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April 10, 2010

Fred Couples


Q. I know you're disappointed with the bogey at the last, but still a 4-under par 68 and you're right in the mix. The big question is how is your back holding up?
FRED COUPLES: Well, I feel good. Once I warm up, it doesn't feel like it's going to break in half. But once I get on the course and get going -- I birdied the first two holes, which was very nice, and I hit the ball extremely well today. 68 is a very good score. I leaked a 6-iron on 18 and didn't hit a particularly good bunker shot, but I'm thrilled.

Q. I'm not sure you're aware of this, but when you walked off the 14th tee and you signaled to Phil after he hit his second shot in there to get it going and give him some encouragement, you set off a chain of events of maybe 30 minutes of the greatest golf in Masters history.
FRED COUPLES: Well, it was pretty funny because we were texting a little bit about how low I was going to have to go to catch him and maybe play with him tomorrow. For a time there, we were both playing pretty well, but then, like you said, he went eagle, eagle, birdie, and that's a pretty big jump to get going, and I chipped it on 15.
Once again, I just love this place. I have a shot at it tomorrow if I can shoot a crazy score, and we'll see what happens.

Q. At 50 years old you've been playing some superb golf on the Champions Tour. How are you going to be able to handle the physical rigors tomorrow of being able to handle this demanding golf course?
FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, I do ride a cart every and then on the Champions Tour, and this thing is a beast to walk.
I mean, like on 18 I didn't want to miss left. I kind of bailed out to the right with the swing, and maybe it's because I'm a little tired, but most of them I hit pretty solid, and tomorrow I've just got one more day. I think I can get through it, and hopefully I'll play well.

Q. Pretty good round today.
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, it was fun.

Q. Is your back bothering you?
FRED COUPLES: It is now, but I don't play until maybe 2:30 tomorrow, so I'll get it going.

Q. What were you and Phil communicating when you yelled at him from the fairway?
FRED COUPLES: Well, I wanted that golf ball that he holed in at 14. That's what I wanted. He couldn't hear me, but I wanted that eagle ball. And then I chipped in on the next, so I told him he could have my eagle ball. That was pretty neat. We were right on their tail all day, and we saw most of the shots. It almost seems like he owns the 13th hole, and that was such a good second shot, and then on 14 I know he's made a 2 there before. So it was just kind of fun to get his attention. He played an extremely great round of golf.

Q. What about you, though?
FRED COUPLES: I hit the ball really, really well. I putted good. I made a lot of putts. But those were not very long ones. And then my birdies were all very short putts. I need to come out and play really well tomorrow to have a chance. I feel like I can come out under the pressure and hit it well.
But you know, today I tapped one in on 2 for birdie; and No. 1, I hit it to about four feet; and 14, I had a very short birdie putt. I don't even know if I had another birdie out there. 15, I chipped in for eagle. I'm not making 20-footers. But the chip-in seems like made up for a lot of putts.

Q. It was just really an exciting day out there. You had to be wrapped up in it, too.
FRED COUPLES: I mean, Westwood is playing great with the lead, and Phil did what he was supposed to do; he went out there. And so is Tiger and K.J. Choi. So it's going to be very interesting tomorrow.

Q. What about you?
FRED COUPLES: For me, I'm looking forward to it. I have one more round, and who knows next year, but I think I can still play this golf course. If you look back, yesterday I just -- I knew what I needed to get in with, and I tried to make one putt for birdie and rolled it four feet by and missed it, and I three-putted 16, and I bogeyed 18 two days in a row. Other than that, I can't complain at all. I just -- if I get going tomorrow -- I've got to get better shots. You can't just step up and two-putt every time you hit an iron 40 feet. These greens are brutal. So that has a little bit to do with it. But if I can shoot a 67 or 68 tomorrow or lower, I'll have a shot. But I think it's going to take a ridiculous round.

Q. If a Saturday can feel like a Sunday, was this the closest thing to it?
FRED COUPLES: Well, there's so many people. This is the greatest tournament in the world because the fans see a lot of great shots. The 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, you know, those were amazing holes, and not just Phil, but there were other guys going through there with birdies. I know Ricky Barnes has birdied three or four holes in a row to get back in this. The rolls are unbelievable, and tomorrow should be the same thing. I think we're supposed to have the same weather.

Q. Do you look at this major as the one that you have far more chance --
FRED COUPLES: Well, it's the only one I'm in, so I've got to look at it as my No. 1 major.

Q. You have a chance at others, as well. Do you look at this --
FRED COUPLES: That I can win? Yeah, or the British Open, but I haven't been in the British Open in a long time. But this is my favorite spot to play. I know I can play the course. I can putt the greens. I'm a great lag putter. But I -- if this, if this, if this, but I have not made really any putts this week. I know that sounds really stupid, but I've hit the ball very well. So I've kind of at least made short putts when I hit them in there close.
I have one day tomorrow, and we'll see what happens. But I made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole one day, and that's really been it. I know the greens. I just if not putting them I would say very well, but I'm not putting poorly.

Q. When you were here in '86 when Jack did what he did at 50. You have a chance to do something --
FRED COUPLES: Well, he had an amazing last day. I think that's what I've got to do. I don't think I have to shoot 30 on the back nine or whatever the heck he shot, but for me, I have a chance. I'm four behind, five behind. They're not going to shoot much over par. You know, I need 65 or 66 to get in. It would be a miracle, but we'll see.

Q. Did you see Phil make eagle, eagle?
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I saw. I watched them all. I saw his iron on 16, which was okay, and I think he three-putted 17, I'm not sure. But he's going to be a guy to beat. He really wants to win, he's a phenomenal player. I think Phil would be the guy to beat if he's even within a shot.

Q. If you had been told at the beginning of this week that you might do this --
FRED COUPLES: No. I usually play good on Tuesdays most of the time, and this was no different. You know, to be perfectly honest with you, I mean, I missed the cut the last two years and I went away pretty frustrated because I played pretty well. I think a couple years before that I had a shot of winning against Phil, and then a few years before that -- I know time flies, but tomorrow I have a shot. I mean, I'm way behind, but I've heard other people talk about it, so I might as well say the same thing. If I can shoot a low score I maybe can post a score and see what happens.

Q. Is a day like today, just around the position where you're in, does it wash 50 out of there and you feel almost like a kid?
FRED COUPLES: I feel a hundred standing here to be honest with you, but I don't feel 50 playing golf. I still drive the ball a long way. You know, I can hit a lot of long irons and play long, hard holes, and that's what you've got to do here. So you know, I'm -- whatever happens tomorrow, it's not because I'm 50 and tired, it's just because I didn't play well on Sunday at Augusta, but I'm going to give it my best.

Q. You wore a different pair of shoes yesterday. Did that bother your back?

Q. It's just your back, that cranky back?

Q. You got home and it was okay, you just kind of rested --
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I have a couple machines, and I used them for four or five hours. It's not the first time I've done this. Once I get loose -- if I get loose, I can go to the first hole and pound it out, it's okay. It's mostly bending over that really hurts.

End of FastScripts

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