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May 3, 2008

Fred Couples


Q. Freddie, almost a perfect day on the golf course today.
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I made a few good par saves, but on the last hole I hit a perfect drive and was trying to get it pin high. I saw Nick's ball roll a little bit back and I left it short and putted up maybe three and a half, four feet and missed it.
But I had a good round. I've had a couple weeks off and each day has gotten better, and today was much better than yesterday even though I shot the same score.

Q. How tough was the wind out there because it was really switching direction?
FRED COUPLES: I think for me it was a matter of not trying to hit too many great shots. I was trying to hit the ball solid, which everyone is, but I'm a little bit rusty, so if I hit a 5- or 6-iron 40 feet from the hole and it was solid, I thought that was pretty good. So I didn't get too frustrated out there. But it was hard to judge clubs.
You know, when you made a mistake you'd kind of short-side yourself from bad judgment with the wind, and on this course with as fast as these greens are, you're going to make bogey. So I got around except for the last hole. But the winds are swirling, and again, it's a tricky, tough little course.

Q. Now, you made it smartly, just hitting solid shots and stuff like that, and now you find yourself almost in position to make a move tomorrow, but how ironic is it that you've just got to keep doing what you're doing and sometimes the middle of the green is okay?
FRED COUPLES: Well, it is. If you're making putts and birdies, you're going to pick up shots. And if you make a bogey here or there, it's not the end of the world. But now when you have one round, someone is going to go out -- it's a bunched-up leaderboard; whoever has a good round will probably be the guy who wins. But I don't see any rounds like Perez and Adam Scott; those were phenomenal rounds. But if you can shoot 3- or 4-under and if you're in the top five or six, you're probably going to win the tournament.

Q. Last question. Who is going to win the Derby tonight?
FRED COUPLES: I don't even know a horse. I can tell you that Utah beat Houston last night, and Atlanta is going to game 7 with Boston.

Q. And can Atlanta beat Boston?
FRED COUPLES: No, I don't think so.

Q. Can the Rangers make that charge?
FRED COUPLES: No, your Flyers are good, too.

Q. Can you talk about the second shot at 7, what you saw there?
FRED COUPLES: Where the pin was, I thought I could over-hook it and get it left in the bunker, which would have been a pretty good spot. The more I looked at it, the more I thought, you know, I didn't really need to rope-hook it. If I drew it, I might catch part of the green. I hit a beautiful shot, and you were right, it got a fairly good round going. I was even to there and hadn't done much, but it was a great shot, and I don't think it was a stupid shot at all. There was plenty of room to get it hooking.

Q. You were here in 2003 and I think led the very first round of the first-ever tournament, and then you haven't played here since. Can you give us a sense of your history here and why you haven't been back?
FRED COUPLES: Well, for a couple years -- last year I didn't play any golf, and the year before I worked pretty hard until Augusta and kind of took that defeat pretty tough, didn't want to play golf or be around golf, so I ended up not committing to play here. And then I think the year before I just decided not to come. You can't say enough good things about the event. I have no problems with the course.
The year I came, I actually was playing very, very well, and my back went out. I ended up hanging in there, but just couldn't handle this kind of course with a back problem. This year I feel pretty good, and like I said, I really do like the course.
I'm 49 next year, and I'll come back and play one more time.

Q. Is it more special to be playing a tournament this well right now, being that you haven't been playing a lot lately, and like you said, a little bit of rust on you?
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, after Augusta I took a couple weeks off and I hit balls a couple days. I get spent from that tournament, even though I missed the cut. I'm surprised, but again, when the wind helps and the score is not being too low, which you see very rarely out here, but I like the course, it fits my eye, and the greens are extremely fast, which I feel good on fast greens, and I miss a lot of putts but I make some, too.

Q. Being as hot as you were at 7 and 8 and 10 and 11, does that give you more confidence for tomorrow?
FRED COUPLES: Well, I birdied four of my last five holes yesterday, too, to get to 3-under, and then went through there -- today I birdied 7, 8, 10 and 11, so it's kind of a rush. Tomorrow you have to make a lot of birdies. Confidence is what you make of it. I mean, I go out and play and sometimes I get on a birdie roll, and other times I make three birdies and three bogeys and a bunch of pars and end up with the same kind of score. You just go play the course and you try and do your best.

Q. You're obviously a real popular player and have been for a long time. At this point in your career, what do you attribute so many people following you to?
FRED COUPLES: Well, I think people like to come out and watch the tournaments and they find their favorite players. I played well for a long time, and I think people rally behind certain players, and I feel like I'm one of them and it's a nice feeling. You know, it's a great question. I don't know. I'm glad they do. It's not much fun playing in front of ten people, I can tell you that. So when that happens, it won't be much fun.
This is a great crowd. I mean, I don't know how many people they get here every day. It looks like there's a ton. So this tournament they're going to follow everybody and anybody.

End of FastScripts

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