Q. And you learn from that as a player a little bit?
FRED COUPLES: I did. There's no doubt that -- everyone says it. I could talk with you tonight and say tomorrow you've got to go out and hit the fairways and hit the greens. No kidding. You're not going to be a friend and say geez, you're not putting well and you've got the hit the ball better than you've ever hit it. Well, I can tell you that. I think when you're an announcer you can kind of foresee the future. He does it very well. I don't want to do it at all, but I had fun doing that, and I didn't tell someone, wow, I'm going to practice as hard as I can. My wife is the one that said if you're going to do it, you know, I'm not that great but I see a lot of other people doing it differently than you do, and they all have teachers and they're working hard on their games, so why don't you go do it.
I haven't talked to Paul, and Paul has been my teacher for 15 years. I haven't shut Paul down, it's just the fact that I think when I work with Butch it's not friendly teaching-wise. It's not you're swinging good, geez, take the day off. I mean, I hit balls for six hours at the AT&T. I haven't hit balls for six hours in four years. I don't want to waste his time. I told him I'm not going to bother you. When I need you I'd like two hours, not 30 minutes because I can't suck all that in. I need a lot of time. You know, I'm not someone he can come up and say turn your left foot in a little bit and clear harder. I need him to stand there for a long time and tell me that. It's worked out very well.
Q. Where did you work at the AT&T?
FRED COUPLES: Just on the range.
Q. At Pebble --
FRED COUPLES: The tournament range.
Q. Fred, with regards to tomorrow, because Tiger is such a favorite always and because of the obvious talent, do you take note of where he's at going into tomorrow? I think at this point he's not on the leader board but I think he's six off the pace...
FRED COUPLES: Is he six under, five under? No. I enjoy watching him play. Phil Mickelson is another guy who can go out and shoot 64, 65 at any time. He'll be only a few groups in front because he'll be one of those early six unders, which will tee off late. He'll be right in the thick of things. I'm sure right now he knows he's not the guy to beat, but he certainly can win.
But am I going to tee off tomorrow -- I'm pretty much worrying about my game, and if I sneak up there and I'm ten under, whatever that is, and he's nine with four holes to play, I'd be an idiot to tell you I'm not going to be thinking what did he do on 16, 17 and 18. That's fun to me. I've never not looked at leader boards. Playing with Jay is going to be fun. I haven't played with Jay in a long time. I've known him for 20 years and he's a great guy and he's fun to play with. Padraig I know a little bit and he's a great player. I look forward to tomorrow's round just in my own nutshell. I really would like to go out there just like everyone else and play well. That's the understatement of the day by anyone who comes in here. Again, the way I'm playing, I don't know why I can't, and if I don't, it'll be very disappointing and then I have something to fall on going into Augusta and I'm thrilled to death to be in the last group.
Q. Freddie, how much has the mid-sized putter revived you and when did you go to it?
FRED COUPLES: I think it's been over two years. In Las Vegas is when I did it. It wasn't last Las Vegas, the year before.
Q. So a year and a half.
FRED COUPLES: It's revived my putting. Working with Butch and practicing has revived my game enough to make it a heck of a lot of fun, and at Pebble Beach, you know, I played a very good last round, and it was working well. At San Diego I think I shot 74 on Sunday and was way up there and finished 12th or 13th. That wasn't disappointing at all. Then I went to Riviera -- what I'm getting at is in all those tournaments I putted well. You can't come out here unless you're the top ten players on Tour not putt well and do well. So my putting is getting better.
Q. Your mind set from a year ago seems to be way different. Last year a lot of focus about the major Champions Tour with you which some people took as a concession that Freddie doesn't think he can play with the top guys, and now here you are here. Can you talk about how you're viewing things?
FRED COUPLES: That's a great question. You know, last year in a way I wasn't quite convinced that this major Champions Tour was going to be together like, bam, but I thought it would take a couple years, and in that time I would still play, but I played so mediocre the last two years that it's a different -- there's only really one answer for me, and that would be if people are out there saying geez, he's a good player, he needs to practice hard, he needs to compete with the guys on the Tour he's on, that's really not what I was looking at. I was looking at so many guys are struggling and a lot of really, really good players that, in my mind, I felt like we could get together several times throughout a year and play golf in front of a lot of people and not in an exhibition format.
So I wouldn't think if it ever worked that Nick Price would play in this and say I can't beat anyone. I can't put words in his mouth, but he only plays I think 15 times a year. Norman doesn't play much at all. All the older guys don't play well, but I think if they played 15 times on the regular Tour and then eight or nine times went somewhere else, Nick Price would have won probably 50 percent of them. That, to me, was what I was trying to look at, not that I couldn't play golf, that I wanted an easy way out. You know, an easy way out is just to go home or just come out and play golf. I'm not going to miss every cut I play in, I'm going to miss a few cuts but I can still come out here and drive myself nuts.
But from then to this year, I understand why it didn't work. I have no problem that it didn't work, but that's not why I chose to work on my game. Really, as I said, my wife and another gentleman who knows Butch really well said why don't you just go work as hard as you can for a year and see what will happen. You know, I worked hard chipping and putting at the Bob Hope, and I chipped and putted really well. I'm not a big practicer but practice really helps and I can see how top players work really hard. When I did well -- I played a little more, but when I went to tournaments I practiced really hard a few days before, and then when I got to the tournaments. I think a lot of guys, Davis Love when he goes home very rarely plays. He's been a great player forever. Then you get Jay Haas. Jay Haas is having a great year. If you were going to compare other guys you wouldn't compare their careers with Jay. Jay works hard, he's hitting the ball well, but when you look at David Toms and Jim Furyk and watch them bang balls it's ridiculous how much balls they hit. That's what I'm going to try to do for a year and I think I'll enjoy it.
Q. So you're turning into Vijay at 43?
FRED COUPLES: No. I've been home for a month and I played two rounds of golf and my back went out, but I'm really surprised I played this well.
Q. Freddie, you've played pretty consistently for the last three rounds. Is there something with your game that makes you think you can keep this together throughout the major season?
FRED COUPLES: Yeah. I mean, tomorrow I need to keep it together, but if I happen not to, and I haven't really been there in a long time -- I don't think it'll be some horrific day, but this is giving me stuff of promise. You know, I've driven the ball really well, so that's why I've played well for two or three weeks. I hit the ball pretty much where I've looked and putted well, so I don't foresee this unless I stop practicing go that way. I think it's just going to get better and better and I think that's the goal of everybody and that's my goal to kind of flip it around. I'm committed to play Atlanta, I'll go there and practice hard, and I'll get to Augusta. That's what I was really shooting for, but now things have changed but now I'm going to shoot for one great day tomorrow.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you, Fred.
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