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November 4, 2011

Fred Couples


THE MODERATOR: Fred, 1-under 70 today. A little bit of a reverse from yesterday where you didn't have anything going on the front. You're in a tie for the lead after 36 holes. A couple comments about the round.
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, it's not a very good start. As they say: Just keep playing. I wasn't in a great mood. I didn't really play that great the front. But I did hit a couple good shots.
Starting at the back nine, I birdied 10, kind of settled down a little bit, then hit a lot of good shots on 17 and 18, and 14 the long hole up the hill. Eight or ten-footers for birdie, didn't make any of them. Did birdie the short little hole. I guess I birdied 15 and 16.
But today was good. It was hard. Someone asked me if I was surprised there weren't low scores. They moved a couple tees up, but still kept most of them back. Everyone knows it's cold. But it's just a tough, tough course. I don't know how many scores are in the 60s, but whoever did that, I know Calc played a very good round. I'm not satisfied shooting 1-under today at all.
THE MODERATOR: Can you take us through the round.
FRED COUPLES: The 1st hole I just pushed a drive to the right. I had a hundred yards to the front of the green. Tree limbs were in my way. I could get it on the green. I tried to get too cute. I popped it into a bunker in front of the green. It wasn't that hard of a shot, but blasted it out 30 feet and 3-putted.
The rest of that nine, not much going on. I did get it up-and-down on the 8th hole, the par 3, from a difficult spot.
From the back nine, I played pretty well.
10th hole I went for the green in two, got it up-and-down from the right side, made about a three-foot birdie putt.
Then on 15 I hit a good drive and a wedge to eight feet, made it.
Next hole they moved the tees up. I drove it pin-high in the right and made a great pitch out of the rough and made it.
That's it.

Q. Fred, I heard Willie Mays is coming out tomorrow. He said he'd come out if he had a chance to sit and talk with you. Talk about your memories of two years ago. You're probably too young to remember Willie as a kid.
FRED COUPLES: Actually Jay and I, a few of us, he came out early at the Presidents Cup. I believe it was on Monday. Jay and I, Michael, Sean O'Hair, Hunter Mahan got to meet him, and then Jay and I stayed with him for two hours. He told story after story after story. Last year he came out and I sat with him for about 10 minutes.
He's obviously remarkable. For someone like myself, literally two straight hours. We asked him questions, who his favorite this was, great memories. He just went on and on and on. So I hope to see him tomorrow.

Q. You and Jay were dressed almost exactly alike today. Any reaction? Couple weeks away from all dressing the same.
FRED COUPLES: Well, we won't be wearing this. But today we were dressed exactly alike. He had black pants on and a gray sweater, and so did I. We heard that a lot, but we were dressed exactly alike. In two weeks we'll have the same thing on every day.
But he hurt himself out there on the 12th hole. Not doing very well. Going to go find him after this, see how he's doing. He screwed his back up so he can barely move. He did hit a great shot on 17, and he was excited to get it over the wall on 18. By that time, he's barely walking let alone swinging. He's in this trailer over here.
I can't say we had a fun day, because it was a sour finish. But it was fun playing with him. He played very well up until he hurt himself.

Q. A lot of guys near the lead. Looks like it could be an exciting weekend.
FRED COUPLES: Yeah, no, I know we're in a spot where anyone can come from behind. I'm not sure how many guys are under par, but there are three at 4-under, then Calcavecchia, Nick Price, Lehman and Kenny Perry. In reality, it's set up tough. I know today was cold. I know the scores weren't good because of that. Even yesterday, this is a good golf course. Someone asked me what I have to do tomorrow. I have to drive it much better and make a few putts to keep shooting under par.
It is logjammed up there. Even if you don't shoot a bad round tomorrow, someone shoots 68, you shoot well, you have a shot. There are rounds out there where you can shoot 65 or 66 on this course. No one has done it yet because the first two days were pretty tough.

Q. I hate to be a fashion contemplator again. Did you and Jay discuss it beforehand?

Q. When you saw each other, what did you say?
FRED COUPLES: I had a black rain jacket on on the range. I took that off, put a gray sweater on. Didn't pay any attention to him until we got to the tee. Everyone noticed we were dressed exactly alike.

Q. Your short game, your ability to get up-and-down with that soft little wedge shot was pivotal at Westchester. We see it time and time again. Do you put a lot of time in on that? How do you have such great feel from some of the lies that you get?
FRED COUPLES: I like this particular type of rough. This is kind of like Westchester. It's the West Coast/East Coast deal. To be quite honest with you, in that category, I'm either really, really good or very, very mediocre.
When I do work on it, I spent a little time here the last three days, even in the ProAm, trying to hit a couple from off the greens to feel how the club is going through. My technique is probably not any different, but the feel I have for my technique, when it's on, I feel very comfortable doing it. When I'm not, then you got to go practice and figure it out.
Like Westchester I hit some unbelievable shots out of the stuff. Today the up-and-down on 8 and 10 and 15 or 16, you know, they were all really touch shots and I pulled them off easily. I say that because they all rolled up there two or three feet away. You can always chip a ball like that 10 feet and make it. Most of mine, like you say, were good, solid efforts, which I hope can continue.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Fred.
FRED COUPLES: Thank you.

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