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June 13, 2004

Fred Couples


FRED COUPLES: Yeah, it was a pretty flat putt that broke more than I thought, but coming through the fringe I hit it solid but not near hard enough to stay on-line. Four days in a row I've hit it everywhere on that tee, and I birdied it and bogeyed it yesterday. I played even par, it was terrible. It was a great third shot, but it's not what I was looking for.

There were a couple of holes I was hanging in there and I knew these last few holes were going to be hard, and I missed -- I hit a great wedge on 15 out of the rough to about three feet and missed it, and then hit a nice iron on 16 to about 10 or 12 feet and missed it and finally birdied 17 to really have a chance on 18 and then whipped it in the trees and didn't have much of a shot.

I played well. I am definitely spent. I'm tired. It was a sloppy day, but I got it around. You know, I did well.

Q. From The Memorial to here, there's got to be encouragement in the way you're playing.

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, but today I don't feel very good at all. That's not too encouraging. So I don't really know what will happen tomorrow. I'm definitely not going to play.

But to finish the way I did last week and this week is good, but I'm hoping to feel better, I don't know, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Q. When you say that you're talking about the back?

FRED COUPLES: I am talking about that, yeah. I don't feel quite right. But I have plenty of time to rest, and at the same time, I mean, I slapped it around the course but got it around, which I can do. You get a little confidence, you don't have to hit every shot, which I didn't do. I wasn't very good today but I got it around, made a lot of birdies, whereas yesterday I just never got in any rhythm, and that was really the bad -- obviously 74 when everyone else is shooting 70 was a bad round. Yesterday really killed me.

Q. What's your schedule the next couple days now?

FRED COUPLES: Well, I'm going to go up there tonight and hang out tomorrow and relax. I hope I wake up better. You know, it's livable. But, I mean, today, again, it was a lot of fun, and what happens is a lot of times when I do kind of hurt, it just gets tighter and tighter. I'll have some help up there and hopefully Tuesday be able to go out and practice a little bit and play the course and walk around. So it's not the end of the world, but if I feel like this, it'll be very disappointing. I hit the ball off the tee very well the first three rounds most of the day until the back nine, and then I was everywhere.

Q. I'm sure if the back were to hold up you'd be very excited to be playing next week.

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I'm still excited. If I can get going up there and feel better, you know, it's a great golf course, and if I don't, they're two good weeks.

I usually can get around this thing. But in a U.S. Open you can't play from where I played from today. You're not going to be anywhere. Because this course is short I was able to get it out of the rough and get on the greens. But at Shinnecock if I play like this I'll shoot 75 on a good day. But that's four days from now, so who knows.

Q. You say you'll have help up there. Will you still be getting acupuncture?

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, and there's a couple other people up there that can work on it, but this is every week. I'm not really -- I'm more really tired to be quite honest. I mean, I know I'm old, but I'm just dead. It was just such a bad pull-hook on 18. I'm tired, but I still should be able to hit a good drive. I don't think I could have knocked it in the middle of the green because the wind was howling but I know I could have played the hole better.

It's hard. I mean, I need to be able to play three weeks in a row, Sunday.

Q. Did you visit the doctor yesterday?

FRED COUPLES: I did, I saw her. She's doing great. I saw her this morning.

Q. She's not going to come to Shinnecock?

FRED COUPLES: Well, she might, but she's busy and she might have someone up there, so we'll see.

Q. If it was marginal would you expect more to try to play --

FRED COUPLES: I'm going to play. I can do this. This is not a problem. I've been playing so well that if you would have watched me today, it was a 68 that was -- when I hit good shots I made birdies. When I hit bad shots I scrambled around. I love the course, I know how to play the course. If I made any blunders today I birdied No. 1 and I hit driver on No. 2, which was downwind and I was trying to drive it up by the green, which Phil did right behind us, and I did a pull into the trees and made bogey. That wasn't any good.

Then the next hole I three-putted from 10 or 12 feet. So I was 1-over after three holes and bounced back to make some birdies, but the course is tough.

Sergio made an unbelievable birdie, I don't know how he did it, on 16. Then he parred 17 and if he birdied 18 he'll definitely win. I don't see anyone getting to 12, but you never know.

End of FastScripts.

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