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February 15, 2008

Fred Couples


Q. You and Steve Lowery were the only two we saw lay up on 10. Why is it better to do that?
FRED COUPLES: You know, it got to the point where I think if you look back on a lot of years in a row -- I always teased Joey that I owned the hole. I have played it pretty well, and yesterday I opened up with a 2-iron to the left and it was a perfect yardage and I hit a sand wedge to about two feet and made birdie.
Then today, I just felt like -- I saw where the pin was, and I don't know if to the green has gotten more slope over there now, but I just figured I needed to lay it up as close to that bunker as I could; where Steve didn't have much of a shot. He hit just short of the green and with the slope.
One of the best shots I hit all day was a 65-yard shot and that was on 10 just to keep it on the green.

Q. Doug Ferguson noticed that's one of the few holes he'll see guys walking back looking to see what other guys are doing; what is it about that hole?
FRED COUPLES: Well, today I think it was the pin. You look back and you see where a guy is going to hit his second shot from. Daniel Chopra hit 3-wood and pulled it and got up on that tee which was perfect and he could hit one with a little spin.
If you're good enough to hit a driver, 3-wood, almost pin-high or just past pin-high to the left in the rough, then you're perfect. If not, anyone going to the right is going to hit it in the front bunker or back bunker. There's no other spot to go. A lot of lay-ups -- I think tomorrow when we look back, I think it's going to play over par. It's 310 yards; it's going to play over par easily.

Q. Is 10 a great hole or a bad hole?
FRED COUPLES: No, I think it's a great hole. When you get it downwind, it gets pretty hard but now that the ball is going so far, in the early 80s, there were only a handful of guys that would go for that green with driver. So now most people can drive it near the green and it may play harder.

Q. So have you discovered something with your putting that you weren't too happy with before?
FRED COUPLES: No. I just like the greens. I know them pretty well. You know, I missed a lot of greens, the front nine, and they weren't the toughest of chip shots and I chipped them up there pretty close, so you know, I'm making a lot of 3-, 4-, 5-footers. I did change putters, I don't know. A guy that made putters a long time ago gave them to me and I don't even know the name of the company.

Q. We know how old you are chronologically, but how about your back; is it younger or still the same?
FRED COUPLES: No, it's 48. I've got a heat pack on it right now which feels good. But I think, you know, this will be a nice year. If I can get through it I'll be very happy about that.
But basically, you know, might have been a good thing to not play much last year and really rest it and do, I worked with a handful of people until I finally think I found someone that's been good.

Q. A tough stretch for you playing all these events. It seems like it's working out just the way you wanted it to.
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, actually, I played well at Phoenix. I putted really, really bad, and it's not all putting -- every time I play bad, it's not putting, but there I really hit the ball well.
You know, took a week off and worked on my game, enough. Like you said, I played three in a row and I didn't really want to overdo it that early, so I just played every other day and then I came here. I love the course.
So even when I'm not really playing well, I still can get it around. But the last two days were brutal. I hit a lot of really good shots. You know, I got it around. Yesterday was a much better round than today and I shot the same score.
So you know, I've played 150 rounds here and sometimes you know if there's such a thing in your mind, you know where you don't want to hit it and you don't want to miss greens in certain spots. And when you do, you're faced with a delicate shot, and if you handle it, you go on maybe with a par; if you don't, then you kick yourself. But that's what this course really is like.
And the 10th hole, that's one of them. You can walk away with a five there and you think you've hit a perfect drive or a perfect little 60-yard shot when the greens are hard. When that green is soft, it's a much, much easier hole, just like any other hole out there is. But it's not, it's firming up and I don't know if the wind is supposed to keep blowing or not.
I remember one time where I think David Edwards won and shot a really good last round and the wind was howling, went on to win from quite a ways back.

Q. How come it doesn't bother you when you have this late/early thing when you know it's going to be the worst times?
FRED COUPLES: You know, I go to bed at eight, so it's not really a lifestyle --

Q. What kind of lifestyle?
FRED COUPLES: Of going to dinner or not going out dancing or drinking or whatever, or just going out. If I get a late/early time, when I'm done, it's room service and a hotel and my feet are up. I physically just can't do it.

Q. But still, knowing what the weather was like, you knew that was going to be the worst draw.
FRED COUPLES: To be honest, I'm disappointed it's not going to blow but those are the breaks you're going to get. I was glad it was going to blow. I felt like maybe it was going to blow all day. If you can get it around, you wants it to be tough where the scores don't get out of hand.
So with all of the leaders yesterday, and maybe the wind dying, 2-under looked great for the time, but it may not, you know, five hours from now when there are going to be a lot of guys hanging in there. But that's the way it goes.

Q. How much of what's driving you is Augusta?
FRED COUPLES: Well, cut streak, it's a nice deal, but my goal even last year was to make the cut. But this year will not be, I think for the first time because -- I don't know what I shot -- we're talking about Augusta now. Will you just leave us alone here? This is a big deal.

Q. It's more than making the cut, that's what you're saying.
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, but last year was a great streak to keep going, and that was my only goal. I couldn't even hit the ball but I went and got it around. I think I was maybe ought over. The cut was 152. So, you know, I felt pretty good about that. But if I shoot 152 this year, I won't be making the cut. But if I could play next week at Augusta, I'd feel pretty good about playing well.

Q. How long will you play here in this tournament?
FRED COUPLES: I have two more years I hope and then next year when I'm 50, I don't know where the seniors are -- if they give me a spot, I'd rather play here than a senior event. So I'll be here a couple more years at least.
No, it's my favorite course. I'm not going to not.

Q. You're not going to not?
FRED COUPLES: I'm not going to not play. They are going to have to keep me from not playing.

Q. Is that like it is what it is?
FRED COUPLES: Right, is that not in the dictionary? Right.

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