|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
March 30, 1996
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
WES SEELEY: 66, 72, 68; 206 for 10-under par, Fred Couples.
How did it go and when did you start getting wet?
FRED COUPLES: I think Corey and I were about the fifth hole.
You know, it was tough. I am very surprised at the scoring.
I think it is great. You know, I mean, I played with one of
the best players in the world, and he struggled out there, and
I happened to play what I thought was a pretty good round. And
I am not really picking up a whole lot of ground, I am picking
up some places, but I think from the start with the Phil Mickelson
and McCallister and Rocco and a couple of other guys shooting
these 4, 6, 7, 8-unders got everyone thinking it is not that tough
out there. I just felt like the course was -- if you can hit and
stay dry, I don't wear gloves, neither does Corey, and I kind
of struggled holding onto the club. It took me a while to hit
every shot. But in reality, I think, the course played pretty
easy, just the weather was a factor. And if you can stay dry
enough, you know, you can stay patient and not get you know,
-- I mean, I think just looking at my group with Corey, I think
he struggled -- he got wet. He didn't make a birdie and I seemed
to hit some pretty good shots, and end up with a good score.
Birdied the 5th with a drive and 7-iron, ten feet. 9, I made
about a 30-footer for par. I laid it up, down the left side and
the pin was in the back and hooked it with a sand wedge around
the tree, kind of, and I hit it too hard. It went in the back
bunker with no shot and skipped it 30 feet by and made it. And
then on 11, I hit a driver and 3-wood about 10 feet; 2-putted
for birdie. 12, I hit a driver and sand wedge 10 or twelve feet,
made it. 14, I drove it to the right in the moguls or the hill
and hacked it down out of there down in the bunker about 50 yards
short of the green and blasted that out 30 feet and 2-putted for
bogey. And 16, pulled the drive into the trees in the cart path
and it got through it all and rolled all the way out where I had
a 6-iron to the green. I hit it on 20 feet and 2-putted. And
18, hit 3-wood and 4-iron about 12 or 14 feet.
Q. Ever hit a 6-iron at 16 before?
FRED COUPLES: A couple times, but not on a day like this. Last
year I think when it was hard and fast, I believe I even maybe
hit a 7-iron in there, but it was -- you know, as I told Joe,
it is probably at least the one shot --a one-shot swing, you know.
It wasn't a good drive. It was definitely pulled. I was trying
to draw and I just pull-hooked it and to get down there and have
it sitting perfect with a 6-iron is very lucky.
Q. Are you pretty pleased with the way you are hitting the
ball now the last couple of days?
FRED COUPLES: Last time I saw anybody was at Doral and I felt
great. I just didn't play very well the very first day there,
and got way behind and still left with the idea I was -- I thought
I was hitting the ball fine and I still do, you know, so far,
this week it has been challenging the first day. We had a delay
and then came back out at 7:00 and finished that up and I think,
you know, all this is good to see -- my back seems to be fine.
Today was cold and wet and brutal. I played in the rain gear
to try and stay warm; didn't seem to have too much problems.
So my game, I think, is pretty good and my health is probably
at, you know, on an 80 or 85 percent range. I really feel good.
That is why each week I go in, I don't really feel like -- I feel
like I am going to play good, and it would be nice to say that
and play good four rounds, but I am really not quite there yet.
I mean, I seem to play a little sloppy one day and for me, yesterday,
I finished up and birdied my first two holes of the second round
and really felt like I was going to tear it up and ended up shooting
even par. It is sloppy. And it would be nice to tidy everything
up and not shoot 68 every round, but to play a good round and
shoot even par is a lot different than playing where the next
day you come out and you are a little bit unsure of how you are
going to play.
Q. Playing Atlanta?
FRED COUPLES: I am going to Atlanta, yeah.
Q. Fred, with all the first-time winners in the last three
weeks and you look up the Leaderboard, you see Tolles, and Michael
Bradley, and some of those guys up there, you have won here; it
was your second win, I believe, but -- can a first timer win here?
FRED COUPLES: Sure, I think Bay Hill is a very, very difficult
course. I think Eagle Trace is difficult, and New Orleans I played
one time. I think that is difficult. TPC is a bigger tournament
and it is one of those deals. I mean, if Tommy Tolles or Michael
Bradley come out and they don't play well tomorrow, it is not
the end of the world. But for three days -- and Tommy is playing
great. Michael Bradley has been playing great of late, so you
know, it is not like I am going to sit there tomorrow and worry
about guys that have won before that are maybe 10 or 11 under.
I mean Tommy Tolles is playing some great golf. I think whether
he has never won before, you know, he is the guy to catch, and
if you look at it in a way where if the weather is good, you think
he could be 15 or 16 under before he is done today, I don't know.
But you know, if he doesn't and he comes out tomorrow realistically
and plays good at all, I have no chance. So I think it is great.
I'd like to see everyone -- I am no Jack Nicklaus, but it is
fun to have a taste of having a shot at winning when you read
the article of Michael Bradley at Doral, it is fun to read that.
You don't ever read a guy that shoots 75 the last day, because
normally he finishes up and he goes and obviously, he felt the
pressure, but you lose to Greg Norman; there is not a whole lot
to hang your head low about. So all these first-timers, it is
either going to happen or it is not. And right now, there is
a lot of good young players, obviously, I mean, Tim Herron led
from the start; Scott McCarron, I have actually seen him play.
He is very good. He is -- I don't think he played very good
this week, but there is a little bit of a high of winning your
first tournament and kind of not feeling a whole lot your second
Q. With so much at stake at this tournament, the 10 year
exemption and the prize money, and on a course that everyone --
a lot of these young guys know so well, is that likely to be anymore
pressure for them than winning Honda or New Orleans?
FRED COUPLES: Sure. They may not know there is a 10 year exemption,
but I am sure when they get in here I am sure it is going to be
brought up. All that runs through your mind. 630,000 that will
make you race a little bit too. But it is the same for everybody.
I couldn't care less about a 10 year exemption. I couldn't care
less about 630,000, but that is not going to make it any easier
for me tomorrow if I was tied with Tommy Tolles. I am a ways
back, but that all comes with being there a few times. And you
know, the fact is that I can go out there and play a great round
and so can Tommy Tolles or Michael Bradley. They are just as
capable as I am. It is not like that they are going to fall
apart tomorrow. So the exemptions, all that, it could be a part
of struggling, but I think this course will make you struggle
more than anything. And today, it is pretty peaceful out there.
It is wet. But it is not that difficult.
Q. 630,000 is like a bad November for you; isn't it?
FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, yeah, that is not nearly enough.
(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) Oddly enough, I don't know, that is a lot
of money to play for. I think it is great. This is our biggest
tournament. I see no reason why if it can be bumped up, we shouldn't
play for it. But it would be nice to win here and the Tour Championship
and the World Series, you would have a pocket full of money and
some big victories. But it's amazing last year 5-under won; this
year 5-under is going to be 35th place just because of a little
rain. It is just too bad, because last year I don't remember
-- I was nowhere near. I think I shot 73 every round, but it
was a struggle doing that. It was a lot more challenging seeing
the leaders. I remember watching them, you know, trying to make
pars and now, I think, for us, you can't stop the weather, but
it is unfortunate because I think tournaments are more fun when
you are close to par than when you are 18 under or 16 under.
WES SEELEY: Anything else?
Q. Do you have a TV staked out for the game tonight?
FRED COUPLES: Right now I am going to see a therapist and I
am watching that clock (pointing to clock) And I am going to watch
a night of basketball.
End of FastScripts.....