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April 6, 2008

Fred Couples


Q. Freddie, great weekend and a good finish. Clean card today, too, with a 66?
FRED COUPLES: I had a very good round. As you know, last 9 I played yesterday was 7-under and went out today with the idea of trying to continue that, and I did. And it's a very good course. I felt pretty comfortable.
You know, I certainly wasn't near the lead. I think I started 7, 8 shots back. I knew if I had a good round, I could finish in the Top-10. That's what I was striving for. The back-9 I just kept birdieing holes and parred 17 and 18, which I feel like birdies. Two of the hardest holes you're going to have to play.
I know Johnson Wagner is out there trying his best to get in against Chad Campbell and some of the other guys. It will be tough.

Q. Did you ever take a peek at the scoreboard and say, "Wait a minute. I might be able to get them dudes"?
FRED COUPLES: I did at one time. I think he birdied the 13th, a par-5 to go 4 ahead. I had 17 and 18. Even on 18, I had a 6-iron right where I hit it, 35, 40 feet. I didn't want to make 5, 6 and finish that way.
He's got to do the same. You know, one slight maneuver out there and you're going to have a bad score, and so far he's done very, very well, and I hope he does. I hope he plays well and wins this thing and be a nice first win.

Q. For you, how good does it feel to be playing well going into next week?
FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, I went to school here and I was telling someone, it kind of gets you charged up, everyone is rooting behind you. 4-putt No. 9.

Q. That's when I left you.
FRED COUPLES: Thought what are you doing out here? It wasn't an easy day, and the next day came out and played well and then certainly 67, 66. But I am confident in my game, and I feel good about going into the next week, really do. I don't know what is going to happen, but I feel like if I get there and play good golf and putt like I did today, I can be a factor, and, if not, you know, I'll have to shoot some really, really good scores to hang in there.

Q. You finished with a 66. You got to be happy going to Augusta this week.
FRED COUPLES: I am. I played very well yesterday and today. As I told you people, went to work with Butch last week for five days, which a lot of it was having fun. Wasn't really hard work. But he had me doing a few things. I tried them and did well with them yesterday and today. So that's really the biggest bonus is what he was telling me I could do under a little bit of pressure.
So when I get to Augusta, he's going to be there. I'll keep working. To come back to Houston where I went to school and play well, I don't get this very often. So I get people screaming for me, it's usually when I hit it out of the trees or whatever. Today was truly a lot of fun and, you know, I hope to finish up there and looks like I'm doing all right.

Q. Did you have some goals heading into this tournament before Augusta? If so, did you accomplish them this weekend?
FRED COUPLES: I wanted to take -- get with Butch and come here and be able to put it on the course. And I was okay the first day, but then the last three rounds, you know, I did really well. So the accomplishment was obviously 7-under or 6-under today, moving up the leaderboard, you're going to do that on any day. And hitting good shots. 17, 18, 16 -- 16, I hit really quality shots, and I feel like leading into Augusta if I can get some good practice Tuesday and Wednesday. I hope to continue it, but not shooting these scores, just continuing hitting the ball well.

Q. You've been down Magnolia Lane so many times. What do you to to prepare for your first tee time on Thursday?
FRED COUPLES: I don't overdo it. I played the course a hundred times. I can tell where the pin is, where the wind is. There's a few tee shots out there that you really have to pay attention to. And when I'm playing the practice rounds, 95 percent of the holes, I'm out there helping the guys I'm going the play with, John Rollins and Daniel Chopra on Tuesday, give them a word of thought, and then when there's a shot out there like on 11, 12, pay really a lot of attention.
Other than that, I'll work with Butch on the range and try to get this thing grooved in where I go to the first tee and feel comfortable.

Q. You said, Hey, you know what, maybe I can work this week and go from 35 to maybe Top-20 at the Masters. Are you thinking after this you could still win this?
FRED COUPLES: I think I was answering a question about someone talking about making the cut at Augusta. If you're trying to make the cut, then you're going to barely make -- in my opinion, you barely make the cut because that's what you're shooting for.

I was saying how I don't want to go. I want to be up there and play well. That doesn't mean it's going to happen because I like it to. My goal, I have a cut streak there. It's not my goal to make the cut.
My goal is to play well, and if I do that, I'll make the cut. If I don't play well, then I'll worry about making the cut with nine holes to go on Friday. That's not what I want to worry about on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Q. Fred, you won on the other course, but I guess you're taking a liking to this one now.
FRED COUPLES: It's a great course. I played pretty well. I got accustomed to it. I played the Pro-Am Wednesday, which is my first time on it. I got a little better each day. Obviously the weather was beautiful. The one tough day I didn't have to go out and play in that weather. I had a good round in the morning.
I hit the ball well. Yesterday I had a great, great last 9 and shot 7-under. Went out today and shot 6-under, which is surprising, but, you know, it's one of those courses you keep it out of trouble, if you're a long hitter, you should do well. I birdied all the par-5s and made a couple other nice birdies and no bogies.

Q. Looks like Johnson will probably hold to the win here. You've got to feel good, heading in Augusta next week.
FRED COUPLES: If he does do that, he's earned a win. The back-9 there's some birdie opportunities. 17 and 18, you can have some fun with those holes. I got through them pretty good. I'm looking forward to Augusta, no doubt. I will be there and hopefully will continue to hit the ball well and have a good time.

Q. The best you've hit it all year.
FRED COUPLES: I hit it pretty well at San Diego. This would be the best I hit it probably since Augusta when I played with Phil. I actually was pretty much in control and hit a lot of good shots.

Q. Johnson Wagner, how impressive is it for a guy to get his first Tour win leading wire to wire and dealing with all that stuff? You know how the kind of grind that can be.
FRED COUPLES: It's very impressive. To be able to be in the lead or near the lead for 72 holes is not an easy thing to accomplish. Usually it's done by a player who has done it before, but it looks good right now, and I wish him all the luck the last couple holes, but it's a big deal.
This is a big tournament. It's very tough course. So to get your first win, you know, at Shell is nice, and I hope he pulls it off.

Q. Fred, with your back, you try to take it easy tomorrow at Augusta?
FRED COUPLES: No. Actually, I've got a little bit of a back problem at the moment, and I'm going to see my guy tomorrow morning for about a half day. And if I have to stay Tuesday, I'll stay. I've been twitching the last two days and finally twitched one too many times, and I don't feel as good as I did on Friday. That's for sure. I'll be fine.

End of FastScripts

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