What they said: Fred Couples

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November 03, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Charles Schwab Cup Championship transcript archive

THE MODERATOR: Fred, 68 today, 3-under, 31 on the front and two-over on the back.

Maybe just a quick rundown of your day and get some questions.

FRED COUPLES: Well, really the day was -- I had no problem with shooting a couple over on the back. I did birdie 18, but it was nice to get off to that kind of start.

The course was long wet. I haven't played in rain gear in a long time. Again, the back nine was difficult. I made it look difficult. But the most exciting thing, I believe, is I'll be playing with Jay tomorrow. We haven't played much this year. With what's going on, we'll have a good time out there.

THE MODERATOR: Birdies?

FRED COUPLES: The 1st hole I hit a drive and a wedge to about 12 feet.

Par-5, hit it up almost green-high in two but like 30 yards right of the green and I hit a great sand wedge to about two feet.

Next hole I hit a good 9-iron to about two feet.

No. 8, or excuse me No. 7, hit a sand wedge probably 12 feet.

No. 9, went for the green in two. Hit it way to the right and hit a great pitch down there to a couple feet. So I was cruising at that time.

Then I got it right in the front of the green on No. 10. Not an easy chip shot and I didn't get is it up and down. Then I started struggling.

13th hole, sliced a drive into the trees. Actually had an opening with a wood. Hit a tree and ricocheted across the fairway and ended up hitting an iron on the green and two-putting.

Next hole hit a good drive but had 4-iron and hit a terrible shot up in the bunker and blasted out 20 feet and two-putted.

And then actually thought I hit a pretty good shot on 17 with a 7-iron. It didn't carry the bunker and plugged in the bunker and had no shot.

Then hit a good drive and an 8-iron on 18 and birdied 18.

THE MODERATOR: How far was your putt?

FRED COUPLES: On 18? Probably 10 feet.

Q. Fred, yesterday was an hour and a half it seemed like about your selection on the team and not the golf. After that, can you just go out there and play golf and say to hell with all this stuff??

FRED COUPLES: Well, yeah, I mean, to be quite honest, I'm not downplaying anything that happened. In my mind, some it's very serious; in my mind some of it is comical because it just keeps going.

You know, when I picked Bill Haas, I made a comment, you know, one of the things I said is he knew what he had to do. And someone, a pretty good writer said, Well, how would he know? His father is the assistant captain.

I mean, so I just look at this stuff and I think people are trying to ridicule comments that I make -- not in a bad way. None of it's bad. But what I'm saying is his dad and I talk almost every other day about the Presidents Cup, so it was up to his father to tell his son whatever he wanted to tell him. I wasn't gonna call Bill and tell him he had to win to be on the team. So just little things like that.

But as far as yesterday, it's very entertaining. I could sit and talk about Tiger Woods all day. We have 11 other guys on the team. We have Phil Mikelson, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mayhan. These guys are all top players. Bubba Watson.

But it seems like it's all about Tiger. I've picked he him. We'll wait until we get to Australia and we'll see how he plays. He's a great part of the team, and certainly isn't going to win the Presidents Cup or lose it for us.

Q. As a guy who won a Masters and has been around sports, you were mentioning the NBA lockout yesterday. You were very aware of attention, of star system. You know that a guy like Tiger or Tony La Russa just leaving, or A-Rod or something gets the attention.

FRED COUPLES: Right.

Q. So that doesn't surprise you, does it??

FRED COUPLES: No.

Q. You say it's comical, and of course we jump all over it.

FRED COUPLES: No, yeah, I mean, no one jumps all over it in a bad way. No. None of that. Tiger Woods, I mean, you know -- at CordeValle, you know, every shot is -- you know, now I see where Luke Donald is the No. 1 player -- you know, they don't go every little inch at Disney, although he did some phenomenal stuff and ended up winning.

To me, I think it's fun to see. It's fun to see that everyone is interested in Tiger Woods. Now I'm interested. A year ago in picking him, I didn't think I'd have to.

But none of that is a problem for anyone. I mean, Tiger lives it his whole life. It's never going to go away. He's going to go to Australia. He and Joe are there, right.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Right. Right. No. And the reason being is he's a bigger deal than picking Bill Haas. And to be honest with you, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that he would have to play really well to make a run in these playoffs.

So I wasn't going to pick a guy who was going to go play one time in four months. Now, did I play CordeValle? Yes, but he worked very hard to get to that spot. So there are timeframes in this. He's not going to go to CordeValle and embarrass himself.

I felt like he played some pretty good golf. Is pretty good 25th place? No. Is it pretty good to watch him hit the ball? Yeah.

So to pick him at that time was to let him know that he was going to have to play a little bit of golf. And then he committed for the Australian Open, and that was one thing I said. Whoever I'm picking, him included, that they have to be there.

Because as you know, last time we went down there we got smoked. If we get smoked this year, it's not because no one's playing. Guys are playing everywhere. David Toms, they're all over the world.

The only guy that's not is the guy that I talked to this morning, Steve Stricker. He's hitting balls. He's going to Phoenix in a couple days to work on his game there to get out of the bad weather, and then he's going to fly to Australia.

Q. How much further are you hitting the ball today than when you won the Masters??

FRED COUPLES: You know, that's a great question. I think I'm hitting it 10 to 12 yards further. Yeah, I think back then, you know, I could get it out there, you know, with most -- now I'm very long out here, but on the regular -- I'm not on the regular tour -- but I can still play with the Davis Loves or guys in this little area.

I'm not going to go hit with it Bubba Watson or J.B. Holmes.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Right. Well, you know, there could be a handful of players. I don't know. I'm going to say 10 or 12 and he's going to say 30. I would say 30 is a little bit...

But I haven't seen him all year. Maybe he's hitting it 290, 295. I don't know. But three are a lot of guys that have picked up length, yeah.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: If I can tell you the drivers are easier to hit, anyone should tell you.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Both. But the drivers, you know, they're getting to a point where you've really got to make a bad swing to hit a bad shot. I mean, you can still carve 'em and hook up, but I'm talking about the old days where you're a fairway over.

Q. How tough were the conditions today, and how much of an advantage is this weather for someone like you that hits the ball farther than most??

FRED COUPLES: Even on the back nine, I did hit a bad drive on the 13th hole. The advantage was that I hit some of those shots very, very close.

You know, if I had gone 8-, 10-, 12-footers and not made any, I could have easily shot even par or 1-over today. I didn't dominate the golf course. But I drove it well and I made some of the holes seem easier, for instance 18.

But I thought it was pretty hard. I mean, I think 1-over par is in about 12th, 10th place, somewhere around there.

As the day went on, more people went from 1-over to 3-over and from 1-under to 1-, or 2-over. I was heading that direction, too. It just got to be cold. I knew we were supposed to get wind. It wouldn't it was really windy, but it blew a couple times. It just was just damp and long.

Q. We asked Jay this, and he's never seen you wear a golf glove. Have you ever worn a golf glove??

FRED COUPLES: I have two gloves. Casey, who caddied for me yesterday, went to Olympic Club and I have two rain gloves. Midge was phenomenal today. The umbrella hit us in the head a couple times. I'm trying to get the towels dry.

But I do you have two all-weather gloves. I've done it one time, played with two black gloves. But I've never worn a glove.

Q. Why??

FRED COUPLES: I don't have any feel with 'em at all.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: No, when I first started, yeah, when I was nine, ten, 11 up in Seattle on days like this. But then you would try and dry your gloves out, but my mom would not give me -- I think it was like seven bucks for glove every other week in the wintertime. So finally I just stopped wearing them. That's when I stopped, up in Seattle.

Q. Jay said you have something with your thumbs.

FRED COUPLES: My thumb, yeah, it has superglue all over it. I do get cuts on my thumb. And then now for a long time now I just put superglue on it and I don't get too many cuts.

It's right here. How does that look?

Q. You have it in your bag??

FRED COUPLES: Yeah. I have it in my bag.

Q. Jay mentioned on 14 he had a 17-degree hybrid or something in there, really long par-4. What do know what you hit??

FRED COUPLES: I hit a 4-iron. I hit a good drive and I had 200. As it turned out, I probably needed a 3-iron. Yeah, that hole and -- when it first started raining pretty hard, Mark and I were on the 6th hole. I hit a driver 3-wood short of the green.

But that was -- I probably maybe could have hit -- that's when the wind really picked up. That's the hole we played into the hardest wind.

But 14 was very hard. If you made a (indiscernible) there, you hit two quality shots.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: I actually turned a driver around the corner. I hit a 3-wood up -- yeah, I didn't think -- you know, I just figured I would hit it as hard as I could. There is grass to the right now. They kind of give you some area. So I just hit it out there and clipped it across the bunker.

Q. You talked about the treatment in Germany yesterday. Did you ever imagine with how bad your back was at that time that you would feel this good and play this well this year??

FRED COUPLES: No, because I tried -- haven't tried everything, but, you know, I can tell you that until he tells me not to come, I will go to Germany every six weeks if I have to.

And so if you do that, all the stuff's there. Your blood can stay for six months. So when I go back in, I'm right on the cusp of going back in December, and I go there and it's all ready. They take vials and you go get a CAT scan of where to put it in. It might change a little bit, but it's a no-brainer decision.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Well, it's all that. But it's just different than you can get here. You know, I don't know him, but I was at a function with Terrell Owens, and he had just come back from Korea and did the same thing that I did in Germany. But he then went to Korea for something even different.

Then there is a doctor in L.A. that can do knees with this procedure, but not backs. So the medicine is coming to the States, but only -- this guy has only been doing backs for like a year, year and a half.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Yeah. Yeah. In L.A. Dr. Renner (ph) does it.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Yeah. I mean, I wish I could explain. It went in one ear and out the other. It's called Orthokine (ph). It's just his system, and there is something in there that you can't get here. He's world famous over there. He does a lot people.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Well, I mean, I have to tell you, before I started playing, I never really felt that good. That sounds bizarre. And then as I started playing golf the inflammation would come a little bit, but it's just -- I was really bad. I mean, I was bad enough where it just was no fun, miserable.

When I did this, I thought, yeah, yeah. Then I flew home, and two or three days I started to feel a little better. A week later, I didn't have any back pain at all. I almost didn't even want to go hit golf balls it felt so good. I'm serious. I was not sleeping.

Like I said, a bad back, I've always said, is not a big deal. But because of that and not sleeping, wow, I would not wish that on anybody.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: You know, people tell to you take some pills or drugs. I don't do that. But I guess I could. I don't even know what it is to take on the planes and all that. I haven't even tried that.

But I am sleeping now.

Q. Describe your conversation with Steve and how that went.

FRED COUPLES: Yeah, well, it went just like this: Steve, I'm calling you one more time just in case somebody checks up on us. I'm calling you for the last time. That's great, that's great.

I said there was an article, and he said, I don't know how that got written like that, but, yeah, I saw it and I feel fine. I've been hitting balls. Does my arm feel 100%? No. But I'm going to play unless it falls off.

I said, That's all I need to know. Will you do me a favor? If you go to Arizona, give me a few days. If it's not right, you can still go over.

I said to him, I don't know what you're going to hear about Keegan Bradley -- and, again, Keegan Bradley's thing is he's a great kid. I played with him in Houston and he likes me and Bill and the other guys.

I said, It's just not fair to you to say I got Keegan waiting to go play if you can't play. He's not going to go over there if he can't hit the ball. There's no reason for it.

So that was our three-minute conversation.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: No, no. Just like the other day. I was playing and someone called me and said, Did you see where Robert Allenby shot 8-under?

I mean, I wish it was Hunter Mayhan or someone else that's on the team, but it is what it is.

Keegan Bradley just won the little thing down in Bermuda. I mean, the guy can play golf. I felt bad. It was a horrific phone call. Two years ago it was a no-brainer. I called these guys up and I said, Sorry, you didn't make the team. I hung on with Keegan.

But as I keep reading things, I feel like people are taking a little bit of a shot. Just come out and say, you know, He didn't pick him. I picked Tiger and Bill Haas. But I have no problem with Keegan Bradley. I looked at the track record, what they did. Bill Haas was never outside of the top 12 in two years of this Presidents Cup thing.

It's unfortunate for Keegan Bradley. At the same time, I don't think Jim Furyk would be on the team unless he did what he did last year. Jim Furyk is a solid, great match play player. I'm not going to sit there and say, Wow, if Jim Furyk would've slipped out of there and Keegan in there we'd better off.

That's not my gig. We're going to go over with 12 guys, and I hope Keegan wins in Shanghai. (Laughter.)

Q. I know what a big sports fan you are. Does this give you a new perspective for the Major League managers and football coaches who have to make these decisions all the time? Do you look at it differently now in the last few months after what's happened?

FRED COUPLES: In our game, I've been on 10 teams. Nicklaus picked me once. I think in a Ryder Cup I was picked. I should know all this stuff. Maybe I was picked twice for the Presidents Cup. Not really sure.

The easiest answer for me is, in other sports we find ourself saying, why did La Russa bring in this guy? He claims he called down there and didn't have Mott ready and he had someone else ready and he did all that. I don't sit there and go, Oh, my God. This pitcher is this and that.

Of course in golf, you know, Jack Nicklaus, the greatest player in the world I think used just to pick the 11th and 12th guys. But he told everyone that's what he was going to do. Don't finish 13th or 20th. I might be wrong because he picked me one year and I may have been 13th.

But now it's done where you get time and you get to see people play and the playoffs are big deal. There is a little bit more going on.

So in golf, it's looked at a little more, which I think is great. I mean, the Presidents Cup is becoming a bigger and better thing. You know, I'm not sitting here defending it. There is nothing to defend because it's still two weeks away.

If I make some bad judgments in pairings -- but I just don't see how anyone can have a problem with leaving Tiger Woods on the team, picking him.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Oh, yeah, no, no. Some of this has a little bit of intensity. I get a little bit on the edge of why it keeps coming up, you know, because it's -- it just happened. Like I said yesterday, he comes CordeValle. When I say he. The other guys are playing all over. They're on the team. Why is he at CordeValle? He's doing this and hooked one in the hazard and missed a three-foot putt.

I mean, wow. What an ordeal this all is. Let's get him to Melbourne and let him play and have a good time. That's the bottom line. You've got to have fun. He's a great team player.

Like I said, he's going to go and play as hard as he possibly can. If he wins matches, it's going to help our team; if he loses a match for some reason and he doesn't play well, he's going to get beat up. He wants to be on the team.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: It was at home in Santa Barbara and it was pouring. It was actually a wedding. I'm going to tell you the story. I'm telling you it rained 18 holes, and I said screw it. I'm not going to use an umbrella. I just put these gloves on it and it was phenomenal.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Yeah. Well, it's got to be really -- these are the gloves you dunk in buckets of water. The wetter they are the better they are. Today the weather was not bad. It was just nuisance.

No, but I have them in the bag.

Q. (No microphone.)

FRED COUPLES: Well, Midge has been caddying. Casey came. He likes to help out. He was here selling his wine. So he said, I'll caddie Wednesday with the idea of -- he told me 10 times, Is the weather is going to be nasty tomorrow, raining and windy. I said, Okay, you and Midge go over all this. Midge said, I'm caddying. So she's done a great job.

She does not club me, she doesn't read putts, but every time I turn around she's right there. She doesn't argue. Casey can argue with you a little bit, let me tell you.

Q. What's her last name??

FRED COUPLES: Trammell.

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