have similar problems. Not every tournament can get Tiger Woods in the field. But that doesn't diminish the quality of the field. We have lots of terrific golfers who will be playing here, but the media emphasis is often on who isn't here. That isn't fair to the tournament, because once you get past the top five players in the world, everyone on tour is very good.
The schedule has a lot to do with the field. Tiger will play 18-20 events a year, plus five or six non-tour events outside the country. The average player on tour competes in 27-28 events; I'll play 31 or 32. When you get past the majors, add the Colonial and Memorial, it's pretty much of a scramble to get your best fields.
Next year, with our date set the week before the U.S. Open, and the tournament moving to Congressional for one year, we're in a great spot.
GS: The players seem to dislike the course at Avenel. Why is that the case?
FF: The tournament was at Congressional, which is a special place. When it moved to Avenel, the feeling for the course obviously changed. Avenel is a TPC course. And it got a terrible rap its first year from Greg Norman. Maybe the course wasn't ready that first year, but it's never recovered in the minds of some players. I would tweak the course a little. Open it up on some holes.
Still, it's a good event that can get better. And it's an event that has great fan support. That's what makes it special to me.