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March 30, 2011

Fred Couples


Q. Forget about the golf. It's Final Four week. Are you doing any of the Guy V stuff? Are you going to get wrapped up in that a little bit? Are you thinking of PSJ?
FRED COUPLES: No. I mean I've heard all about it, but, I mean, Nantz is doing a great thing. I have a couple tickets to go Saturday in a suite, and it just depends on how I feel, you know. I know I'm lucky to be in the building, but I don't really know where these seats are just yet, so we're going to figure it out.

Q. Are you going to go to any of the stuff, are you going to be able to go to like the Guy V thing or anything like that?
FRED COUPLES: I'm playing golf.

Q. You're here really just to play.
FRED COUPLES: Everyone looks at me -- if Guy Lewis was in the Final Four on Saturday would he be out here Saturday morning watching me play golf? I'm in the same boat. I went to Houston, I love Houston, but got to play golf, and, I mean, there's not enough time on my feet, you know, to do all that. I think they know. But, it's a hard thing.

Q. You're the one person who, if it was going to happen, you would make it happen.
FRED COUPLES: Well, yeah.

Q. That's the only reason we're asking that.
FRED COUPLES: I miss out. I've been saying that for 30 years. You miss out. Golf is supposed to be fun, but you miss out on a lot of things.

Q. I still remember you coming in and asking me what the score was in 1984.
FRED COUPLES: I want to go Saturday and then I want the stay on Monday, but I got to get to Augusta for -- if I was 30, I would stay here, it's that easy.

Q. How are things coming along with you looking ahead toward this week and next week in particular?
FRED COUPLES: I'm excited to be here and there and then we'll see what happens. I think I'm going to take some time off after these two events. You know, I'm so stiff and tired right now that it's -- I don't know. It's been like this since October and it's not -- having a bad back is okay. Having pain and a bad back is like a double whammy.

Q. You just can't shake it?
FRED COUPLES: It ain't going away.

Q. Since October?
FRED COUPLES: You know, yeah.

Q. Did you contemplate maybe not playing here?
FRED COUPLES: No. I did a few things to get ready to play here and Augusta. I'm definitely playing here and Augusta.

Q. I mean, this was a good springboard for you last year. You made a good finish. It's a good course for you?
FRED COUPLES: I like playing here. I hope to play here even next year and then go to Augusta and then, you know, after that, we'll see if it's too much to play the week before and if I still think I can play a little bit at Augusta.

Q. Were you in the '86 field when Jack won that year?

Q. What's your recollections of that? Were you on the course the day during the charge? What were the vibes like?
FRED COUPLES: It was loud and furious, great.

Q. You just feel it all the way through. Were you several groups ahead? How quickly did you realize who was doing it, what was happening?
FRED COUPLES: I was the on the 18th hole and he was on the 9th hole. I went back and watched it on TV.

Q. Still look back and think it was maybe one of the greatest non-Fred Couples' wins there?
FRED COUPLES: I think it was incredible, you know, the eagle on 15. I just saw some highlights of it the other day. To win that tournament, last year I was close, and a couple of the years before that with Phil, I think I was going to be older than him but, you know, to have Jack Nicklaus or even Tom Watson at the British, those are unique and incredible I think for a golfer to watch.

Q. You feel like you're back home this week?
FRED COUPLES: Yeah. Nice to be back in Houston, and the course is immaculate. It's in perfect shape and should be fun.

Q. Do you believe it's 19 years that you've been coming out here to this tournament?

Q. Well, to this event.
FRED COUPLES: I've been out here since 1980. It's hard to believe, yeah, 30 years, you know. What I can't believe is that I'm still playing. That's what I can't believe. Why, I'm not really sure. I love to be here, but, you know, this isn't -- this is an old man's course. I played with Emmitt and Sec and Marvin from Shell, so we had a great time, but I need to play like that tomorrow and get a little momentum going into Augusta.

Q. Did you anticipate being out here?
FRED COUPLES: Well, after the first year, you know, I figured I could make it a little bit, but, you know, golf, you're able to play as long as you can play well enough to do it, and so far I've been very lucky, but how long when I was 20 years old? I have no idea. One year? Ten years? But, you know, we're lucky enough to be able to have a Champions Tour and all that. Thirty years is a long time. Every step I feel old, but it's fun to come play. Even though I went to school here, it's still fun to try and play with the younger guys.

Q. What about coming back here for the Champions Tour?
FRED COUPLES: I played last year and won, and so I'll definitely be back. I'm going to do a couple things for Administaff right now, see if I don't embarrass myself in a couple commercials.

Q. Does it feel odd to play the regular Tour, Champions Tour the same place?
FRED COUPLES: To me obviously I just played at Newport Beach in the Champions Tour, and this golf course is probably ten times harder, but it's all golf. You know, I mean, honestly if I wasn't going to school here and didn't play here every year, you know, there's a tournament in Mississippi this week that I probably should be at, but going to school here and I love the tournament, there's no way I was going to not come here, and it's a better tune-up for Augusta. But, you know, I belong on the Champions Tour, but every now and then, I come out and enjoy it.

Q. What impressed you the most about this layout? This is not the original layout of the course. This has matured.
FRED COUPLES: It's in absolutely immaculate shape. I don't think we'll play a course as good as this all year. It's a nice layout. There are some extremely difficult holes like that one right there, 18. No. 5 jumps out at you. No. 6 is brutal. But it gives you some chances to make birdies. Whenever I played well here, I've gotten around those holes, you know, so you don't ever want to hit it in the water on 18 and make double and, you know, I try not to do that. Again, you're trying to hit really good shots. It's such a fun course to play and actually a ton of people come out and watch. That really is -- I think Phil Michelson and Ernie Els and Sergio and Goosen that play, they enjoy the course, they enjoy playing it before Augusta. I don't think I'm any different than those guys.

Q. Kind of unique situation in Houston this week. Do you have any picks for the Final Four?
FRED COUPLES: I'm going to go against the grain here and take Virginia Commonwealth, and then I'll go with UConn because my caddy is a big UConn fan.

Q. After that?
FRED COUPLES: After that, hope for a great game because I'll be sitting with my feet up watching it Monday night. Maybe a double overtime. You know, we're rooting for UConn to go all the way.

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