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March 24, 2012

Fred Couples


PHIL STAMBAUGH:¬† Fred, everybody is real tired, so we'll go ahead and start.¬† 2‑under 70 in the afternoon to tie for the lead with Jeff Sluman.
FRED COUPLES:¬† We all know what happened this morning, and then to be honest with you, I think we sat around for four hours.¬† That was a little bit rough.¬† But I played very scrappily this afternoon, and I think to get under par was a good score, and I ended up birdieing the 16th to shoot 2‑under, and I didn't shoot myself‑‑ it would have been nice to shoot 5‑under or whatever, but that wasn't going to happen.¬† I felt very mediocre today, and I'm not going to lie, I am so tired and sore that I just am glad to be done.¬† And I'm sure 78 other guys are, too, but most of them weren't‑‑ I was trying to get ahead because every shot is going to be important tomorrow, but I was also glad that I wasn't 2‑ or 3‑over today, also, which was the way I was looking.
To go over the card, I made a 20‑footer for birdie on 1.
I got it up‑and‑down for bogey on 2.¬† I made a three‑foot putt.
The par‑5 I hit a couple good woods just over the green and two‑putted from 70 feet.¬† I made about a 10‑footer.
The next hole, the best shot I hit all day was a sand wedge and I flew the green and I didn't get it up‑and‑down and made bogey on 7, which was not a good deal.
And then I didn't hit very good shots on 10 and 11.¬† I got them on the green 40 and 50 feet and three‑putted those for bogeys.
And then I hit it close on 12 with a wedge and made a birdie from about 10 feet.
And then the par‑5, I hit it left of the green in two, not a very good second shot, but got it up‑and‑down for birdie with about a three‑footer.
And then the next hole, the par‑3, I hit a 9‑iron to about three feet.
And then two of the best shots I hit all day were on the next hole, the par‑5.¬† I knocked it on and hit it to maybe 30 feet for par.
Next hole, I hit a 7‑iron to about 15 feet and made it.
And then parred the last two.

Q.  The first hole you go out there, you birdie it, seven birdies in a row.  What were you thinking at that time?
FRED COUPLES:¬† Well, to be honest with you, I mean, the very next hole I bogeyed.¬† I played the‑‑ I still didn't know that‑‑ they moved the tee back.¬† I played a very weak drive away from the bunkers.¬† I could have carried the bunkers easily.¬† As I turned around and watched the guys behind us, they were hitting 8‑irons in there and I had a 4‑iron by the angle that I had.¬† I ended up pulling the 4‑iron left into the hazard and punched it out of there and got it up‑and‑down for bogey.
But what I was thinking was just continue to hit good shots, and I really didn't hit many really, really quality shots.  I didn't embarrass myself but I scraped it around, but I never made seven birdies in a row.  I knew it was a new round, but it was just one of those good things.

Q.  There weren't many guys this afternoon who were able to go real low, Sluman and Thorpe maybe, but what made conditions tougher?
FRED COUPLES:¬† Well, you know, I think one of the things was sitting around waiting, then you're ready to get your round going.¬† That sounds like an excuse, but again, I finished six holes and sat around for four hours and tried to get regrouped, and I never did. ¬†But obviously there were some guys that shot 3‑ or 4‑under, and there was some wind, not howling winds, but our group‑‑ we were not all that good.¬† We didn't get the ball really close to the hole a lot.¬† I mean, David three‑putted a lot.¬† He didn't hit the ball horribly.¬† He shot a high score, but he three‑putted a lot.
So our group struggled, and I was probably the leader of the pack.  I just shot a better score than David.  I think David played way better than I did, but I happened to make a lot of birdies.

Q.  This time of year, how much are you thinking about the Masters?
FRED COUPLES:¬† Well, I mean, I played here because I want to play some golf.¬† I knew I was going to play Newport Beach.¬† It's my first year playing here, and the reason I played is because I need to play.¬† For me personally, it's unfortunate that the weather‑‑ but I'm leading or tied for the lead, is everything is gravy going into tomorrow.¬† But it's hard.¬† I'm going to be exhausted tomorrow night.¬† It would be nice to play in good weather, come out, play four and a half hours and go home and rest and come back the next day.
But these last few days, for everybody, even the media people, have been hard.  You guys have sat around.  There's not much to do but fight through it all.
So Augusta is two weeks away.  When I get to Houston it'll be the same question.  I'll be practicing at Houston.  Much tougher field, regular Tour.  I don't know how I'll play, but I'm going to keep playing rounds until I get through Augusta, and then I'll play fully the Champions Tour after that.
This is a great course.  I'm glad I came, and I'll be back.  It's drying out, but it's a really good golf course.  It's totally different.  I mean, these greens are extremely slow, obviously because of the weather, but the drives, it's got a lot of the look to it, and oddly enough, I'm trying to draw the ball a little bit and I've been hitting some pull hooks.  I don't know what I'll do tomorrow, but I'm going to try to drive it a lot better.  It's a great course.  It's in perfect shape for all that rain, it really is.  Can't complain at all.  We picked the ball up in the fairway.  I think we'll probably not do that tomorrow.  I don't know what we'll do.  But the golf course is in great shape, and it's a good course.

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