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April 5, 2008
Q. What happened today?
FRED COUPLES: I don't know. One of those 9s where I hit a lot of good shots. One hole I bogeyed I hit a bad 6-iron into a bunker. Made a few putts, hit it close, and had fun things happen. Almost made a hole in 1 on 9. It's that kind of course where I think the greens are so perfect that if you just make some putts, it seems like you can make them in a stretch.
Q. All right. Heading to Augusta next week. Twenty-three straight cuts. You broke the record on the front nine or tied it today. Does that have significance to you?
FRED COUPLES: Actually, yesterday to make the cut was a big deal so I can keep working on my game to get there. I don't feel like to -- I want to make the cut at Augusta. Feel like I can play well there. It is a nice streak. I've had a lot of good finishes there. Hopefully when I go, I won't be too worried about making cut because I don't want to make just cut. I want to move up where I'm 20th, 30th spot, not 50th.
Q. What was your favorite 9 today?
FRED COUPLES: Birdied -- made the turn and parred 18 to make the turn at 2-over, which felt like a birdie. And then hit it about 10 feet on the first and made it and hit a good wedge on 2 to about 8 feet and made it.
Then No. 4, par-5, I hit a 4-iron to about 15 feet and made it for eagle. Next hole I hit a good driver and 8-iron, probably 25 feet and made it for birdie.
The next hole, hit a good drive and an 8-iron into the bunker in the right and didn't get up and down. Next hole hit a 9-iron probably 30 feet, made it for birdie.
Then 8, hit a 3-wood into the green, probably 30 feet, 2-putted for birdie. And then 9, hit a 4-iron to 10 inches and made it for birdie.
Q. You're not peaking early, are you?
FRED COUPLES: I played okay. It was fun. I bogeyed the first hole from 80 yards from the middle of the fairway. Then played pretty well, and then hit a horrible drive on 17 in the hazard and made double.
Other than that, I actually had a handful of birdie putts, 2, 3 in the front that could have made and didn't and birdied the par-5 and all heck broke loose on the second 9.
Q. The weather warmed up a little bit. Did that help you?
FRED COUPLES: Not really -- yeah, it did. Playing-wise it did, you know, just played with a coat on the first nine holes and weather got beautiful.
Yeah, everyone is playing pretty good golf. Chad Campbell is phenomenal, and there's a couple other good scores. There's a lot of guys even or 1-over not playing too bad.
Q. What would be a nice reward tomorrow?
FRED COUPLES: Yesterday was a good round. As it turned out, shoot 1-under and make the cut, but I played really, really well. I've been with Butch for five days last week, worked on my game. Would have been a problem to miss the cut and go to Augusta and keep working on it. So I got today I worked on it and tomorrow, too.
So, you know, score is important, but I feel like I'm playing pretty well. You know, I feel like I can go out and shoot under par again. If it's nice, under par is not a great round, but if it's tough and windy, you know, I can get through the round and hopefully have a good day.
Q. You won on the other course, but, you know, you're a fan favorite around here. Does that help when you get going well, too, that, you know --
FRED COUPLES: It happened so fast. I birdied 1 and 2, eagle on 4 was a big deal, you know. And yesterday I was 3-under after 4. Today, I birdied 5. So that's probably the hardest hole on the course. That was nice because I stood up there and hit a couple good shots and felt pretty comfortable. Be in much better shape tomorrow, and hopefully stand up and hit some more good shots, but my goal is to play well and keep it going. Not shoot 29 but to get it solid so when I get to Augusta, I won't kill myself Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm not doing anything Monday.
With the people out there, yeah, they're all rooting hard and picked up a little more of a gallery. But again, it was like a bang, bang, bang. I birdied the last three holes.
Q. What are you working on with Butch?
FRED COUPLES: Just some to shorten my swing, keep my knees a little flat, all the good stuff. I was going to work with Rod Pampling, but he's been busy. But typical stuff, you know. Little sloppy and, you know, I mean, it's not when I do -- when I do it right, I hit a beautiful shot. I can tell the difference as soon as I make contact with the ball that it's -- I can still get away with shots. When I really hit them bad, you know, I can justify what he's telling me. That doesn't mean you never hit a bad shot, because I hit plenty of them. I get long and drop underneath and hit them high and to the right. That's what I really don't want to hit.
Q. Is this saving your back somewhat?
FRED COUPLES: Got nothing to do with that.
Q. You've had a couple of good tournaments this year, couple of okay tournaments.
FRED COUPLES: Well, just one good one and good first round at Bay Hill that I finished last. Like at Tampa, I played pretty good, and I don't know where I finished, but just the way I play. I'm not going to kill anybody out there. But if I go play well, at least it's a positive thing.
And, you know, I'm not out here to not play Saturday and Sunday. But making the cuts and finishing 50th or 60th, that's not really much fun, to be quite honest with you. But if we're 20 weeks into the year and I continue to do this, then I'll really hate it. After not playing last year, you know, I have to start somewhere. If I take a year off and come out and my eighth week on Tour finish and play decent, then that's a good thing. If I keep finishing where I am, I don't want to continue another three months from now doing this.
Q. Going into next week, obviously it's a nice boost because Augusta is one of your favorite places and you like the play there.
FRED COUPLES: If I don't play well tomorrow, I'm not going to be frightened to go play Augusta, but it can work the other way a lot better than it can the other way. I'm hoping to have a little more confidence.
Like I said today, the round, didn't really worry about my score and I was trying to work on a couple things, which is not easy to do when you're hitting out some of these shoots you have. But I pulled off a lot of them, and in the back-9 it was just a freakish thing to do that. I don't know if I've ever done that, shot in the 20s.
Q. Is Augusta the one place you still show up to no matter how you feel and just start to get those expectations again? Because no matter -- you seem to be able to find your way around there.
FRED COUPLES: It wasn't that long ago, you know, compared to a lot of other tournaments and with Phil and last year was a throw out year, but I, quote made, the cut which, didn't really matter to me, but I did make it and fun to play on the weekend.
This year my goal is to go play in the tournament and do well. And if I happen to make the cut one more time, that's a nice thing. But I don't want to worry about making the cut because if you do that, then you're going to barely make the cut. You're going to play to make the cut. I got to go out there and play like I can get myself in position to do well. It's not easy to do. It's an extremely, extremely hard course and the main thing when I get through will be putting.
I don't think I'm going to all of a sudden hit it 50 percent better than I am now, but if I can go putt well, I think I can compete.
Q. This wasn't like a Players' Championship a couple years ago when you were all over the place, like what are you doing?
FRED COUPLES: Not quite. I was there five days. Tired of seeing him, actually. I got tired of seeing my swing. It works both ways with Butch.
Q. Where did you work last week?
FRED COUPLES: Vegas. I don't know how he got it. Adam was there.
Q. Was Butch sick?
FRED COUPLES: That's what Adam said. I didn't think he was, but he's a tough kid. I saw him this morning. He got no chance of playing.
End of FastScripts