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THE SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY ROLEX


July 25, 2012


Fred Couples


TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND

SCOTT CROCKETT:  Thanks, as always, for joining us today and welcome to The Senior Open Championship.  Give us your thoughts on the week ahead.
FRED COUPLES:  Well, I think it's a great test.  Turnberry is a beautiful place.  It is my first British Senior open and I'm excited, thank God, tomorrow, if we get to tee off.  The course is in perfect shape.  I got here Sunday.  Sunday it was blowing 50 miles an hour.  It rained all day Monday and yesterday and today have been beautiful days.  So we have seen it all so far and I'm sure it will be a tough week.  It's a very hard course.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Your own form this year, the win in Mississippi a couple of months back; pretty consistent apart from that?
FRED COUPLES:  Yeah, I did win Mississippi.  I played very well there.  Maybe one or two other times I felt like I was going along pretty well.  At Pittsburgh, I think I opened up, I don't know what I was, I think I was leading after two rounds and on the range on Saturday, kind of tweaked my back and that was probably the biggestletdown.  I know it was 36 holes but I definitely felt like I was playing that course well and making a lot of birdies.  I just felt like I was well on my way to winning.  And it didn't work out.
And I played the U.S. Open, played okay, and now we are here.  So a lot of these Majors have come very quickly.  I'm not disappointed at all.  I don't think that's really worth a description.  I just feel like I need to get on a little bit of a role, and this is a course that takes a lot of precision and solid shots.
I feel like I will be one of the guys up there this week but you just have to play really good golf.  You can't screw around and miss shots.  You'll be bogeying a lot of holes.

Q.  What are your memories of Turnberry?
FRED COUPLES:¬† Yeah, someone asked that question, I remember‑‑ I don't know, one year, maybe I played with Norman on Saturday, the year he won.¬† I'm not really sure what I've ever shot here.¬† I know it's a very hard course.¬† I do like it.¬† Actually it's one of my favourites.¬† I watched Tom almost win a few years ago.¬† I watched almost every shot that week, and actually I have more memories of that than I ever do playing here because I don't remember any shots that I could really hit in the two times I've played; they were so long ago.
But I'll say it again.¬† It's a really, really fun course to play.¬† When you stand up on a lot of these tees, you really have to hit‑‑ unless it's calm like yesterday, then you can miss‑hit a few.¬† As long as you're keeping it out of the bunkers, you can play a little bit out of the rough.¬† Once you start missing it and the wind gets it, it's some serious problems.¬† I do remember that in the years past, and the wind kind of blows across the course.
So you're always trying to ride the wind, or for me it's hard to hook the ball into the wind.  So I was always trying to let the wind push it as low as I could.  It's just a hard course to play.

Q.  This is the first time we've seen you since you've been appointed the advice captain to Davis.  What does that mean to you and what do you think your success as a Presidents Cup captain can have on the American side?
FRED COUPLES:  Good question.  I was Presidents Cup captain a few years ago and I think Davis was maybe 40 years old and he would have been a perfect pick as an assistant.  But it's really hard to choose him, when I somehow felt he could make the team, it would take a little bit away from his golf.  The reason I said, we've been best friends forever so it would be a perfect fit for me.
When it was Ryder Cup time, he asked me a long time ago, and I said, sure, I'd love to help in any way I can.  So my help in September will be that I have been a captain for almost all of these guys that will be on the team and I know them fairly well and I understand what they will like.  I know every captain thinks they know what's going on and you really don't, and you just kind of let the players really tell the story the whole week; not only do they hit every shot the whole week and make every point for you.
But you get them in a corner and they tell you something they might not say out in front of the team, you know, you keep that in the back of your mind and maybe later on down the week, you might pair a guy up with somebody that he feels like he can win a point with.
So with Davis, I know the guys and it will be a lot of fun.  I never thought I would be Ryder Cup Captain, so this is the next best thing and I'm looking forward to it.

Q.¬† Davis talked about the key from the American point of view is not getting them over‑excited, coming to the first day‑‑ that they will be too excited about The Ryder Cup; whereas in The Presidents Cup, they kept the emotions in check.¬† Is that going to be crucial?
FRED COUPLES:¬† You mean, for Davis or myself?¬† You know, that's very funny‑‑ I don't think I'm any different than anyone else but when I'm Presidents Cup captain, it is a little bit but I would be the same if I was a Ryder Cup Captain.¬† There was really, you're more emotional as a player, there's no doubt, because you're out there playing, except on Sunday, you have a partner and you have to maybe fit in with that partner.
So when I played my first two Ryder Cups, I was playing with a few guys that were way more intense and then I played with a guy named Raymond Floyd who is very intense but at the same time he's very laid back.
There's a fit for everything.  So if Davis is the Ryder Cup Captain, I'll leave him alone and he can be as intense or worried or whatever.  I'm not worried about Davis Love.  I'm worried about helping one or two of the other 12 guys.  But he'll be a nervous wreck, sure, he wants to do everything correctly.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the hardest days, because your mind is racing.
Once the tournament starts, you pair your guys up and you do your best trying to figure out when their guys are going to go.  It's even harder for me at The Presidents Cup; we kind of match up as you golf in The Ryder Cup, you just put your names down and José will put his names down and you just figure out how you're going to get a certain amount of points.

Q.  Davis has been saying he would love to qualify for his own team; if the time came that he did, can you even contemplate that and would it be a good thing to suddenly change at the last minute?
FRED COUPLES:  Well, it would be a good thing for Davis if he won the PGA or picked himself or qualified for The Ryder Cup Team.
For awhile, he was playing extremely well and he just needed a shot here or there, really, to get on a big roll but Davis is still a very qualified player.¬† If I had to look at it now, could he still win‑‑ I don't know how many events he's going to play in.
Yeah, he could maybe still make that team.¬† But I think that things have slowed down there.¬† But everyone wants to make The Ryder Cup Team.¬† Even if you're a captain and you're a good player, you still want to make the team.¬† I don't think it's ever happened, maybe I'm wrong on that but as a 48‑year‑old, Davis can still play and they made a great choice for him to be The Ryder Cup Captain.¬† At the time when he was chosen, I don't think he was throwing away his golf career to just become a Ryder Cup Captain.¬† So it's a very good statement saying that he wants to make the team because he wants to play good golf:
Fringe, next time if they pick someone in their early 50s, he's not going to make The Ryder Cup Team.  So he's a captain and a captain for the team but as far as Davis, I think Davis could and still may have an outside shot at playing really well for another two or three weeks and making the team.

Q.  Your friendship with Tiger, do you think that might make the ace in the sleeve for Davis; that you can get the best out of him with your friendship?
FRED COUPLES:¬† Yeah, the first Presidents Cup, Tiger went 5‑0.¬† He played amazing golf, he and Steve Stricker.¬† I tried to putt them together in Australia and they lost badly their first match and they both came up to me and said:¬† "We need to mix it up.¬† I'm not ready for this, and Tiger needs a better partner," joking; Steve Stricker ended up playing extremely well.
But my relationship really with Tiger is I believe that just like most people, he's a great player.  When it came time to choose him as a pick, I asked him to do a couple of things, and he did them.  He played in Australia and he played in a tournament in San Jose, felt like he played pretty well and he was ready to go. I have a lot of respect for him and I think he had a lot of respect for me choosing him and being ready to play.
So now in the Ryder Cup, he's one of our best players again and there's no reason to worry about Tiger.  Doesn't mean he's going to win every match but he's on the team.  There's no worries about Davis having to choose him.  I think anyone would choose Tiger Woods no matter where he was to be on a team but I feel like my friendship with him, he's an easy guy to handle and be around, he really is, and Davis and Tiger are fairly good friends, too.
Again, when you get to Chicago, it's obviously Davis's team.  I'm sure I'll get to take care of two or three or four guys and walk around with them.  And it will be a lot of fun.  It will be serious but it's not serious.  The golf is golf.

Q.  So it's easy to handle; a lot of people from the outside looking in wouldn't think that about Tiger?
FRED COUPLES:  Well, I'm not outside; I'm usually in the fairways with him or talking to him where no one knows what we're saying.  So I see the other side, too.  And I think me personally, it makes no difference in my life that I read stuff that I think is wrong or right.  You'd be an idiot or to be lost to say what happened to him wasn't something that he's regretted.  I don't talk to him about that.  I talk to him about golf.  I tell him how great he's playing, how much fun it is to see him win again and when he wasn't playing well, I was telling him, you know, your swing looks terrible; when is it going to improve.  So there's a lot of teasing and a lot of building him up, and that's my relationship with him.
But my next goal is to be with him in The Ryder Cup and to have him play well and have a good time.

Q.  Just the whole issue of the long putters, just wondering what your take on it is.
FRED COUPLES:  Well, I use a belly putter, and my take is, there's no easy way out.  It's irrelevant to me.  I started with the belly putter eight, nine years ago and I did it specifically for my back.  I know it was shocking my first year on the Champions Tour, I led the Champions Tour is putting but on the regular tour, there was a couple of years where I was way up there in putting, too.
So I think anything that they make a change is correct.¬† I could sit here and say, I was talking to Peter Dawson yesterday, that I believe that people are able to putt a line on their ball, I think that, also, is a crime in golf where you can put a line on a ball and set it up and line it up to make a 4‑foot putt.¬† Anyone can do that.¬† I can put a line on my ball, too, just like anyone can use a belly putter.
But when you're sitting there using a thing for alignment, I think that's not part of golf.¬† So there's a lot of things out there that are a little wishy‑washy.¬† But the long putter and the belly putter, I really think they are okay.¬† I don't think it's‑‑ I just don't see anyone out there winning every tournament, and doing things that have never been done before with a belly putter or Adam Scott, whatever that putter is called, Bernhard Langer.
Is Adam Scott a better putter?¬† Yeah.¬† Has he worked hard with that?¬† I promise you can't take a putter like that and say here we are, I'm going to start putting well.¬† Adam has worked very hard with that putter.¬† I think, and wish, he would have won that tournament, but I don't believe everyone would have sat here and said, wow, look here he won the tournament because he uses a broomstick putter.¬† He won the tournament, or he would have won the tournament using one of those putters, but that would not have been the reason why; he hit the ball like a machine.¬† He semi‑struggled the last four holes and didn't win.
But on Sunday night, if Adam would have won, I wouldn't have come in here and says, geez, the reason he won is because he used the broomstick putter we have to get rid of it.

Q.  The reason you went to the belly was your back; would you still be sitting here today or playing today had you not been able to use the belly?
FRED COUPLES:¬† No, the reason I use it is because there's a position when I stand, and bend over that causes problems.¬† So for instance, any golf shot that I hit where the ball is below my feet and I reach for it is a bad spot for me to hit it, and a lot of times, I take the easy way out and don't try to make a real aggressive swing.¬† So in putting, it just‑‑ I would pushy it into my belly and lean over and it would hit the ground, if that makes sense.
And there was a spot where I couldn't go any further because unless I pushed it all the way through my body, which I have enough belly, could I do that, that I couldn't really hurt myself.  That's why I used it.  No other reason.  I wasn't yipping or embarrassing myself; in 2003, I just felt like if I was going to practise any putting at all, that would be the way and I would not hurt myself, basically.

Q.  If they were to ban it in 2016, would that interfere with your career?
FRED COUPLES:¬† No, I think‑‑ well, I don't know the rules, but I would use a longer putter.¬† So I would still stand taller, basically.¬† I mean, I woulduse a taller putter.¬† I've been doing it so long that now it's like playing‑‑ I used to stand at the putter hunched over like that.¬† Now I stand like that.¬† I'll stand that way the rest of my life probably.¬† Whatever putter I use, I won't get in that position and that's the reason I started doing that.¬† But if I have to use a short putter, knock‑on‑wood, I don't think I'm going to go out there and not be able to function.
I will say this:¬† Keegan Bradley won the PGA, he uses a belly putter, I don't know, I've been told, but he's used the belly putter most of his life.¬† That's a tough one to swallow.¬† You grow up as a 12‑ and 13‑year‑old and that's the way you play, I mean, even if he started using a belly putter in college at 13 or 14, no one cares what you're doing except your family or if you're out there winning junior events.¬† That's a tough one.¬† For me, I played 22 years using a regular putter and then I changed, but for someone who has never ever used a shorter putter, that's a little different story.¬†

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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