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March 30, 2003

Fred Couples


FRED COUPLES: All right, Ryder Cup points. I'll just start out it's the best round of golf I've ever seen played. It was the easiest 64, and it was fun to play with him. I struggled just a little bit. Probably the worst shot I hit was an 8-iron on No. 10 from the middle of the fairway and it was a swing that I wish I could have over and I ended up going bogey there. I struggled, but I watched just an unbelievable round.

Q. (Inaudible).

FRED COUPLES: This was a lot better. I know I hit some irons very close, but he's going to go over his round, but they were all -- nothing is a tap-in but they were three and four and five feet, hit the par 5s in two, made a huge putt on 3, hit a beautiful iron and a big gust got it and he came up short and the pin was in the back and he made about a 15-footer for par, which at that time it was just a great par saver. At the end of the day I'm sure he would tell you that's a big momentum mover. It was pretty easy.

Q. Could a factor have been that you guys are such good friends? A similar situation I believe occurred at the British Open with Justin if I'm not mistaken, right?

FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, I felt like playing with Davis it's almost like a practice round. I was a little edgy, I don't think he was at all, but when we got out there I just enjoyed playing with him. I couldn't help him. I couldn't get on any tee first, so it was like -- it would be nice -- I ended up hitting it close on 12, and 13 is a par 3, and I thought to myself, well, this is good because I'll be up first next hole, and then he made about a 12 -, 15-footer, maybe an 18-footer for birdie, so he was up, but he just was phenomenal. I'm not out there helping. I think we have the same kind of games. He rooted me on, too, just as much as I tried to root him on. He didn't want to see me shoot 80. I played well most of the day. It's frustrating, but I wasn't really bad. Missed a couple fairways by two or three yards and made bogey on those holes, and I didn't make a couple birdie putts that I have been making, so it added up to 74, and in this weather I don't think that's great, but it certainly wasn't bad. It wasn't as hard a day as we all thought. No rain, it was windy and cool, but the fairways were soft, and any shots that were a little off-line would stop and stay in the fairways, but again, it was just a treat to see someone that I've known for 20 years play like that. I mean, it was so solid. He hit the ball with authority and he judged the wind well.

Q. Was there a little laughing?

FRED COUPLES: He looked at me and said: Are you sure I'm up? I said: You just made eagle, so I'm not up. He hit a shot and he looked at me and he said: Geez, I hit that far. I said: Well, you're on dry land. It was fun. I wouldn't say that with anyone else, but on 16 when he pulled his 3-wood, I'm walking down there and I'm giving him the thumbs up sign because it's way down there, and lo and behold five minutes later he knocked it on and made eagle. So that was about the only break he got all day, and he took full advantage of that.

Q. At this stage in his career how is big this win for Davis?

FRED COUPLES: To win the TPC, for anybody, is huge, and Davis is somebody that I think should win all the time and it's not that easy. As we all know, Tiger is winning all the time, so for Davis to already get a couple and maybe should have already had three if he had -- not taking anything away from Justin, but if he'd have played the way he should have he probably would have won the Honda, too. You know, I don't think it's some turning point because he's too good, but I think the way he's swinging and playing it's going to be a monster year. He's the kind of guy that likes to have fun and do other stuff, but I think he's paying attention and trying to play his best golf at a great age.

Q. Is there something that you see out there that --


Q. Yes.

FRED COUPLES: No. He overpowers the course. He plays very aggressive golf. You know, it's hard to play in a lead, but on a day like today he put the hammer down. I don't think anyone thought anyone was going to shoot 64, but again, he did it. If he was in the last group would he have shot 64? You know, I don't know, but he's won from the lead and he's probably won from way, way back and today he was two shots behind two guys, and in weather like this that's really nothing. As I left yesterday I thought whoever had the best day today would win. 64 was incredible.

Q. You guys played the final round in '92 here together? He was 10 and you were 9 going into the final round. Do you recall?


Q. Has this primed you for --

FRED COUPLES: I don't know if he's primed me, but today was actually good because I felt like I held up reasonably well. If anything, I didn't putt very well, but, you know, Atlanta is a course I've never done well at, but I just want to go, my wife is going, and if I go home I won't play any golf, so I brought her out instead, so that's a great trade for me because at least I can go there and play a few rounds, and I don't play any good I can go up to Augusta early and really bear down.

Q. (Inaudible).

FRED COUPLES: Right on the sixth or seventh hole we saw that posted. I never mentioned it to Davis, and at that time I was two over and it didn't matter for me to say hey, look at this guy, because I knew as good as he was playing, if he saw it, he saw it, but at that time that was a pretty darn good score, and I'm sure sitting up there maybe Robert felt like I could do this. It just didn't work out. It wasn't as tough as I think we all thought it was going to be.

Q. Do you think he had that same sense today?

FRED COUPLES: Well, I think he's relaxed a lot. We enjoy playing with each other. You can laugh with Davis and at Davis during a round, and I think that says a lot, just that. If he hits a bad shot he'll giggle with you about it, and when he hits great shots he just eats it up. He hit about 63 great shots today, so it was easy to say nice shot, nice shot, nice swing, nice putt.

Q. Fred, was there encouragement you guys gave to each other before the day started about let's go do this or anything like that?

FRED COUPLES: If I didn't know him I'd say let's go out and have a nice day, but if you know somebody you don't actually do that. You know you want to. It's not like I say Davis, let's go have a great round, we're going to do it.

Q. Does that kind of give the PGA TOUR a broader range of people who can win? Does it inspire somebody like you to say hey, I can still compete?

FRED COUPLES: What is he, 40, 39? I'm not that much older than he is. He knows he can compete with anybody, and again, this is just a round, but it's the best round I've ever seen anyone play, not just Davis, anybody. I've never seen a round like that. I know Tiger has played unbelievable golf, but I've never been sitting there with him. So for Davis it's good timing. He's by far in his best game and he's still young and he can compete with anybody.

End of FastScripts....

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