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April 7, 2021

Fred Couples

Augusta, Georgia, USA

Quick Quotes

Q. How was the Champions Dinner?

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, it was fantastic. Dustin did a great job. The food is always incredible, but there were some nice speeches, and it was a fun night. Always is.

It goes fast, two hours, boom, boom, boom, you're gone. But it's always a pleasure. I sit next to Ray Floyd, who has been a lifelong friend, and it's funny, he's 78 years old, he looks 50. He looks like he did when he stopped playing with me when I was 50 and he was 60, 65. But it's a great night.

Q. How cool is that to have Ray back this year?

FRED COUPLES: Well, a couple guys didn't come, and I honestly don't blame them for the last year. There wasn't -- it's okay to miss that dinner. I hurt my back and didn't come a few years ago, and I regret it because it was the last one that Arnold Palmer was alive for. I missed that.

But the year before, Arnold gave a speech that I could probably give word for word. It was intense and amazing. But again, since I won, I've sat next to Raymond. He always grabs my arm and he says, 'We're sitting here.'

It was good. Fred Ridley, chairman, said a few things, and the golf course, I think they all want it hard and fast, and I think we are going to get it, so it'll be interesting.

Q. You talked on your radio show last night about the club from '92, the driver, and you found that in your garage?

FRED COUPLES: Well, I have a couple clubs at the Hall of Fame, and I've always kept this driver, and to be honest with you, just seven or eight days ago, ten days ago, there was an email out all about Augusta, the great things about it, and one of the things was my name was mentioned as the only guy to not give a club to Augusta National. I had no clue. No clue at all.

I went to Palm Springs to practice. I don't think I have any golf clubs in Newport. They're all in an area in the desert, and I don't have many, and I found this MacGregor Eye 85 driver that I won with, and I brought it out this morning -- guys have seen it, but there were a few guys laughing. I think they were laughing because I think maybe they thought I won in 1970 instead of 1992, but I brought it and gave it to Tony, the pro, and he's going to put it where -- and right now if you said for $5 million walk me in to where these clubs are, I don't even know where these clubs are, otherwise I think 10, 12, 15, 18 years ago I would have brought a club, but I did not have any idea that I was the only guy -- maybe that would be a good thing to be known for, as the only guy not to give a club.

Q. What would you have brought if you'd have known 15 years ago?

FRED COUPLES: You know, I do know that was my driver because I had it in a very safe place. The wedge that I chipped on 12, I don't remember what kind that was. I think it was an old Wilson, and I have that, but I didn't want to bring that because I wasn't sure. The driver is the one I used. I only have two of them.

But probably would have been at that time that sand wedge.

Q. It was a persimmon driver?

FRED COUPLES: Oh, it's a MacGregor Eye 85.

Q. Has anyone on the range tried to hit it?

FRED COUPLES: No, not me. I haven't hit a wooden driver since, but they all laughed at it. I mean, it's the size of this microphone. Now my driver is this big and I can barely hit it, but --

Q. How much longer did you use it after that '92 Masters?

FRED COUPLES: I think I finished the year off. I think in '93 I started losing -- I lost a bet to a TaylorMade guy, so I used his driver, and then I continued to use a metal wood from then on.

Q. You posted that picture before the Champions Dinner about missing Tiger. Did anybody talk --

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, we talked yesterday four or five different times throughout the day, and I sent him a picture playing the 1st hole, and then I somehow snuck a picture last night of Dustin, and I sent that to him, and he goes, man, I love it, miss it.

You know, he's doing fantastic. I think the idea of him not being here maybe hit him yesterday morning, but again, Justin Thomas and I -- I'm sure a lot of guys do. All I know is Justin and I, we're on the same thread, and we tried to get him in a rare mood, and we got him in a rare mood. He's very funny, and he said a few things, called me a chop on one of them and I stink and blah blah blah, and then I wore the mask, but he's doing well. But he really wants to be here.

Q. Fred [Ridley] really talked about distance today. Are you surprised they never have gone to a Masters ball yet? They talked about that 14 years ago.

FRED COUPLES: Well, I will end that with this: I won't be surprised if they ever do it. But am I surprised they haven't? I don't really even know how you would do that, but I am sure if they did, everyone would still come and play. It would be difficult, you know, if all of a sudden -- I asked Jason Kokrak today -- I always tease him when he walks by, "Get some of this," so I was hitting a 7-iron, and I said, "How far do you hit your 7-iron?" 195, and I am hitting it 165.

So it would be difficult. It would be easier for a few players right off the box, but if you're used to hitting a 7-iron 195 and now it only going 180, that's a big adjustment. So they'd have to practice with it. They'd get used to it. But I'm going to be more surprised when it happened then saying, oh, I'm surprised it hasn't happened.

Q. How much does this weather help a player of your vintage and experience?

FRED COUPLES: You know, I've played well. I've hit a lot of 5- and 6-irons it seems like every hole, and maybe a couple scattered 7-irons. It was warm in November. It just played really long. You know, I maybe had -- I probably had three -- which you can. I played the 12th hole and one other hole horribly, and I just have to stay away from those mistakes, but I do like the weather and I think everyone likes the weather and I hope it doesn't rain because when you walk on some -- they are -- I mean, Rory said it five times, "Have you ever seen the greens like this on Wednesday," and five times in a row I said no. He was laughing because he's been here a bunch, so I think if it stays like this, come even Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it'll be -- I mean, honestly a 70 or 71 will be a heck of a score.

Now, if we get rain and it softens up, these guys are the greatest players and the golf course is there, it's not like there's a foot of rough out there. It's playing silly long. These guys hit it a long way. They'll have no problem. But the greens are hard to get the ball close.

Q. Why do you think it's like this? Why do you think they want it --

FRED COUPLES: I know. Well, I mean, everyone says, oh, Dustin Johnson -- I mean, it's November. I don't think they could get the course hard in November. Maybe they could have. But it's the way really it should be. I mean, it should be hard. Zach Johnson told me last night he shot Friday, Saturday back-to-back 73-76 and won. I had no idea. I didn't even know what he shot. I said, what did you shoot the other rounds, 65s? He goes, no, I think he shot 69 the last round --

Q. He shot even for the week.

FRED COUPLES: I was here, but I don't remember how hard the course was. But I enjoy it. At 31, 51, 61, it's not going to change my perspective, but as a guy watching, I want to see these guys play it as hard as it possibly can. And me and my times, it probably happened maybe five years. I think Josť won one year where it was just -- the term would be concrete. They're not concrete yet, but they're brown and they're going to get there fast, which look out.

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