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April 21, 2009

Fred Couples


CALVIN KOH: Thank you for taking time off for today's press conference with us. Fred, you are a hugely-popular figure in Korea, what does it mean to be playing back in front of Korean fans this week?
FRED COUPLES: It's a privilege to be here. It's a huge event. It's my third time, first time on this island. You know, I'm excited to be here.
CALVIN KOH: What is the best thing about playing in front of the Korean fans in Korea?
FRED COUPLES: For me, I've been traveling since probably the British Open in 1983, and the most fun is playing in front of people that you don't usually play in front of.
So like I say, you come to Korea; you want to play well. There's probably more pressure, and that's a good thing. Because if you play at home in the United States, they see you all the time.
So one of the best parts is coming and playing in a different place, which would be whether you are in Japan or Australia or Korea, this week. It's a learning experience and it's a lot of fun.
CALVIN KOH: Speaking of playing well, you have two Top-10 finishes on the US PGA tour this year. Are you pleased with your form coming into this the tournament?
FRED COUPLES: I am. I have played maybe eight tournaments and I missed quite a few cuts, but the times I've played, I played pretty well. And I finished third at Houston and third at L.A.
At Augusta, I missed the cut by a shot, but I didn't play particularly well. And my form, you know, coming off there, I hit balls today; I'll play tomorrow. I've been playing in wind every week, so this could be a normal fit, so I hope to have that to fall back to. I've been playing in some windy weather.

Q. What was your criteria to choose the tournament?
FRED COUPLES: Criteria? Well, this is the first time I've come here. The first time when I came, I actually had a great time. It was the SK Telecom tournament, which I guess I could say is smaller than this one. This is a European/Asian event.
For me, the criteria is I usually try and play in Europe once a year, and it worked out where I felt like I was playing a few events and right after Augusta, I could come here and play and play well.

Q. Having played in the U.S. and Europe and now Asia, how do you find especially in Asia, the standard of golf in this part of the world?
FRED COUPLES: Well, the golf courses we've played have been tremendous.
I think when I came here for the first time, Anthony Kang was someone who I was paired with, and I believe he just won a tournament on The European Tour. So the golf is great.
K.J. Choi is obviously a top player on the American tour, and you could see that coming years ago when he came on the Tour. You know, I think that has a lot to do with the golf courses that they are building over here. They are top-notch, and I only looked at this on a few holes, from what I have seen, I have not played it, but it looks fantastic.

Q. You said you think the wind will help you this week because you are a good wind player, what other challenges do you think the course will throw up?
FRED COUPLES: A few of us have been playing at Bay Hill, Houston and Augusta; I don't know how many guys played there, but I know a few.
You know, playing in the wind is good if you're hitting the ball solid, and if you're not, it's extremely hard. I can't emphasize enough that when it's blowing that hard, that to go around and not miss many shots, and whether you're playing Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or you're leading the last day, it just becomes a tough, tough time.
You know, for me, I think the tougher the conditions may help me a little bit where the scoring isn't crazy where you're shooting 67s and 68s every round. But not seeing the course yet, I don't really think it matters. If it's blowing out there, you've got to hit the ball solid and get it in the hole, and you know, we'll figure that out by Friday what kind of scores are being shot.

Q. From what I understand, you are very well experienced with the Korean culture and you like the Korean culture, and I heard last time when you were here at the SK Telecom tournament, you even got the Korean acupuncture. Are there any new kind of Korean culture or experiences you would like to take home with you at this tournament?
FRED COUPLES: You know, that it correct, that acupuncture, I was not even going to be able to play, and I saw her two days in a row.
You know, the day that I played early will be the day that I'll be able to go look around and maybe get in the car and drive, but I don't know much about Jeju, but we'll go to a few dinners in a few different places. We don't get to do that much, so the people are what make the trip; the galleries and the sponsors and all of the other people that show us around.

Q. You turn 50 in October; will you continue to play the PGA Tour?
FRED COUPLES: When I turn 50? Yeah, I was just -- a friend is caddying for me this week, and we were just talking about that. I think I'm going to start the Senior Tour at the beginning of next year, not this year. There's two tournaments I can play in, but I was going to play in one -- but I think I'm just going to wait until next year and play this year on the PGA Tour.

Q. You say you're starting the Senior Tour next year, does that mean you won't play the PGA Tour at all?
FRED COUPLES: No. I will probably play the PGA Tour on the west coast, which is my favourite part of the year. So I would play the Bob Hope where I live, San Diego, Phoenix, and after that, play some and then Augusta and then probably not play. That's the goal. I'm not going to play -- I'm not one of those that will play both ways. It's not that interesting to me to worry about doing well on the regular Tour and then going on the Senior Tour.

End of FastScripts

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