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February 19, 2011

Fred Couples


Q. It was a pretty long, cold, raw day out there.
FRED COUPLES: Well, I think we actually got lucky. On the 10th and 11th holes I was thinking to myself as I was bogeying 10, wow, this is going to be brutal. But it stopped after 11, and I think that was pretty lucky for us.
But tough day. You know, I hung in there, and I didn't hit the ball exceptionally well, but I hit it solid, which is what I said I needed to do, and I just didn't make enough birdies. So tomorrow I have to come out and fight and see what happens.

Q. When you guys were on 11 and the rain was really coming down, we were saying, man, 12 through 15 are going to be ugly if it doesn't turn, and luckily it did.
FRED COUPLES: Right, I mean, I hate to tell you, I was thinking, what am I going to shoot on the back nine, 40? Honestly, you start playing like those guys did yesterday in that weather, anything would have happened. But it stopped, and we got through there, and I think I had two birdies and a bogey, which is very good. I can't complain.

Q. You know the question I'm going to ask. How do you feel with the back? It was cold out there, a lot of waiting around. John and J.B. are pretty deliberate players; it was a long day.
FRED COUPLES: We all were. It was hard. We put our rain gear on a couple times, and we were in some rough spots. On this course when you've got these testy little shots you fall behind. For me, I'm tired; I'm tired every day, but my back feels okay, and I'll get home 5:00, won't go anywhere and be ready to go tomorrow morning.

Q. How are you feeling right now?
FRED COUPLES: I feel good. I mean, once I stop, I get a little stiff, but I feel fine.

Q. And your golf game today, are you pleased?
FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, I hit two really good shots on the first hole, made birdie, and made a few really nice putts for par. You know, I made a great par putt on 8. I drove it in the trees and got up-and-down, but I played okay. I mean, to shoot 70 and hang in there, I'm still in great shape, one behind, I think, and I have no problem with that.
To lead and go out and shoot 70, I'm in good shape. Obviously Aaron is playing well. I think he's been off to a great start this season. I think we'll have to shoot something tomorrow to have a shot at winning. I don't even know if 70 is going to win.

Q. You've won four times on the Champions Tour, so will that be a tool?
FRED COUPLES: Well, if I don't play like an idiot, I'll be fine. You know, last year -- today I felt pretty good. It was dark out there, and I left a lot of putts short. Some of them I was just trying to really two-putt. Tomorrow will be a little different. If I need to start making birdies, I've got to putt better.
But on the PGA TOUR, the last eight or nine years that I've played, I've played some decent golf, not enough to win any tournaments. And the Champions Tour, maybe that will help by winning last year. We'll see tomorrow.

Q. You missed a few putts, but 17 might be the one?
FRED COUPLES: Well, yeah. You know, it's a new green. I thought I read it correctly and it broke a little more, but it was actually a better putt than I've been putting. I made a nice par putt on 15, and it was not a hard putt on 17. I wish I would have made it, but I didn't, and to make par on 18 was good.

Q. There was about a hole between every single group toward the end. What factor would you say led to why?
FRED COUPLES: I can speak for us. We got in some predicaments. We needed an official three times in the last three holes. We just fell behind. But you know, there are some holes where you just get these delicate little shots that you just can't really get moving, and we were like that all day. But we battled it out. I don't even know what we shot. We might have shot 1-under for me and maybe 1-over for both their scores, which is okay. But we were a little slow. We just fell behind.

Q. We have a mixed bag of contenders that you're facing tomorrow. You are by far the most experienced player on this golf course and as a professional. Do you have an advantage?
FRED COUPLES: Well, this is my 30th year on TOUR, and I don't -- I like the way a lot of people play. I pay attention to a lot of people when I'm paired with them. But I've got my own game. So if Aaron Baddeley goes out there and hits the ball like a machine, I'm all for that. I hope we all play well. But for me experience helps. I know this course very well, and that's a big key to me. But I don't want to use the word loosely.
Whatever the other guys do is their own deal. I like to watch people play. I've always kept an eye on what everyone is doing. But tomorrow I'm going to be playing this course as best I can.

Q. What do you think it'll take?
FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, I think -- I haven't looked at the scores, 10, 9 and 9 and then a bunch -- so I would say 12- or 13-under would be really good.

Q. Would you go through birdies and bogeys?
FRED COUPLES: No. 1, I hit a 3-wood and a 3-iron 20 feet and two-putted for birdie.
No. 10, I laid it up perfectly and I thought a hit a good second shot, didn't hit it near far enough and then I had a very difficult putt, putted it down and rolled off the green and two-putted from there.
And then 11 I laid up and hit a wedge to about four feet, and that was it.

Q. Is it key to get a birdie right after a bogey like that?
FRED COUPLES: Well, that was good, especially we played that hole in a downpour, and it was good to play a par-5 where I got it in good position and hit a good wedge. But it was tough.
Again, my eyes, it just was dark, and my eyes aren't great anyway, and I just didn't have much to do with putting today. It wasn't bad, but tomorrow I just need to make a few putts.

End of FastScripts

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