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April 18, 2007

Chris Couch


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Chris, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. I know you're a little disappointed that you can't defend at English Turn, but it's pretty nice to be the defending champion anyways. Talk a little bit about being in that position for the first time here on the PGA TOUR. I know you've done it several other places.
CHRIS COUCH: It's a lot different. I've gotten a lot of attention this week, and the crowd has been great. I remember the crowd being great last year, and they've been just as good this year. I'm glad to be back here in New Orleans, and looking forward to defending, even though it's not at the same course. Still looking forward to it.
I said a little joke to my caddie, it always seemed like on the Nationwide Tour when I won one, they changed the course the next year, too, so it must be a conspiracy or something, I don't know.

Q. You've played this morning already?

Q. What's your evaluation of the course?
CHRIS COUCH: It's a good course. It's got a lot of good holes. It's long, and it's playing very long right now because of that rain last night, getting no roll off the tee and the greens are pretty firm, so I think it's going to play pretty difficult.

Q. How does it set up for your game?
CHRIS COUCH: Good for my game. I hit the ball long and carry it a long ways. I didn't hit it particularly well today. I need to go out to the range and work on it, but hopefully we'll figure that out.

Q. Is it more difficult to win the first time out on TOUR or to win the second one?
CHRIS COUCH: I'll let you know after I win the second one (laughter). I always think the first win is the hardest. When I was on the Nationwide and I won my first tournament, it was definitely the hardest, just knowing that you can do it.
I've always thought that a lot of people are afraid to win, and that's partly the problem. I think I had that problem for a long time and kind of just told myself, yeah, you know, you're scared to win, why don't you prove it to yourself that you can do it, and that's when I won on the Nationwide Tour, or buy.com it was called back then. The first one is definitely the hardest, I think.

Q. You said something funny about a lot of guys being afraid to win. What was the thing that you wrote on your golf ball?
CHRIS COUCH: Yeah, I had a spelling on my ball -- Mike used to caddie for me, by the way. I had a spelling on my golf ball, it was BATL, B-A-T-L, be afraid to lose. So I took the opposite approach. I was trying to be more afraid to lose than afraid to win because I think for a while I was afraid to win.

Q. What did you change, or did you change the writing on the ball at all?
CHRIS COUCH: Have I since?

Q. Yeah.
CHRIS COUCH: Now I have a cross on the ball. I'm playing for different reasons now.

Q. Any holes strike you on this course as particularly interesting, unique, any holes that you recall?
CHRIS COUCH: The designer is Pete Dye, right?

Q. Yeah.
CHRIS COUCH: I just wanted to make sure I was right about that. It's typical Pete Dye, 9 and 18 right along the water, long par 3s, lots of hills around the greens, 250-yard waste bunkers. I don't know, you know, this is a great piece of land, and there's some really good holes out here and they've made some changes I heard that were really good, and I think they're going in the right direction with this golf course.

Q. Tim was talking yesterday about your getting the No. 1 locker, he's getting the No. 2 locker. You're the defending champion here, but he won here at this golf course. Good-natured?
CHRIS COUCH: Oh, yeah, Tim is a good buddy of mine. I told him, I said, I don't know who the defending champion is this week. I think it's more you than it is me, being that he won on this golf course the last time it was played here.
But, you know, I just happened to win it last year. We joked about it this week.

Q. Let me just follow up on Mike's question about the BATL. When did you stop putting that on your ball, after you won here?
CHRIS COUCH: No, in 2004 I was on TOUR, had an awful year, and -- did you caddie for me in 2005?

Q. 2005.
CHRIS COUCH: I had an awful year in 2004, and I was ready to just give the game up. I just wasn't enjoying it. I just kind of -- I told God -- I had a little talk with Him and said that I dedicate the game to Him and I'd play only for Him, and that's what I do now, and I have a lot more fun.
So I took the BATL off the ball. I still have that thought, be afraid to lose, but I think now that I just go out there and I try to walk the course with God and do my best for Him, and I don't really care about the outcome anymore.

Q. Being afraid to lose, do you think that stood in the way of you perhaps winning earlier on TOUR?
CHRIS COUCH: No, I didn't have whole lot of opportunities to win out here. I don't think my game was quite ready. Last year I had a few chances, and I won one of them, and I'd like to get a few more chances this year and maybe pull out one. My goal is to get back to Kapalua next year, and hopefully I'll do that.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Chris.

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