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April 6, 2012

Fred Couples


BILLY MORRIS:テつ Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.テつ We are delighted to have Freddie Couples with us.テつ Freddie, as you know, has 15 PGA TOUR victories, ten career Top‑10 finishes at this tournament, and he's currently 5‑under par for this tournament.
Freddie, we are delighted to have you here, and congratulate you on a nice round of golf today.テつ Would you like to start with a statement or do you want to go just straight to questions?テつ (Laughter).
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ I can start with a statement.テつ Very shocking and it was a great day.テつ You know, I've said it for 28 years, this is my favorite golf tournament in the world, and you know, today was just another day where I felt like as hard as it was and as‑‑ I felt like I hit the ball well yesterday; that if I went out there and hit it solid today, that was really the game plan of not try to do a whole lot of crazy things, just hit the ball solid, and I did, and made a few putts, and ended up shooting a lot lower than I thought.
5‑under was an incredible round, a very, very good round.テつ I know Phil just birdied 18 for 4‑under and Sergio is behind me and Rory was a little bit behind me and Lee was ahead of me, and there was a lot going on there.テつ And for me to be a part of it, it's really amazing.テつ I'm very thrilled with the way I played today.

Q.テつ How many years does this place take off your life?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ How many years does it take off?テつ Actually, you know, I feel like I'm very young when I get here.テつ Just really the opposite.テつ A lot of tournaments you play and you drag a little bit and I think this is just‑‑ there's so much going at this tournament.
You know, it's the same course every year.テつ But you don't play‑‑ on a round like today, I've not played that many rounds like this where it was cold and windy.テつ There have been days where it's really blowing hard, but not that many.
But as far as, you know, this golf course, for a lot of us, I think everyone gets so excited to come here.テつ It's the first major; it's Augusta; the course is beautiful.テつ I feel like I just really, really enjoy playing here.テつ I have great‑‑ I wish I would have won it again; I didn't.テつ I wish I would have beaten Mark or Phil one of those two years; but to win it once was truly amazing, and to play well here a lot I think is because I really know the golf course.
That doesn't mean I'm going to do well every single time, but I feel like I can get it around and figure out how to shoot a score on this course.

Q.テつ 52‑year‑olds are not meant to win majors; does that ever occur to you or do you just figure, what the hell?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ I stand out there and say, what the hell a lot; what do I have to lose here?テつ Go for the flag on this shot.テつ But once you really get cruising around, then it becomes play a smart shot.
But I'll be honest, when I came in here, I didn't even play in the course on Wednesday.テつ I played in the Par 3.テつ I hit a few balls and I came out yesterday and I really hit the ball well.テつ I shot even par.テつ But yesterday there were a couple of things maybe I could have done better.テつ Today I kind of saved some shots, so it all kind of evens out here.
52 years old, I'm getting up there.テつ I feel like it won't be long‑‑ someone just asked me a minute ago, I have the lowest scoring average, better than Jack Nicklaus.テつ I said, well, I don't know the last year he played, but his scores kept going up a little bit and mine will be doing that shortly, but today was not one of those days.

Q.テつ Wondering how your back is feeling with the weather, temperature and the wind; is that why you didn't go out on the course on Wednesday?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ Wednesday I just decided‑‑ I enjoy the Par 3.テつ It's a little bit of work, but I worked with my teacher, Paul.テつ We hit a few.テつ And then I was actually going to go practice after the Par 3 and that's when the siren went off and it backfired a little bit to work on some of the longer clubs, my 3‑wood and driver.
But basically, I feel like I played enough.テつ I don't need to wear myself out.テつ There's no reason for me to go play the back nine on Wednesday morning.テつ I'm going to hook it on the 10th hole and hopefully hit the green and hit the 12th green and all that.テつ So I've played enough where I want to do just enough work to be prepared and go from there.

Q.テつ What would it take for this to last two more days?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ What would it take?テつ Well, I mean, a lot more birdies, a lot more good putts.

Q.テつ Advil.
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ Yeah, and ATI block, I'm on ATI block now.テつ I haven't taken Advil.
I'm certainly not Rory McIlroy or Phil Mickelson, but I do know this course pretty well.テつ I've had a lot of success here.テつ But I have to come out tomorrow and not be too edgy and hit a good tee shot on 1, and if I have to make a 5‑footer for par on 1, you know, you've got to make a 5‑footer for par.テつ And sometimes it doesn't go that way.テつ It's a very, very difficult course.
To be honest, I didn't know how the weather was supposed to be, but I certainly would like to see it warm up again.

Q.テつ Can you win?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ Can I win?テつ I believe I can, yes.

Q.テつ Over a whole career, what's the importance of temperament in coping with this sport, like your bad back, as opposed to having talent for the game?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ Well, I mean, this is a different week to answer that.テつ I mean, I'm sure I've gotten frustrated here, but normally this is really‑‑ you know, I say this about Phil, because I feel the same way about me.テつ I feel like this is a park for Phil, and he walks around and there's a lake over here and if he's got to carve it across this pond, then, do this or that; I feel the same way.
I don't feel too much stress.テつ Now, obviously there's stress out there.テつ I'm not‑‑ what I'm getting at is, when you're playing here, I'm not going to let too many things bother me.テつ It's so beautiful.テつ You can't say it's your favorite place and then break a club on the fourth hole on Saturday (laughter).
But I do like the place, and I believe there are a lot of guys that play well here because they feel very comfortable on the course.テつ You know, Tiger certainly did; Nicklaus did.テつ But those are guys who have won so many majors.テつ For me personally, I just love the week.テつ And if I don't do well, you know, I leave here with the attitude of, you know, I'll come back next year and do well.
A lot of the tournaments I play in, at my age now, not 20 years ago, they are just golf tournaments.テつ It's another week of golf.テつ And for me to be tied at this moment, you know, it's a little shocking, but I played a really good round of golf today.テつ And like this lady asked, I have to do that tomorrow, or they will just fly by me.テつ I mean, these guys are not going to come out and shoot even par.

Q.テつ On No.9, you made an excellent putt, and you backed away; the wind was really picking up.テつ Is that a putt that in all of the rounds you've played, you had seen before?テつ How did your course knowledge factor into making that putt?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ That's a good question.テつ The pin is way back left on No.9.テつ It's not there very often.テつ And so I watched Rory putt up the hill, and I got a little feed off of that.テつ But mine was very straight.テつ And sometimes you get these greens, even when they are up a little tier, they roll straight.テつ I read it straight and it went right in.

Q.テつ Get your birdies, please?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ I birdied No. 3 from the left bunker.テつ I hit a wedge to about four feet.
I hit a rescue on No. 4 to four feet, made birdie.
No. 8, I laid up and hit a wedge to about three feet.
No. 7, going backwards, I hit a driver and a 5‑iron to about 20 feet and made birdie.
And then No.9, I birdied, as we were just talking about, I hit a drive and a 7‑iron about 35 feet.
15, I hit a good drive and a rescue, 25 feet behind the hole and 2‑putted for birdie.
And then I hit an 8‑iron on 16 and made about a 20‑footer.

Q.テつ Save on 11?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ On No. 11, yeah, I actually made an unbelievable up‑and‑down.テつ I missed the green to the right and it went behind the bunker.テつ The pin was tucked way in the back right, and I flipped it up over the bunker to about six or eight feet and made it for par.テつ That was a huge putt.

Q.テつ So do you remember you were in this exact same spot last year on Friday?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ Someone, Jim Nantz just told me that.テつ I don't remember that at all.

Q.テつ So how can you learn from what happened last year?
FREDDIE COUPLES:テつ Well, I don't know.テつ What happened last year?テつ He told me I shot 1‑over on the weekend.テつ I don't want to shoot 1‑over on the weekend, unless it's blowing 50 miles an hour, I'll take it.
BILLY MORRIS:テつ Thank you so much.

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