home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 28, 2010

Fred Couples


PETE KOWALSKI: We'd like to welcome Mr. Fred Couples to the interview room in his hometown of Seattle, Washington. Playing in his first Senior Open. You probably have gotten this question a bunch of times, but how does it feel to be here? It's probably something you've circled on the calendar, and now it's finally upon you.
FRED COUPLES: No, I'm excited to be home. I don't get up to Seattle that much. But to play in any tournament has certainly been great. I played here in '98 in the PGA. I've played a couple other tournaments and I had one up here a long time ago. So to have a Senior Open is great. This is a great golf course and I'm happy to be here. I've been saying that enough.
PETE KOWALSKI: Obviously the fan favorite here. What expectations do you have for yourself here?
FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, I think all of us have a lot of expectations. It's a very demanding golf course. I've played the last two days. I wouldn't say particularly well, but I've been signing more autographs than paying any attention to the golf course. So tomorrow will be totally different. And I expect to play well. The great pairing with Tom and Eduardo. So winning, you have to play very well for four rounds. Really in all my years on TOUR, in the U.S. Open I probably played great golf in two of them, out of maybe 20, so it's a lot of work. And I can sense from a lot of players, we're all thinking the same thing.
The course is in absolutely perfect shape. It couldn't be better. It's a tough course. For four days to play a course like this and do well is going to take a lot from the best players, and that will be the guy who wins, for sure.

Q. Can you estimate how many times you've played here, for one, and I think it was Tom said it was the hardest he's seen greens since he can remember. Have you seen it any harder? And how many times have you played here?
FRED COUPLES: Growing up here I don't know exactly when this course was built, but I remember the tournament that Mike Reid won. And Mike Reid is probably the straightest hitter for the longest time. So this course probably seemed very easy for him. Maybe two tournaments here and then the Senior Open and then the PGA. Other than that I never came over here and played it with the guys. I was a public golfer, and from the time I was 18 I went to college and really have not spent a whole lot of time in Seattle. But how many times did I play it? Maybe -- to be honest with you, it really doesn't matter; it's so tight that you could play it once or a thousand times, you can't say I'm going to miss it over here, I want to miss it over here.
Obviously the best thing would be is you get used to the greens and the surroundings around the greens. But as far as off the tee, I would rather have played it a couple of times to not know really how tight it really is. But I don't think that's much of a help.

Q. And the firmness?
FRED COUPLES: The firmness of the greens, you know, I can't say they're the hardest greens I've ever played on, but they were the hardest greens on Tuesday that I've ever played. I didn't really make a ball mark. And I played at nine yesterday and nine today, and you're not making many ball marks. They're firm, they really are. I think that's a good thing. I don't think you're going to see any crazy scores. It's a par-70. I didn't even realize that. I remember watching -- I know the PGA was a par-70 or 71, but the American Express, it was a par-72 when Craig Parry won.
This is brutal. If you ask me what the lowest score I think shot was going to be shot this week, I would say if you laid the line on 67, I wouldn't go under it. It's just that hard, because of the way the course is, how long it is, and the greens are going -- once you get it in the fairway, you know, you're hitting a lot of 5- and 6-irons on the greens. It's hard to stop it right where you want to. So, yeah, the greens are going to be just as difficult as playing this course every day and getting it in play every day.

Q. A two part question, one, the last tournament you won in this area, maybe some memories about that day. And then, two, obviously what it would mean -- how special it would be to win this tournament?
FRED COUPLES: The last tournament I won in this area? Well, 1976 I won the Washington State Open. I was an amateur, obviously. And then I won a tournament in Portland. That's kind of in this area. But that's it. I won a couple of junior events back when I was 10 or 11. There haven't been too many wins in the State of Washington.

Q. That's kind of what I thought. Now, how special would it be to win this tournament?
FRED COUPLES: To win here? It would be -- first of all it's a U.S. Senior Open or USGA event, so that would be incredible. But to win here would be -- it would rank right up there as any other tournaments probably besides Augusta. When people talk about the majors on the Senior Tour, you know, I played in Denver, I thought it was a very tough course. This is just like a U.S. Open; no one's going to tell me any differently. It's very tough out there. So to win here would be, you know, like winning a U.S. Open. And I'm from Seattle, so I would think it would be a great, great accomplishment. But it would be very special for me.

Q. Wondering what your game plan is, given the length of the golf course, how many drivers you feel comfortable hitting here?
FRED COUPLES: Well, if the weather stays like this and there's not much wind, I hit a driver on the 2nd hole. And then I hit a driver one other place. And I might not even hit a driver on the 2nd hole, because it doglegs. And the long hole up the hill I'm hitting -- I think it's the 5th or 6th, it's a par-5 turned into a par-4. I hit 3-wood the last two days there, because if you don't hit the fairway there's really nowhere to go. So probably two drivers a day. And the rest are -- well, there's a couple of holes -- the rest would be 3-woods and a couple of holes where everyone is going to hit a 5-wood or an iron.

Q. Just to follow up, I'm wondering if there isn't some advantage where you don't hit a driver, that you can hit other clubs?
FRED COUPLES: I'm hoping. My 3-wood is maybe my favorite club. Last week I played in Canada and I drove it very, very well, and that had a lot of rough. But I hit driver almost every hole. Whereas here it's a 3-wood. I'm like everyone else, once you get going, and you start to hit the ball straight, in between the trees, you start to feel a little more comfortable. But when you start hitting them and you hit them off the trees, everything becomes harder. A 3-wood for me is going to be easier to hit than my driver. I'm going to play with FRED COUPLES. I'm pretty sure he'll hit a lot of drivers. But he gets a lot of roll and he'll get it going, and he's very straight. So I'll see Eduardo -- I'm talking about my group -- I'll probably see Eduardo hit a lot of fairway woods and then I'll hit a lot of fairway woods, too.

Q. How does the hype of coming home feel now as opposed to the a few years ago when the PGA was here?
FRED COUPLES: You know, it probably doesn't feel that much different. I think at that time I was playing pretty well. I didn't play particularly well in this tournament at the PGA. But I felt like, you know, going in there I was 38 years old and was playing very, very well. I thought I had a shot at winning. And the same thing this week. So the feel of it is kind of the same. I mean, I'm seeing the same people out there that I did 12 years ago, most of my friends and family are out there, and then a lot of other people I played junior golf with or amateur golf and a lot of other friends. But we're just all obviously 12 years older.

Q. I was speaking with Gordy Graybeal yesterday afternoon, he's the director of "First Tee" in greater Seattle, and he remembers first playing with you I think in 1970, he says. And he told me that he's never seen you looking so fit and healthy. Have you been really consciously working on your shape and figure?
FRED COUPLES: Well, I've been dating a girl for about four months and she works out in the morning and the afternoon and night, it seems like. She works out a couple of times a day. And I go to the gym with her and she does her thing, and I just walk on the treadmill and she gives me a couple of other things to do.
But she's very athletic, and I've lost some weight walking. I'm not doing anything -- I have a back guy that's wanted me to lose some weight, but my back actually feels worse today than it did three months ago when I started walking a lot. But I'm not doing anything, I just get on a treadmill while she's exercising and doing her program. I just go walk on a treadmill. I have lost some weight. It's been very good. But my back is very tight. But I saw Gordy. I saw Scott Williams, who I played Junior Golf with and John Black and a lot of guys, so they're all around. But this weight thing, I just have lost some weight by moderate exercise, nothing crazy.

Q. Is it a good thing that you and Tom are probably the biggest names? I know Eduardo is a veteran that hits it long. Is it a good thing you're paired up the first day with sort of the focus on you guys, or is it better that you are with a couple of qualifiers? What's the pros and cons?
FRED COUPLES: Well, the pros and cons are ever since they started pairings they have paired brackets. If I didn't get Tom and Eduardo I would have gotten Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin or Jay Haas and someone else. I played with Rick Tenbroeck today, and I played with a couple guys when I first went on TOUR, Mike Donald and Bill Britton, and we had a blast. Personally for me, FRED COUPLES is one of my all time favorites, so to get paired with him is great. But if it would have been two guys that were qualifying, that's fine with me, too. But they do these pairings -- is it great that Tom and I are playing? You know, we'll have a big gallery and there will be a lot -- I don't know, someone told me they're expecting 20 or 25,000 people out there a day. They'll be scattered all over.

Q. Do you have a 2-iron in the bag?
FRED COUPLES: I do, yeah.

Q. What kind of 2-iron?
FRED COUPLES: Taylor Made.

Q. Did you switch drivers?

Q. Were you experimenting with another driver?

Q. How long have you been here and did you plan your trip up a long time ago?
FRED COUPLES: I got in Monday night. You know, I mean I planned the trip a while ago, but I've got something with all the family on Saturday at my niece's house. And that's going to be the big bash night. But tomorrow -- everyone knows you don't know when you're playing. I play early tomorrow and when we're done I'm going to take my girlfriend around and -- her mother came in and we're going to go where I used to live and play golf and do all this stuff. She wants to see it. And then Friday I'm going to play late; you can't do much that day. But as far as planning the trip, as soon as I found out that this tournament was going to be at Sahalee, I don't know when you did it a couple, two, three years ago, it was very exciting.
Now, this honorary chairman stuff is a little bit mind boggling, but it's going to be over Sunday and then next year someone else can be the chairman at Inverness, but it is kind of funny. But I was definitely looking forward to coming up here, for sure.

Q. You mentioned in the flash where your back -- could you elaborate on that?
FRED COUPLES: Well, actually I feel good, but I just don't -- it's been a couple of months now and I just feel very stiff. But I'm -- I feel good. It's very odd. So, you know, everyone said, geez, you lose some weight, you get thinner, your back will get better. I feel more stiff. But my back is the same. It can always get better, but at this particular time this is how I feel most of the time.

Q. There's a few more gray hairs than 35 years ago when you were a junior golfer here. Any changes in your swing, any changes in your on course demeanor than when you were a junior golfer?
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, I used to break a lot of clubs. I probably was a little different than your average junior player. I did have a lot longer hair and a lot more brown hair. But my demeanor, you know, really from maybe my second, third year on Tour, has gotten a lot more even keel. I'm pretty much a self-taught player. My swing hasn't changed a whole lot, I don't think. But I watch a lot of people. And, you know, have I broken clubs the first 10 or 12 years on TOUR? Yeah. Have I stopped breaking clubs? Yeah. I don't even throw them anymore, it's not worth of the time and effort anymore.
It takes time to do all that. Like I'm on TOUR and I play with some of the young players, and I tell them my idea of doing a few things is different, but I've been doing it a long time. And I think if you look at some of the other players, like a Nicklaus or Fred Couples they don't play all the time. And some of these young guys feel like they have to play all the time, all the time, all the time. So that's kind of my goal to them, it's not really a demeanor, if you play a lot with some guys that have to show whether they're feisty or cocky or hotheaded or whether they never get excited. And I think for myself I feel like the last 20 years I've been pretty much the same on the course. I like to play well, just like everyone else.
Now when I don't, I've been playing mediocre golf, late 40s that you kind of get used to it and you just say, what the heck. But now that I'm playing better and I'm on a Tour that I can certainly feel like I can play and win, you know, I still have that same attitude that I'm just one of the guys. And if I play well I'll have a shot. And this is a week that I'm home, and I would certainly like to play well and see what happens.

Q. You had a very successful captaincy last year at the Presidents Cup. I wonder if you've talked to Corey at all, maybe traded some notes with him and how you might assess the American team going over to Wales as they prepare?
FRED COUPLES: I've seen Corey a little bit. He was at the Presidents Cup. And, you know, he's got -- his guys are probably going to have some new faces. There's a lot of younger guys that are going to be on the team, which therefore helps me, if they're on the team at the Presidents Cup. But, you know, most of the banter is really, you know -- he's more -- in Ryder Cups he's more charged up. I was never really charged up, although at some times I got wound up when I played and won matches. But the whole -- the whole format, for me, was to really have fun. Someone is going to win and you're going to lose.
And I think for the Ryder Cup our team stacks up very, very good. But their team stacks up much better than they were last time, too, in my opinion. So we're going to have to play really, really great golf over there. And I think we can do it. They think they're going to win. We think we're going to win. At the end of September we'll figure it all out.

Q. That round when you shot 65 at Glendale wearing tennis shoes?
FRED COUPLES: Did I really have tennis shoes on? I honestly don't remember. That's the story.

Q. Don't ruin it.
FRED COUPLES: I wouldn't bet -- although I probably didn't have golf shoes on. I didn't own many pairs at that time.

Q. Scott Williams said you had tennis shoes?
FRED COUPLES: I would believe Scott, he's pretty smart.

Q. What do you remember from that, highlights from that round, apparently it was a 65 with two three-putts?
FRED COUPLES: Did Don Bies finish second? Someone was leading the whole week. It's only three rounds. And I think I was in a position where, you know, as a 17 year old I was out playing on, what, I don't want to say Sunday, whatever the last day was, and I had a hot round. And when I finished for some reason I remember Don Bies name and not many others, maybe Pat Fitzsimons, those are great players around here, and I ended up winning. And I don't think I was near the lead when I teed off.
But just like everything else, it just kind of happens. And that happened and I don't think I was any better or any worse. But I ended up winning, which was a great accomplishment, but I don't remember if I made a putt -- I think I made a par-putt on the last hole. But I was more excited about the 65. I'd never really shot a score like that.

Q. This round just gets bigger every year?
FRED COUPLES: You know, everything gets bigger, yeah. But my score is still a 65. It didn't go to 62 or '3 or '1. That's etched in the paper. I can't makeup anything. The only better story would have been if I wore shorts, and I don't think we were allowed to wear shorts.
PETE KOWALSKI: Thank you so much. Good luck.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297