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March 29, 2000
LEE PATTERSON: We certainly do appreciate you spending some time with us after a
wonderful morning. A couple of Top-10s so far this year. Good finish Sunday at THE
PLAYERS. You saw the course, maybe just a couple of comments about the state of your game
and what you saw out there today.
FRED COUPLES: Well, I think the course is in excellent shape. Greens are firm and I
guess it is supposed to rain or it might rain which can change that. But my game, IT IS
fair at best. I did play well at San Diego and L.A. and at the other tournaments; actually
hit the ball pretty well. And took a couple weeks off and my back has been bothering me a
little bit and I didn't play all that well at the TPC. I don't feel all that great right
now. Tomorrow is going to be possibly a struggle, but again, I can only - it is not much
to talk about. The course is really, really nice. I can sit here and answer all kinds of
questions about Augusta and everything else, but I am more interested in feeling a little
bit better and playing well this week.
Q. Two weeks in a row is kind of unusual for you. Was that something that you feel like
your back is going to hold out through Sunday at Augusta?
FRED COUPLES: Oh, no, I can -- the pace I go, I played four weeks in a row earlier. I
took three weeks off and then to play the TPC and fly all the way back home and then come
back here would probably not be any better. I thought about playing Bay Hill, taking a
couple of weeks off and playing Bay Hill and TPC and not playing here, but I just felt
like it would be better to be here and play and then get up to Augusta.
Q. Does it kind of take its toll when it is kind of a horrible (inaudible) do you feel
that same --
FRED COUPLES: I don't really recall what exactly happened. I felt great the first nine.
On the 10th fairway, we got a cart ride up from 9 to 10 which is a long ride and it is
cold and I hit a horrible drive on 10th tee; then laid it up; then kind of walked into a
shot. But I play golf in a cart at home all the time, so I don't really know why, but
there is a lot of walking, a lot of walking on cart paths. But I would hope that has
nothing to do with it.
Q. Along those same lines, does this kind of weather aggravate your back condition and
what steps do you take to combat that?
FRED COUPLES: Going from warm weather to a little cold weather today, I came out
yesterday and I just hit a few balls, it was so windy that there was not that much to do
and today it was pretty cold. But again I have played -- it was cold at Pebble Beach and
felt great there. I just think it has been a little bit of a grind and it takes a while to
get better. I don't have -- I have a great guy down the road in Columbus that is coming
up, probably tonight. He was going to come up Friday, but it just doesn't go away over
night. It takes a little bit of time and a lot of times, you know, if it stays warm
tomorrow, I think it will be all right. But if it stays cold, I think it is just going to
Q. Going into next week, there are some guys out on the Tour who won in the past year
and won't be going to Augusta. You obviously went to Augusta after winning your first
tournament. Do you feel for some of these guys who are going to miss out on the chance
FRED COUPLES: Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, you are used to all that, so it is
kind of a shock, you know, that some guys have won a tournament and are not going to play.
But I think down the line, if you are talking about, quote unquote, the top 50 players in
the world, I think are going to be in it and there is a lot of fighting amongst guys from
40th to 70th. I think they will have some problems with a guy who is 51st and doesn't play
the week before or does and loses ground, I mean, the whole thing is a case for anything.
There is no scenario that is perfect. They have been doing it the same forever. So for a
guy who won a tournament, I don't really know any names right now of guys who are not
playing. I don't really pay that close attention to it. But I think it is difficult. I
know if I was a young guy last year and won and they changed it, I would be highly
disappointed. But I have heard guys say that when they win the first thing they talk about
is going to Augusta. Now you are going to get guys talking about being 45th on the money
list, you know, that are going to be doing the same thing. I think it is all going to even
out just not quite the first year. There are going to be people that are going to be
frustrated and there will be guys 52nd on the money list who aren't in or on the Sony
Rankings that aren't in and they are going to be frustrated too.
Q. Does the problems with your back, does it make it harder for you to get excited
FRED COUPLES: Well, if you followed me around last night and today, yeah. I am hitting
the ball 230 yards and hitting a 6-iron 160, so there is not much you can do about it. It
feels like every swing, something bad is going to happen, but I think if I get back and do
a lot of things - I don't play 'til late tomorrow - so, a lot of good things can happen.
But yeah, my back has always been -- not a hinderance because when I hurt it, it seems
like it's pretty difficult to play so then I don't play. Whereas now, I am here, I am
going to play, then I have got Augusta next week, so I am going to try everything I can to
Q. In the past maybe in a couple day period you have gotten better but -- (inaudible)
FRED COUPLES: I think I didn't have great patience last week. I threw away a lot of
shots, but you know, that was my goal this week was to come here and really pay attention
to what I was doing and if I hit the ball well and shot 70 or 72 or whatever, that was
okay. But not to play like I did last week where I stood up on some tees and hit driver
when it was a 3-wood or 2-iron - and I mean, I hit a lot of very good shots and I played a
lot of very bad holes, which can happen at any time, but I need to turn it around and how
I can do that is really by paying more attention not just saying, hey, I am going to go
out and play well, but you kind of have to earn it. I kind of sometimes take it for
granted that I am going to play better than I do and when I get out there it is a
struggle. I don't play like I used to, but I still play well and I still think that when I
hit the ball well that I can basically win any tournament and Augusta would be one that I
really feel comfortable playing; becomes a little bit more of a thought process around
there and I think maybe that would be good.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you.
FRED COUPLES: Thanks.
End of FastScripts