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Fred Funk the PGA Tour iron man

Fred Funk simply doesn't know how to slow down, not even at the advanced golf age of 46.

He's the PGA Tour's ironman when it comes to scheduling, a key component to preparing for the Tour. Funk played 29 tournaments last year. He also competed five times in Europe and added several offseason events to his résumé.

If Funk stays healthy, his tentative plan for 2003 is about 30 events.

''I don't think it's that many,'' says Funk, who earned a career-high $2,383,071 last year. ''I play golf for a living. I don't make a living sitting at home. I still enjoy playing golf.''

He's averaged 31.5 tournaments a year in his 14 full seasons on Tour. The average number played by the top 125 in 2002 was 27.

Funk will get off to a fast start by playing seven of the nine events on the West Coast Swing. He was not eligible for the winners-only Mercedes Championships, so he'll start at next week's Sony Open in Hawaii.

Since Funk's family travels with him, what tournaments offer in the way of family fun factors into Funk's decisions about playing.

He likes the New Orleans event, even though English Turn Golf and Country Club doesn't set up particularly well for his game.

''I went last year and had a great time with my family,'' says Funk of his wife, Sharon, and their children, Eric, 11, Taylor, 7, and Perri, 3.

The same is true of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. ''I really enjoy the small-town atmosphere,'' Funk says. ''I try to find some tournaments that are a little bit different from the norm.''

He'll play in the two new events, the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte and the Deutsche Bank U.S. Championship in Norton, Mass.

''The top guys average 18-22 events,'' Funk says. ''But they play more around the world than I do, so it's not a fair measure. I don't play that much more. I've just been consistent over the years.''


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