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March 27, 2010

Chris Couch


JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Chris Couch into the interview room after a 3-under par 69.
Chris, nice round, four birdies, one bogey, and several fortuitous bounces there on the last hole. If we can get your comments on the day.
CHRIS COUCH: Started off quickly, which was nice on this golf course, because 1 and 2 are real tough holes. I made a nice birdie there on 1. Great up-and-down on 2. Made about a 15-footer for par there and so that kind of got my round going.
You know, birdied four of the first six, and really felt like I could keep it going. But the wind is tough out there and the pins are tough, and this course never let's up.
JOHN BUSH: Talk about that last hole, what did you have to the pin there?
CHRIS COUCH: I had 162, and I thought I hit a pretty good shot. I hit it just right of the pin and I was trying to hit it just left of the pin, but a little further carry there on the right. I got a fortuitous bounce, three bounces, I guess it was, three bounces off the rocks on to the green.

Q. Of all of the lucky breaks you've gotten on a golf course, where does that rank?
CHRIS COUCH: I'd have to say it's one of the best. I've never considered myself a very lucky person on the golf course, but you know, that was a great break at the right time here. You know, most of the time that will happen when you're like 4-over par, it doesn't even matter. But I was in a good position there and didn't need to take worse than a par on that hole, especially making double or worse if that goes in the water. So great break.

Q. And talk about the stuff that wasn't luck; what were you doing well today?
CHRIS COUCH: I've been playing well all year. I guess overall, my game is really good today. I drove it well. I hit a couple stray drives, but for the most part, I drove it well and that's what you have to do out here. I didn't try to push anything. I tried to just stay patient and hit a lot of greens and see if I can make a few putts.

Q. A lot of big names on the leaderboard right now. Do you see yourself as sort of an underdog right now, and do you like that hole?
CHRIS COUCH: I try not to be a leaderboard watcher, but this tournament's got a lot of great players in it; always has. Any time you put Arnold Palmer's name on an event, you're going to bring in the greatest players.
I've been hurt for two years and sitting on the couch and matching my last name. But I'm just blessed to be out here every day that I'm out here. I know it can end at any time, and so I just take it for the most part right now.

Q. Where are you living, out here?
CHRIS COUCH: I'm living here. I'm in Winter Garden.

Q. You mentioned the injuries. What happened at the Transitions?
CHRIS COUCH: I twisted my knee Thursday morning. I woke up with a twisted knee. I have no idea how it happened. It really did not bother my swing all that much. I can't make an excuse for being what I was over par, but I was having trouble walking around the golf course. Maybe mentally I just wasn't in it, you know.
I didn't want to hurt it any worse, because I was looking forward to this tournament, so I went ahead and withdrew from that one.

Q. Which knee?
CHRIS COUCH: My right knee.

Q. The shot that ricocheted off the rocks, how did it feel coming off your club and how well did you see what happened, because it's been replayed on TV a lot.
CHRIS COUCH: I saw it very well. (Laughter) I kept thinking, "Please, please, bounce on the green, baby, bounce on the green."
I thinned the shot just a touch and that made it cut a little bit more into the wind and I think that's why it came up a little short. I had not really hit a very unsolid shot all day and that was one of my first ones.
So, you know, I got a little aggressive with that shot, maybe shouldn't have. I'll think about it a little bit more tomorrow, maybe play a little safer. But got away with it today.

Q. You just mentioned the injuries going back to 2008 or maybe before; if you can just walk us through sort of what you've been dealing with?
CHRIS COUCH: Well, I got injured toward the end of 2007 and played hurt. Toward the end of the year, I barely could take a swing. I couldn't get it past hip-high on the backswing without extreme pain.
I went in and got some arthroscopic surgery in the shoulder, left shoulder, and from there, it just got worse. About three months later, I got what was called 'frozen shoulder' where I could not even move my arm at all. That lasted for about six months.
So a lot of rehab, a lot of prayers. It's been frustrating.

Q. When was that, the frozen shoulder?
CHRIS COUCH: That was become in 2008, about March or April.

Q. You got into this by one of the lower exemptions, being 67th, I guess, on the FedExCup points list. When you found out that you had made it, and being a local and all that, I imagine you had to be pretty thrilled to get into this field?
CHRIS COUCH: I was. I was very thrilled. I've written for an exemption here 18 straight years and never gotten one, so it was nice to get in, you know, being a local. I have a lot of friends around that love to come out and watch and it was enjoyable having them out there today, and hearing their screams and yells and having my wife out there. It's been fun.

Q. A gratuitous Gator question. Calc and Brian are hanging in there making some cuts, Chris is improving all the time, Every is having a pretty good year for a rookie and Camilo won. Do you guys take notice of what other guys do in Florida and do you talk about that, and do you encourage each other when you're playing in the same events?
CHRIS COUCH: You know, the funny thing is that we were teammates at one time but now we're competitors. We still root for each other. But I know in Phoenix, you know, Camilo was playing good and Every was playing good and I was playing well. You know, my caddie looked up there and he said, "Let's be the low Gator this week." And I ended up being the low Gator, finishing fourth.
There's a competitiveness there but we still root for each other. We are always rooting for each other.

Q. Your interesting shot on 18 will be on SportsCenter; is that good or bad? You can probably see it 30 more times before you see it tomorrow. Is that good or bad?
CHRIS COUCH: I don't know if it will make ten worst or ten best. (Laughter).

Q. It's got to be ten best?
CHRIS COUCH: Yeah, it will be nice to see that shot again and just laugh about it, really. Could have been a nightmare.

Q. Another gratuitous Gator question, a lot of news with the school this week; did you follow at all what happened? It's kind of good news that a Gator was doing so well?
CHRIS COUCH: Was it the statement about Tebow.

Q. The whole Tebow, Urban Meyer?
CHRIS COUCH: I haven't been following it too much. I read a little bit about it. I don't know how anybody could ever say anything bad about Tebow. He's a great guy, a Christian. He's had a great career and seems to always get bad press. I don't know why. I think he'll do great at the next level.

Q. This was obviously an important event, 18 straight exemption requests; do you have any good Arnie stories, that you ran into him this week?
CHRIS COUCH: I haven't talked to him but I introduced myself this year, just so I can get a face with the name that I write every year.
But I have nothing against Arnie. I mean, you know --

Q. Just a legend, getting to meet him?
CHRIS COUCH: It's fantastic just seeing him around. He's, you know, one of my idols growing up. It's just been awesome just when you go into eat some lunch and he's sitting there, just to shake his hand and what have you.

Q. If you can just talk about you were the high school phenom we wrote about when you played The Honda Classic years ago. How has your career gone to maybe what you thought it was going to be then; better, worse, what you expected?
CHRIS COUCH: I think I'm going right along with God's plan. I'm going to keep travelling down that road and see what happens. I think that struggling for years made me a better person and a better player eventually. I hope to bring that out in the future.

Q. How is your game different now than when you played the Honda?
CHRIS COUCH: Well, back then, boy, I just slashed at the ball, no fear, no worries about money, you know, had the parents paying for everything.
When you're out here trying to make a living, trying to support your family, having two years off, spent a lot of money and you've got nothing coming in; so I've had a lot of pressure on me this year just trying to pay the bills.
You know, I've gotten off to a good start. Hopefully I'll keep it going.

Q. Along those lines, how tough is it when you've got X-number of events to make the required amounts of money to not think about you have to make this much in a certain period of time?
CHRIS COUCH: It's tough not to think about it. But my coach tries to keep it in perspective. He says, "Every tournament is a different tournament. You take one tournament at a time and you can't think down the road." He's hit the nail right on the head. You can't sit there and think, oh, I only have 14 tournaments left and I have to make such and such amount.
Take it one tournament at a time and play the best you can that week.

Q. How close were you in Phoenix to having your game where you wanted it to be?
CHRIS COUCH: It was where I wanted it. It still is. I mean, my short game has been a lot better this year. My bunker play has been incredibly improved. You know, I've had to go from hitting a draw my whole life to hitting a cut this year, and it's actually been a hard change, but it's been a nice change. I've got more control with the ball lately, so hopefully it's for the best.
JOHN BUSH: Chris, tomorrow should be fun. Play well.

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