What they said: Fred Couples

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March 25, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic transcript archive PHIL STAMBAUGH: Fred Couples wins his first event of the 2012 season in exciting fashion. Fred, first win since the AT&T Championship last year, seventh title of your Championships Tour career. This is your 11th different state that you've won in, so congratulations. A few general thoughts about the day.

FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, to be honest, it was a big day. I felt like I practiced pretty hard before Newport, and I didn't think I was playing that well, and by being in the last group, I was going to figure out pretty much how I was playing and what I really needed to work on. I played pretty well. I did not I mean, I finished strong, birdied the last hole, but it was a good day.

The golf course was great. I started out hitting the ball well and going, jumping ahead to the 15th hole, I ripped a drive down there and I even told Midge, don't expect much in this shot, and I was just trying to hit it really low and run it, and when the ball is below my feet, with my back, I just can't swing at them, and I hit a low shot that rolled down, I'm sure everyone seen it, down to the right, and had a decent lie, maybe a little bit muddy, and then I told myself, you're two ahead, chip it 25 feet by the hole, don't do anything stupid, and I kind of decelerated and I hit it a little fat, not hard enough, and it looked like it was going to be OK, and it rolled down the embankment and I make 6, and now it's pretty interesting.

Up until that point I really hadn't missed a shot. I made a great up and down on the 9th hole from over the green with that pin, which I don't think I could have stayed there for two hours and got it as close as I did. I maybe could have made a 30 footer, but I hit a flop shot that went down to about ten feet putting up the hill and made it. So that was a big putt for me at the time.

Jeff Sluman had about an eight footer for birdie, and you think he's going to make, I'm going to miss, and now you're tied, and I had built up a nice little lead.

Then we got to 18, I decided to hit driver. I felt like if anything I might hit it to the right, which would give me an angle to the pin. If I didn't hit it perfect. Then I smoked it down there and I had a regular sand wedge, full sand wedge that I hit with a little bit of spin, and I got it to a spot where I made the putt.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: About ten feet?

FRED COUPLES: Maybe more than that, probably 15 feet.

Q. Especially on that last drive on 18, about how far do you think that ball sailed??

FRED COUPLES: You know, I don't know. I was maybe a little over 300, maybe 310. I birdied the first day when it was really wet and I hit a driver. I do like the hole. You know, if I do miss it, a lot of times I usually miss it to the right, and there's a little bit of room if you get by the big Oak. But I've been driving it really well. I sliced a driver on 16 into the trees. Up until then I think I hit most of the fairways, and I hit most of the drives where I was looking.

And then on 18 I felt like I was going to hit a good one, and I did.

Q. You were playing so well that the 15th and 17th kind of came out of nowhere. How were you able to just put it behind you and step up and hit such good shots on 18??

FRED COUPLES: Well, Midge will tell you I didn't really put it behind me. The bottom line is you get a lot of chances to win if you play well, and I felt like today I played well enough that I had a two shot lead sitting on a par 5 that I felt like I could have made birdie on to put it out of reach and make a 6. So then your mind jumps. As Phil said, I hadn't won since last October and I hadn't played much, so it's not easy. You know, it's not like riding a bike. They say you just get back up and go. You get a little jumpy.

And on 17, I actually hit a fairly good shot. I was trying to cut it and the wind held it and I got in that bunker and I couldn't get a stance. I hit an OK shot that came out fast and I got it up and down for bogey. I had a pretty fluffy little chip shot and I make it just to stay tied with Mike which made that hole play easier. I assumed if I hit a good drive I'd have a birdie putt, and if I didn't then we'd be in a playoff.

Q. Health wise you were talking about how tired you were yesterday after the long day. How did the back hold up today??

FRED COUPLES: I mean, to be quite honest, my back is okay. It's just the first day I played at 4:00, and I hadn't played in a few days, so I got out here and practiced a little bit. I think maybe I stood around too long, and then of course yesterday I got up at 5:00 and went to bed at 9:00, and without stopping to play golf, that's a long day.

As we were talking about it, I finished yesterday and I sat around for four hours, and I should have really went back to the hotel and maybe taken a hot shower, even though I wouldn't have been at the hotel long. But it made for a really long day.

And then I couldn't swing that well, and I grinded it out. And today I felt great.

So it is what it is. I can play some golf, I just can't really be on my feet for that long, and those rain outs, rain delays kill you. Kill everybody; I'm no different. But for me, the stop and go, I'm not good.

Q. Is it exciting with the Masters coming up in a couple weeks just to have a tournament like this and maybe build some momentum? Do you think it helps?

FRED COUPLES: Sure, yeah. The easiest answer would be any time you win, if it's the last tournament of the year and you win, it's nice, but you kind of start the next year off this gives me some momentum. I think Augusta, it's not really hit or miss, it's just a very hard course. I feel like I play it well. I want to go in there after winning a tournament like this feeling some confidence, and I did get a lot today. I hit a lot of good shots. I would say I've got a lot to work on, but if I can drive it like that, the course will be easier, and I make a putt here or there I didn't really do a whole lot of damage. I think I birdied well, I birdied the first two par 5s and played the ones on the back nine par bogey, so that's not too good. But I was up a little bit, and like I said, Michael, 6 under was a strong round. I knew where he was, I just couldn't stay ahead of him until the last hole.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Fred, thank you very much. Good luck in Houston.

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