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March 31, 1996

Fred Couples


Q. Freddy, what is your feeling now about 630 grand?

FRED COUPLES: Today it really never crossed my mind. It was kind of a battling day. It was -- I was playing very, very well. Now, I have been thinking about it a while. It is a lot of money. It's a lot more than probably I deserve, but if you win it and that is what you get, I will accept it.

WES SEELEY: You are exempt until 2006.

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, that is scary. I wasn't really planning on applying 'til I was 46, but at least now I will be exempt if I am. I don't really know exactly what to say. I felt great today. I was so far behind. Kind of like, pardon the pun, The Bob Hope Classic, I was in great shape and there are 20 guys that can win. You know, you go out there and you play well and you shoot a 69, you go home in the 15th spot. You know, Rick had said are you hungry to win? Sure. I mean, hungry to some people is banging balls on a Saturday after you are in contention for two hours or showing it differently, but I like to go play well and make my game kind of talk a little bit. And today I hit a lot of great shots. It was fun, you know, I missed some too. I got a lot of breaks. But basically, I hate saying it, but it was a pretty easy 64. And I just -- as I look back, I don't know why, I don't know why I shot it. Every time I stepped up to a driver, I hit a pretty good one. When I didn't, I had an open shot. And when we got all 15 or 16-under, the 16th hole was huge, and I thought Colin Montgomerie was ahead me. When he got to 16-under, I thought he had birdied 16. And my caddie told me he birdied the 14. So I am standing there with this 2-iron and basically trying to hit it close. It was a perfect club. I cut the ball and I actually overcut it, and it was hanging, and I thought it was in the water for sure. And it hung on the edge and kicked down onto the fringe, and not a very hard putt, and it went in. So at that time, that put me in the lead. It was a huge break. Not a bad shot; just turned out lucky. And then 17, you know, I played a semi safe shot and made a very nice putt. I looked up, I was 18-under and they're 15, which made the 18th hole putt a lot easier.

Q. You said 16 was an easy putt?

FRED COUPLES: It was right on the -- I mean, 25 feet, but it was dead flat.

Q. No break?

FRED COUPLES: Very limited, if anything. It kind of went left, and then went to the right. But it was -- you know, there was the big ridge to the left. Everything is -- I was in the right front. It was just as flat as could be.

Q. Is there a sense of relief to win a big tournament; to play so well the last day?

FRED COUPLES: Sure. I mean, I don't know -- you know, the relief is I was out there doing my best and it worked out perfectly for me. Tommy Tolles, I think, played outstanding golf. You know, Colin Montgomerie is a top player in the world, so winning -- the relief really was going out there and hitting good shots and making the putts, and I had a few three and four, five-footers for pars. You know, it is a relief to continue to make them. I miss my share, but today I made most of those. And when I hit a good shot, I made a birdie, and I think that -- when I was done, I just climbed my way up the leaderboard and got the lead and -- you know, and I finished off strong. So I have done it before. I have also not done it before. So any time you win a tournament, you know, that night, it is -- it is a nice feeling. What you try and do, and maybe in the past screwing up a tournament, I try to figure out in my own way how I could not do that. For a while there I succeeded. I practiced. And then I have not been able to practice the last couple of years very much. So to win here is really -- you know, it is a nice turning point.

Q. You thought Montgomerie was playing ahead of you and not behind you?

FRED COUPLES: Yes. Which at that time, when I was walking down the 16, I hit my second shot. We got to the ball. You could see across the water through the 16th green. There was a board there and he was 16-under, and I think Tommy Tolles was also. And I knew where Tommy was, but I told Joe "Colin must have birdied 16." He said "no, he birdied 14, he is on the 14th hole." So I knew we were both 10-under, but I thought he was ahead of me today.

Q. Any particular reaction to being the first person to win this tournament twice since it moved to Jacksonville?


Q. Is it that tough to win twice?

FRED COUPLES: Well, I think it hasn't been a whole lot of years, you know. Is it that tough? I think it is a tough tournament. It's got a terrific field. Over the years, you know, most of the so-called good players were the ones that go on to be good. I mean, when I won -- when I won, I was certainly not a great player, but I think it has helped me go on to be a good player. A 10-year exemption certainly can save one. Tommy Tolles, if he could have won to have ten years -- he is a good player. I don't think we were too much different. I mean, he is coming on now. I had won the tournament the year before, but I think ten years is what really kind of helped me out when I was 24 years old. Now to be the first guy to win two times here, I mean, it gives me another trophy and a bunch of crystal, and the money, but I am at a point where, you know, everyone says it, you try and win and it is much better winning this. And even if I had won it three other times, to win after the last couple of years...

Q. Talk about the shot at -- second shot at 18. And did you know where you stood?

FRED COUPLES: I did. You know, I didn't know, again, if Colin had gotten his up-and-down.

Q. You knew he was behind you now? (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I watched him. I hit a second shot in the water. You know, when I got to my ball and saw it was a pretty good lie, I knew that I was not going to not overcut it and hit it in the water. It was basically "how far right was I going to miss it?" Tommy Tolles -- again, I -- when you watch, he had the same shot. I thought I was a couple of shots ahead on the tee. It is still an uncomfortable tee shot for me because I don't really draw the ball, and I just hit it straight, pushed it out to the right. But, you know, not the end of the world. When I got there, I just took another club. I hit a 2-iron from I think 212 to the hole, and I just played a big banana shot and actually hit it right where I was trying to hit it, which was on the right side of the green. It hit and stayed in that little swell, and lagged it up there very close and made par.

Q. You never thought about laying up?

FRED COUPLES: I really didn't because one shot that I have no problem hitting is a fade or a slice, and I really think if I went out there and hit ten more, four, five would be on the green and four, five would be further right. It just was not that difficult of a shot. You know, I have had enough of them. But to fade it -- at that time it might have seemed harder, but when you are standing there and, you know, you don't want to go left because you drop it way back and all that. I thought chipping the ball down the fairway was not quite the smartest shot. I just felt like it was a pretty easy shot.

Q. Talk about the putt at 17.

FRED COUPLES: The putt at 17, you know, it was just -- I was trying to roll it down there. It was extremely fast. A lot of things go through your mind when you are surveying it. You look. I didn't like the way it looked coming back into the grain, and I have a tendency to hit up on putts. And when you are into the grain, they will bounce a little bit. So I felt like I could trickle it down there maybe a couple of feet, short at worst, but I was not going to have it go four, five by. And it went in just trickling, so it was perfect.

Q. How long was it?

FRED COUPLES: It was probably 25, 30 feet.

Q. Do you feel like you have turned the corner with your putter in the last four, five, six months?

FRED COUPLES: I put a new grip on it, a real thin, thin grip. It felt better. I did that Tuesday. For me, I did a lot of things. I had a new 3-wood and new sand wedge; a new 2, 3 and 4-iron, and new grip on my putter. And I played with the same clubs for five straight years or longer. So you look back, I mean, that is, again, something I felt like might help me to use a thinner grip on the putter. You know, the last six months I felt like in 1991, '92 and '93 I was a great putter, with a lot, you know, missed putts. But it all depends when you are missing putts and you feel like you are stroking them well, that is totally different than when you hit a putt like I did on 11. I mean, that, you really want to tap it in and crawl into the cup and not let anyone see it. It is just a bad feeling. You know, I mean, a putt that does not go in doesn't necessarily mean you choked. But when you miss a putt that badly, it is nerves and all those things, and I just tried to totally flip-flop whatever was going through my mind walking down the 12th fairway. Am I a better putter now? I don't think so. I just think some days I really feel comfortable and other days, you know, honestly I don't. And it is unfortunate that -- you know, I win tournaments, obviously, because I putt well and I lose them because I don't. I mean, that is the way my game is. I am a much better ball-striker now. I wish I could putt like I was when I was 24, but that is not going to happen.

Q. How loud was the crowd out there when you --

FRED COUPLES: They were pretty loud. It was great. The 18th was certainly fun to walk up and accept the applause. Again, I have not -- you know, Ryder Cup was a thrill last year to play on and it was very loud, but last year, I don't think I had too many chances. This year at Riviera, which is, as you know, my favorite spot, it was pretty noisy, but basically today was a long time waiting today and I feel good because of the way I played.

Q. Fred, any parallels to be drawn from the shot at 16 today that you said was somewhat lucky that stayed dry and the shot at The Masters --

FRED COUPLES: I think the shot at The Masters was real, real, real, real, real lucky. The one today ....(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) It carried just far enough. I mean, it was on line. You know, it hit close to the water, but I mean, the pin was over there. I just overcut it and you know, the one at Augusta I thought was there -- is not that much time to think, it was in the water and the one I hit today, I thought was in the water. Neither of them went in.

Q. Do you care about things, about world rankings? I mean, all of a sudden four, five other players people talk and your name hasn't been included in that little group. Do you care about things like that?

FRED COUPLES: No, I don't. I would love to play like this. I think if I continue to play like this, I will work my way back into winning tournaments, but I am not one, you know, for jealousy -- I am jealous in a few areas, but golf is not one of them. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) It is not a big deal to me if a young kid was to win today and beat me and win 630,000 his first tournament; nor is it a big deal if Greg Norman would have won. I think I am a good golfer. I think I am great at times. If I am 50th on the Sony Rankings, that just means I have really slipped. If I am, you know, in the top 10 or 12 after the last couple of years, I don't think that is too bad. But I don't sit and look at it every other week to see where I stand. Where I stand is that I know that if I don't play a lot and practice, I really physically can't beat Nick Price and Greg Norman and Montgomerie all the time or ever. I keep bringing it up in '92 and 3 and 1, those were the best playing years that I have ever have and probably will ever have, but I am playing much better this year and I really thought -- than I really thought, and I am moving my way back up on the money list. That is more important to me than the Sony Rankings, really. I would love to be one of the top players on our TOUR because that is kind of really what I strive for.

Q. Are you afraid that your back is going to prevent you from being a great player?

FRED COUPLES: You know, to answer that quickly, yes, the first time I heard it was kind of not that big a deal. Then when it went bad last year, I really had thoughts of maybe this isn't quite, you know, what I had in mind and I really feel good now. This gentleman, Tom Boers, actually came in Wednesday -- or, excuse me, Tuesday. I felt horrible, played a practice round. He flew in from Georgia Tuesday night, and, you know, it really helped. I felt great Wednesday and you know, he has helped out an awful lot. Fortunately, if he hadn't have come in, you know, I would have probably gone to see him, so he had saved me a day of playing and time and everything, so I owe a great deal to him; especially the last six or eight months.

Q. Do you still see him every three weeks?

FRED COUPLES: You know, this time he came in to see me and I will see him Tuesday night or Wednesday in Atlanta.

Q. Does it make you feel better playing Augusta? Does this put you back into the spotlight and make it tougher for you to prepare? What does it do for you?

FRED COUPLES: I think it certainly helps. I am pretty edgy. I feel like I am playing good, but when I tee off, I am -- I am not quite in full control and I think this is going to help. I am playing Atlanta. I'd love to get in there and bear down and do well there and get to Augusta and have Thursday come real fast. I mean, to be honest, I am going to regret Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, because they are long days and it is practicing; not anything else going on. It is just when you are ready to go, you want to go and I think you can really make these Majors a long week. You still need to practice and prepare, but I look forward to teeing off Thursday and when I say that it is because now I feel like you know, I can do it. Whereas, before, again, bringing it up, when I teed off, I knew I was going to shoot 69 or 70. Now, I kind of earn it. I don't know what I am going to shoot when I start and it doesn't mean I am going to shoot 75, but I am not as comfortable teeing off. So when you go from the practice range to the first tee, and you feel like you are going to be 3-under par at the end of the day, that is a good feeling.

Q. Paul flew in. Did you guys work on something in particular, or --

FRED COUPLES: Well, basically, my teacher was you know, in Orlando doing a golf show and I asked him to come down Thursday morning just in case he saw something that he could tell me today versus seeing it Monday at Augusta. I have not seen him in a while. He really didn't say much. He told me to do one thing with my putting which I went against him because it felt comfortable but basically, swing-wise, he just talked and it is kind of subtle. He just says you are swinging good; have a good time and he watched 15 holes and then he left and went home, so I can't wait to give him a call. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

Q. Where does today rank in your all-time great rounds?

FRED COUPLES: I would say this tournament ranks, you know, right there as the best tournament I have had. It was perfect timing.

Q. Why did you make all these equipment changes this week and how do you feel about teeing up Thursday?

FRED COUPLES: The putter felt like the grip I had was way too big. The 3-wood I have been driving the ball so well that I needed to get rid of that 3-wood that I had. It was basically a mini-driver and I used to use it a lot driving, so now I put in another 3-wood and I actually hit four or five par fives this week with it in two and I hit great shots. So it was a good switch. As you know, the long irons, I am with Lynx and the Black Cats, I felt like I wasn't hitting them as well as I was when I brought them out six or seven months ago and so I went back to my old 2, 3 and 4-iron and I hit them pretty well. My sand wedge took over - the grooves wore out, so I put in a new sand wedge.

Q. At what point did you know you had this thing, was it on 17 green and you saw Colin walking along --

FRED COUPLES: No, actually when I got to 18, and Tommy didn't birdie 16, because he if he birdies there, you can birdie 17 and 18 - it is a rare feat, but, you know, I still had my work cut out parring 18. When I parred 18, then I knew it was over.

Q. You said this was the best tournament you have ever had. Better than The Masters?

FRED COUPLES: At this time, yeah.

Q. Fairly or unfairly, you probably have drawn as much or more attention for money and success won away from the PGA TOUR as on it. Is there any ego gratification for kind of reestablishing yourself in these kind of events?

FRED COUPLES: I don't think I am a rebel kind, but -- (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) -- but I made this comment the other day, that when you go into -- no one practices or plays when they get to these tournaments. The Skins game, and Shark Shoot-Out and Kapalua, no one practices; that is right up my alley. I know it is being funny, but I look at it as they are all in the same boat I am and it is to my advantage. Now, why do I play in them? I like to play in them. Do I much rather win the TPC or the Phoenix Open or L.A.? No question. I would, you know, I think I have enough money to get me by, God willing, that something happens and I don't play in the off-season to really try and make 200,000 or 800,000. But it just happens that way and I think it is because it is the end of the year and, pardon the pun, no one really cares and I don't either. I just go and beat them. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) It is an even feeling and I mean, I think that way and out here, I just made the comment "this is the best one I have ever had" because I really think I am back and I think I am, you know, slowly proving myself; if I feel good, I can beat everybody.

Q. Do you think you are proving that to a lot of people in tournaments -- do you think this will help prove --

FRED COUPLES: I don't really care what people write or say. I do what I want to do because I enjoy doing it. You know, I mean, you guys write and you do your deal. Some of it is upsetting, but some of it is no big deal. For me, you know, when I play the PGA TOUR, I play 20 events. If I play terrible in those, you know, the off-season doesn't mean anything. I wouldn't be in any of these tournaments so I must play pretty well, but it doesn't matter. This is no -- doesn't make me feel better to win this because people think I played and make a lot of money in November. I think if that is what you are asking, it doesn't you know -- doesn't matter.

Q. Does this validate also your schedule going to Dubai and all that? Does that make all that seem --


Q. What did the doctor do for you?

FRED COUPLES: He just rotates me a little bit. It is real subtle. I mean, if you watched it, you'd say "are you done" and that is.

Q. How long does it take?

FRED COUPLES: 20 minutes.

Q. Is he an orthopedist?

FRED COUPLES: Physical therapist, the spine. This is fun. I can stay here all day, but I mean Dubai and all this, I mean, rest assure, I really play the PGA TOUR to play the PGA TOUR. Five years from now I may never be picked to play in the Shark Shoot-Out or the Skins Game or Dubai and if I get the chance, I don't see why I shouldn't. I mean, I don't know if anyone here agrees but I think to answer that, I feel lucky that I get a chance to go play that a lot of people would love to go pay -- love to go play and I enjoy it. I wouldn't go if I didn't like it.

Q. You said you are slowly proving that if you are feeling healthy you can be a lot -- isn't that why you are slowly proving that to yourself more than anybody else?

FRED COUPLES: I think I am proving it to myself that I can walk around and play 18 holes and feel good. I mean, when I play bad, I don't look and say, "geez, my back let me down." I mean, it is not like that. Whereas, last year, I played a lot and my back was really horrible. I mean, there were a lot of shots I hit everywhere. I played this week, you know, you didn't hit really too many bad, bad shots and I think a lot of that has to do with standing over the ball and feeling comfortable and swinging and letting your body go the way it normally does and a lot of times my back has a tendency to stiffen then not let me do that.

WES SEELEY: Can we go birdies.

FRED COUPLES: Sure, third hole I hit a 7-iron, 20 feet, made it. Fifth hole, hit 6-iron, three feet, made it. 7th, hit a wedge, 25 feet.


FRED COUPLES: 6, excuse me. 8, I hit a 4-iron to, two, two and a half feet, made it. 12, I hit a sand wedge, about six feet, made it. Then 16, 25-footer for eagle. 2-iron to the green. 17 I hit a 9-iron.

Q. Where were you aiming at 17?

FRED COUPLES: On 17, left of the green. No left to the green; not even looking at the pin, just trying to cut it in there.

Q. 220?

FRED COUPLES: You know, yeah, big old fade and I started at the middle of the green and it kind of cut over there to the right edge of the water.

Q. 220?


Q. I am sorry, I thought you said 17.

FRED COUPLES: I am sorry 16. 17, I was aiming pretty much where it went. There is a small little ridge and I flew it a little too far and it was an uncomfortable shot at first. It was a weird yardage. They put the tee way to the left which they had never done. It was like 137 yards or something to the pin and that, you know, when you are a little jumpy, a 9-iron which Scott Gump did after me, hit it over and I kind of chipped it perfectly and it flew in the back part of the green and stopped up at the tier. But, I mean, it was, you know, I felt I just felt good over the shot and I hit it where I was looking which was safe.

Q. You scrambled quite a bit on number 2. Can you go through 2?

FRED COUPLES: I did. I was going to say, earlier, number 2, I hit 2 great shots in the first hole and missed a fairly makeable birdie put. Second hole I drove it in the right trees, up by a root. I was trying to go over the palmetto bush and under some other trees and maneuver it up the fairway. I thinned it right into the palmetto bush. It trickled into the rough. From there I had 220. I cut a 3-iron in front of the green and in the left rough, not too bad, and chipped it to about six feet, and a huge putt. To make bogey there is -- that would not have been good.

Q. What was the first time either today or this week, first time you had an inclining that you might win this week?

FRED COUPLES: Probably on the back 9, you know, early in the back 9 I think, you know, I was still a couple behind Tommy and Colin was playing a good round. Obviously, when I was going up 16 I was a shot behind and I knew I needed to birdie 16 and when I made that, I really got a rush, but I would say the back 9, I knew I was in the thick of things and maybe someone else would come up, but I felt like the three of us would -- someone would get to 17-under. I was really trying to get to 17-under.

Q. Fred, on Thursday with the two rain delays you said the second delay wasn't comfortable for you and if you had to come back out and play it would have been bad. "Bad", playing the way you wanted to play, or "bad" just to be able to stay in the tournament?

FRED COUPLES: Well, I think it would have been difficult. It would have been bad for me scorewise. The first time it was very quick and then you know, a lot of walking. We had to go all the way back to 9, all that. I just felt like one more and then going out for basically three-and-a-half, four more holes. I felt like it would have been a tough situation.

Q. Last winter when you were playing well and winning the money in the off-season events, you seemed to think when you would talk about -- when you talked about your play there you would talk about "I am able to win these kind of events, but I don't think I am at a level where I can sustain it in a 72 hole tournament." What has changed since then? Is it all just the health or is it confidence or --

FRED COUPLES: You know, I always have confidence in my game. I have said that a lot. There are other times where it seems easy. And the more I can play and the better I can play, the more I'd like to play. When I am playing poorly, I have the tendency not, you know, to skip tournaments and I am playing Atlanta next week, basically because I felt like I was playing some good golf and I wanted to be ready for Augusta, so it is a perfect timing here. To answer your question about, you know, the off-season, you know, we won the World Cup with Davis, I mean, he lapped the field with this Sasaki fellow. They went to a playoff. I was on his team and we won that. But I did play well. I didn't really think I could come into the PGA TOUR this year and really win a tournament. Maybe Riviera because it is my favorite tournament, and I came very close. I think I am back to playing well. But, yeah, I mean health is a huge deal. I still don't practice -- I tried to last week for a couple of hours one day and woke up the next day feeling terrible. And I basically took it easy and then I played a little golf Friday and Saturday and when I came in here I felt like I had played a little bit of golf. I just played the week before in Dubai, so I felt like rounds for me are better than practicing. Taking a week off and practicing is not going to do me a lot of good. If I could play in a tournament and play four rounds, I think that is how I am going to get my game back. So I am trying to play a little more this year, but schedule it to where it is -- I am not going to have like three weeks off at home where I totally forget how to play.

Q. It seems like last, you know, being a great player, there is one problem with it for you: You didn't like the attention. Are you ready to be back and do this again?

FRED COUPLES: Well, if I go win The Masters or win Atlanta, then you know, I will come hunt you guys down. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) I mean, there is a lot of other guys out there, you know -- there were two guys David Duval and Tommy Tolles, I think it would be rough on those guys. I don't think it is that difficult anymore. I mean, it was a rush job for me, and I am a little bit different than that. I like to do my own deal and you know, if they want you for 20 minutes in the media I usually say "have a good time." The last couple of years, I haven't done this at all. So it is kind of fun. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

Q. In the ceremony on the green you said - I don't know if you meant this, maybe you just kind of got caught in a word trap. You said you'd rather win this tournament than any other.

FRED COUPLES: What I meant to say this was the best win I have ever had, kind of like that and it came out that, I mean, The Masters is the biggest one I have ever had. I would say that before that, this tournament, but this is the biggest win I think I have had. I think the Masters, I was one of the top players at the time and I don't think I am too far now, but to win here really shows me that I cannot still play, I can win.

Q. So are you saying this is the biggest win of your career?

FRED COUPLES: I am saying that, yeah. Out there I said this was the best tournament. The tournament I'd like to win more than any or something like that. But this is the biggest. I'd rather win The Masters than the TPC. And I think out there I said "this is a tournament I'd rather win more than any;" is that right?

Q. But here you are saying -- (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

Q. -- is the biggest win because of the timing of it, like the comeback?


Q. The other guys both mentioned that when you made the eagle at 16. It was impossible not to know what you had done because of the crowd noise. Maybe they were even a little rattled by it. I wondered if that conversely gives you a big boost just from that swell of noise and everything?

FRED COUPLES: I think it gives the player a boost. I think if it had gone the opposite, you know, it rattles you for a split second. You know, flip-flopping it, I mean, as we are finding out, Colin was behind me to make -- on his second shot. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) He tried to do a little bit more. I mean, I would do the same thing. You don't want to hit it in the water, but you don't want to blast it way to the left. I didn't see his shot. I don't know if it was close or way in the water, but it can make you maybe do something else differently. If you look back on it, I mean, for instance, if you would have hit it on the green and 2-putted and I had bogeyed 18, then we could have tied, instead I eagle it. Maybe make him try and do a little bit more. He hits it in the water, he makes bogey, I mean, basically if I play the 18th hole well, I have won. And that is the way it came out. So, I mean, you are right in a sense, it makes you change a little bit. I have done it a zillion times; you try to be a little bit more aggressive because now you are behind, but in reality, he could probably hit the green eight out of ten times, 2-putt for birdie, now he is tied. So, you know, a lot goes through your mind, you are ahead the whole day and now you are behind.

Q. After the miss at 11, were you really ticked off, and did that kind of motivate you for the rest of the way?

FRED COUPLES: Yeah. I mean, it, basically -- you know, it is embarrassing. At that time it was too good of a round you, know. I mean, a three-footer or four-footer, but this was like straight in from two feet. And I am not saying I have never missed any, but at that time it is one that you don't really want to walk away with. And the putt at the next hole was very big. I made about a five-footer for par on 13 and about a four-footer for par on 14. So all of those at that time kept me going.

Q. There is a picture on the wall out here when you last won here, I guess you were 24 or something, you had the 5th Beatle look. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) I was wondering how your approach has changed since then. Do you remember back then how your approach --

FRED COUPLES: I think that just happened. That picture is up there because it was -- maybe, like, Tommy would have won, it just kind of happens. It didn't come in here. I didn't expect the last round that year to beat all those guys. But anything can happen. You know, now the picture is going to be a lot older and, you know, shorter hair, but I think that is great. I think golf, you know, it is a game where it can come at a long period of time when you are 20 to 40, there is not many sports you can do that and I think one thing that I have done is I have played good golf since I have come out on TOUR and that has been for 16 years now. I think that -- has really helped me personally. It makes things a little easier, but when I look back at that I kind of laughed. We were at the Players dinner and Tawnya, they showed us -- it is red cheeks; looked like I was 10; not 24. Now I look like I am 70. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) But I think I am a much better player. I don't even think there is even a comparison.

Q. Better wardrobe?

FRED COUPLES: Much better. I didn't get to choose my clothing back then. They just kind of got it. Now I, at least, get a little choice.

Q. You didn't choose that polyester?

FRED COUPLES: Did I choose it, yes.

Q. What makes you jealous, Fred?

FRED COUPLES: Tawnya can probably let you know.

Q. Why does Tawnya say that you proposed "the Fred Couples way?" (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

FRED COUPLES: Is that what she said? Probably that I gave her a ring, but it didn't mean anything. To most people, when they give rings, it means you are probably getting engaged and getting married. Some day we will probably get married. Not real close, not real far. (WAIVING HAND BACK AND FORTH).

Q. Didn't you just drop it in her hand and really not say anything?

FRED COUPLES: Is that what she is saying?

Q. That is what I heard.

FRED COUPLES: No, no. It was -- you know, it was a real quick "here you go." (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) "Close your eyes." Probably a very poor way in taste, but if she is mad, I don't think -- I don't think she'd still be here. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

WES SEELEY: Anything else folks?

FRED COUPLES: All right. Thanks.

End of FastScripts.....

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