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April 8, 2010

Fred Couples


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, we would like to welcome Freddie Couples, playing his 26th Masters, winner of the 1992 Masters, and already has three victories this year on the Champions Tour.
We'll have Fred to give a few comments about his scorecard and we'll invite a few questions, please.
FRED COUPLES: Well, I hit a wedge on the first hole to about four feet and made it for birdie.
I hit it over the second green and putted it down to about eight feet and made it for birdie.
Then missed the green right from the fairway on No. 5 and had a little flop shot. I hit it about 15 feet and missed it for par and so I made bogey.
Then I knocked it on the back edge of No. 8 in two, which was with the wind, and then 2-putted for birdie.
Then probably the biggest shot I hit, the wind was howling on 10 and I hit a beautiful drive and I had a 5-iron and I pull-hooked it down into near bushes and the shrubs and I somehow got underneath there and rolled a 7-iron up to about three feet and made it for par.
Birdied 12 and hit an 8-iron 20 feet and made it.
I laid up on 13 and wedged it to about six feet and made it.
On 15, I went for the green in two and missed it long and to the right. I hit a great little pitch to about six feet and made it.
Then 17, hit a 9-iron to about ten feet and made it for birdie.

Q. You seem to be playing some of the best golf of your career; just your thoughts on it.
FRED COUPLES: Well, my thoughts is, it's one of my favorite tournaments, so I've been playing, leading up to Augusta, just like I do every other year. And then the Champions Tour, I have played very well, but I drove the ball and putted well in all of those tournaments, and that's pretty much what I did today, too.
You know, you're always nervous, because -- no matter what age you are, because you want to do well. I felt like today was just one of those rounds where maybe it was good that the wind was blowing when I was playing, because I wasn't expecting you know, too much, to be honest with you. And once I got going, I just kept making putts and ended up 6-under.

Q. On Tuesday, you told us that winning here this week would be a pipedream; did you really believe that?
FRED COUPLES: No, I'm leading the Tournament at the moment, but there's a bunch of 5-unders up there. I have a great tee time tomorrow in the morning. But I don't even know what -- if it's going to be blowing or raining or whatever. But I know 9:40 is a good time to play this course.
That's a good thing. But the pipedream is, yeah, to win Augusta at age 50 would be a pipedream. Can I still win? Of course. It would be a nice dream, that's for sure, but I've got a lot of golf left to even think about being in contention.

Q. When you were hanging out at Harding Park for The Presidents Cup and obviously enjoying that role as captain, in some ways, it looked like you moved onto another stage of your career; did you envision that joining the Champions Tour could re-energize you as a player the way it has?
FRED COUPLES: That's a great question. I think the best thing about the Champions Tour is, first, it was seeing everybody, and then I just felt like I worked pretty hard in December on my game to get to Hawaii, and as you know, lost to Tom by a stroke, and have won three since. But there's a little bit, something in the air, that I feel like I'm going to play well out there. I think my time has gone by on the regular tour, even though today is a great, great, great day.
And the Champions Tour, I'm the youngest guy out there. I feel like I'm a very good player, and I'm one of the guys to beat out there. And I think that's a good sign when you start winning.
But when I was at Harding Park, you know, there were two Champions Tour events I could have played in right after that and I had decided not to because I had played very little golf and I didn't want to go out and just play, so I think that was a good decision on my part to wait until the beginning of the year. And I look forward to playing several more on the Champions Tour.

Q. Nick Faldo has been blown away on the telecast about the lack of socks you're wearing; he says he's never heard of a player with no socks on. When did that start?
FRED COUPLES: Well, I don't know. You know, I've had back problems a long time. I wear nothing but tennis shoes. I did wear some dress shoes for the Champions Dinner the other night, but they were not on very long. I wear tennis shoes and I usually don't wear socks, and with ECCO, I have extra soles, whatever they are called inside, and I throw them away at the end of the week.
I just feel like they are tennis shoes, so I just don't wear any socks with tennis shoes and these shoes have been good so far.

Q. I was slightly kidding you about the golf cart thing. I saw a picture of you on a golf cart at one of the senior events. Has that been every week for you or an intermittent thing or have you been riding the whole year?
FRED COUPLES: No, I rode in Naples, because there were about seven or eight shuttle rides. And then I rode at Dominican Republic because I felt horrible the first day, Cap Cana. The wind hit my face and I played well and I just kept riding it.
So I rode twice out of four events. But the one tournament was basically we were in carts the whole time, anyway. There was so many drives and greens to the next hole.

Q. The confident with the putter, is that something technical?
FRED COUPLES: No, it's just happening. No; no work on the putting. There's no change of a stroke. I very rarely putt. Even the putting bending over is not good for my back, but it's just happened.
And, you know, we'll see what happens tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday, if there is -- I'm hitting the ball very well, and the putting's become the best thing in my game. I mean, I always felt like I could hit the ball, but when I'm making eight and 10-footers for pars and birdies, it makes my game a lot easier and then I can be a little bit more of an attack player instead of trying to roll a 25-foot birdie up there close and tap it in.
I've been a little bit more aggressive and I've made a couple extra longer putts, which will help shoot the scores I've been shooting.

Q. Top of the leaderboard, two guys, two Champions Tour guys, a 50-something, a 60-something; karma, knowledge of the course, something served at the Champions Dinner?
FRED COUPLES: Well, that was some Champions Dinner. Cabrera took care of us. Well, for me, I'm not surprised; but I'm thrilled, and I thought I could come here and play well, because I have been playing well.
But to answer your question quickly, I went to Houston, and I didn't really play that well or put that well. But today was another story.
For Tom Watson, I can only tell you he didn't make a bogey, he made five birdies, and I'm sure he made a couple par putts and I'm sure he missed a birdie putt here or there.
For me to be 6-under and he to be 5-under, it's a great start for the older guys. I know Sandy Lyle played well, someone said, and so did Langer. It's course knowledge.
For me, I can play this golf course under a lot of circumstances and again when I was out there today, you know, I knew once I got in and I took away all of the 5-unders that were out there, that it was going to go to even par or 1-under pretty quickly. You know, not everyone is 5-under, 4-under, 4-under, 3-under and all that; and that's by being here so long.
So I knew I could be patient and I wasn't expecting to shoot 4-under the back nine, but I did, and here I am at 6-under.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you all, and thank you, Freddie. Good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts

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