Vol 2 February 2008
Caddie Chat
Mark Long and Fred Funk
Mark Long and Fred Funk

Mark Long is the caddie for Fred Funk. Known for the best Seve Ballesteros impersonation around, Long lives in Ponte Vedra, FL and has been caddying on the PGA TOUR for 19 Years. Long also creates the yardage books for a majority of tournaments on the PGA TOUR. His books are bought by tournaments and then distributed to each caddie when they register.

How did you get started in the business?
Fred was my college coach, and we worked together at University of Maryland Golf Club. I went out to caddie for him at Q School Finals in Palm Springs in 1988 and he made it. I later went to New Orleans a few months later to caddie 3 weeks for him. That sort of stretched a little bit longer than anticipated. No chance I would have ever done this as a career, if it hadn’t been for Fred. I would probably be a respectable member of society (laughing).

What players have you caddied for?
Fred part time 1989-90. Nolan Henke full time 1991-2001. Fred since the end of 2001. A few weeks with Kenny Knox, Pat Burke, Ted Tryba, DA Weibring, Pete Jordan. Once turned down Fred Couples’ offer to go to France the year he won the Masters. His caddie Joe needed a break. I told Fred sorry, I’d already promised Burke I’d work Atlanta for him. Burke told me I was crazy, and that he’d go caddie for Fred. Burke finished 4th at Atlanta. So, it worked out nicely for all of us.

To you what makes the Wachovia Championship special?
Kym Hougham. He’s responsible for setting the bar higher and higher every year.

What holes at Quail Hollow Club do you find to be the toughest?
The fourth does not get a lot of attention, but that hole is tough. Of course, 17 and 18 are brutal. My first time walking the course, I remember walking the back nine and thinking it looked sort of like the U.S. Open.

Did you play any sports, what, etc.
The usual football, basketball, baseball. When I discovered golf around age 13, that was all I did.

How many victories have you been a part of on TOUR? What are they?
1991 Phoenix Open (Henke)
1993 Atlanta (Henke)
1994 Victoria Open (Burke, Australia)
2004 Jackson (Funk)
2005 Players (Funk)
2005 Skins Game (Funk)
2007 Mayakoba (Funk)
2006 Oak Hills (Funk Champions)
2007 Turtle Bay (Funk Champions)

My most unusual victory as a caddie was the 1996 Bangor Open with Eric Egloff. I missed the cut and caddied the last round for him. He won but never paid me. In fact, I think I bought dinner that night.

Your favorite memory through the years is...
There are a LOT. But the last few holes at the 2005 Players with Fred winning in front of the home crowd in Ponte Vedra and when we were paired with Tiger in 2002 during the final round at Hazeltine, that was something.

At Shinnecock in 2004, Fred was leading on Saturday on the 14th hole and said “I’m leading the US Open.” I said “I’ve been here before (Henke 1991 Hazeltine) and if you can say that on Sunday THEN I’ll get excited.”

With Fred, how hands-on are you with each club selection and putt?
Very involved with Fred on clubs, putting varies from day to day. I think he putts best when he does it himself. Hard to get in a flow with too much input. It’s a lot of fun to caddie for Fred because he puts me so into the game. But if I mess up, it really gets me, much more so than if I were playing. Ask a player how they feel in a team competition, where they don’t want to let their partner down. That’s every day caddying.