Tiger Woods' Sunday Singles victory secured The Presidents Cup for America once again. For Fred Couples, it's his third victory as Captain of the U.S. team -- a Presidents Cup record for most victories by a single captain. Want to congratulate Freddie and the team on their victory? Leave a message in the comments below and we'll get it to them.
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Fred Couples just said on television he would not be serving as captain of the U.S. Team at the 2015 Presidents Cup in Korea.
"A three-peat's good enough for me," a beaming Couples said minutes after Tiger Woods made the clinching putt for the Americans at Muirfield Village on Sunday.
The popular Couples is the only U.S. Captain to win the Presidents Cup three times. He also played in four as a competitor.
Couples did not rule out serving as an assistant as the Presidents Cup heads to Asia for the first time in 2015, though. The 11th renewal of the biennial competition will be held at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in the Songdo International Business District (IBD) of Incheon, Korea.
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Granted, it probably wasn't the Singles match you expected for Tiger Woods on the final day of The Presidents Cup.
But U.S. Captain Fred Couples only had four players remaining -- Woods, Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson. So when Nick Price put Richard Sterne on the board for the International Team, Couples responded with the world's No. 1 player.
"It's when people want to go," Couples said of his strategy. "People just ask me why you put Tiger up against Richard. Personally, Tiger has talked a little about Richard, his game this week. They have not played each other.
"But it just came where Tiger goes anywhere from seven to nine, and we just didn't want to wait any longer, so we put him there."
Sterne, who is one of seven rookies on the International Team, has yet to win a point this week. The South African, a six-time winner on the European Tour, ranks 41st in the world.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Nick Price and his International Team had something special for U.S. Captain Fred Couples on the first tee at Muirfield Village before the 10th Presidents Cup got underway.
As the crowd sang "Happy Birthday," Price presented Couples with a cake made of cupcakes and decorated in the International colors of blue and gold.
"This is really nice," Couples said. "I am 54 today so its a big day for me but more importantly this is pretty special."
The Opening Ceremonies were relative brief but big on pagentry as members of the Ohio State band marched up the first fairway. The band later broke formation to let one of its most famous graduates, Jack Nicklaus, walk through the gauntlet and take the gleaming gold Presidents Cup up to the first tee of his signature creation.
"We love you Jack," someone in the crowd yelled.
Nicklaus, who captained three U.S. Teams, joined Price, Couples, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and former President George W. Bush for the ceremonies. Also with the group was Chad Pfeifer, who won his third striaght Warrior Open for Wounded Veterans, overseen by the Bush Institute, last month.
Other dignitatires on hand included former International Captains David Graham (1994) and Peter Thomson (1996, 1998 and 2000), as well as former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman, European Tour Commissioner George O'Grady and Joe Louis Barrow, the executive director of The First Tee.
The boisterous crowd included members of the gold-and-green clad "Fanatics" who had made their presence known in Australia two years ago. And has it happened, Columbus resident and fellow Aussie Jason Day was in the first match and the Fanatics began singing "Oh, Happy Day."
U.S. Assistant Captain Davis Love III was slightly out of uniform as the Sea Island, Ga., resident was wearing a navy cap with the Atlanta Braves' A embroidered on the front. And it didn't take the former President long to notice.
"May I ask why you're wearing that hat," said the 43rd chief executive, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, as he reached out to shake Love's hand.
Bush, who looked relaxed and was wearing the U.S. red and navy uniforms, was a popular figure at the opening ceremonies.
"Boy, do we miss you," a fan called out after the crowd chanted "43, 43" when he was introduced.
Hunter Mahan, who was playing in the first match with Brandt Snedeker, found his wife Kandi and baby daughter, Zoe, in the crowd and brought them over to Bush, a fellow Texan.
Bush slipped back into politician mode and bent over to kiss Zoe, who was born in July, then posed for pictures with the entire family.
A number of the members of Team USA stopped by the PGA TOUR's Google+ Hangout station today at the Presidents Cup to chat about tomorrow's pairings and answer questions from fans. Check out our full list of PGA TOUR Hangouts here.
U.S. Captain Fred Couples discusses his pairings for Day 1.
Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas talk about their opening pairings and answer fan questions.
Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan preview Thursday's action and talk about the first album they ever owned.
Zach Johnson talks about battling back from the flu and what song he'd play for himself on the first tee.
WEDNESDAY'S COVERAGE OF CAPTAIN'S PICKS
The four Captain's Picks for this year's Presidents Cup will be announced at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, Sept. 4, on the Golf Channel. At 2:20 p.m. ET, PGATOUR.COM will carry a live audio stream of the two captains and the picks discussing the choices.
U.S. captain Fred Couples and International captain Nick Price will each select two players to complete their 12-man rosters for their respective Presidents Cup teams. The selections will be announced at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday.Ten players earned spots on each team through points rankings, which closed Monday.
Who do you think the captains should select? Below is a chart listing the statistics of some of the captains' top choices. Will Couples choose two veterans, or will he take 20-year-old Jordan Spieth? Or will Couples give a spot to Webb Simpson, who was bumped from the team at the 11th hour? Five of Price's 10 team members are rookies? Will he choose players in good form, or try to fill his roster with veterans? Leave your opinion in the comments below.
|11. Webb Simpson||20||25||23||0||1||0||4||T-53|
|12. Dustin Johnson||23||23||20||1||1||0||5||T-27|
|13. Jim Furyk||15||15||20||0||1||1||6||T-27|
|22. Jordan Spieth||10||28||21||1||2||0||8||T-4|
|11. Thongchai Jaidee||N/A||58||18*||0||1||1||5||DNP|
|12. Marc Leishman||58||59||22||0||0||0||4||T-16|
|13. Tim Clark||80||60||20||0||1||0||3||MC|
|14. Brendon de Jonge||26||70||28||0||0||0||4||T-9|
|18. Geoff Ogilvy||104||94||19||0||1||0||1||DNP|
|22. K.J. Choi||73||106||24||0||0||0||2||T-41|
Note: players listed by ranking in team points; DBC finish is finish at Deutsche Bank Championship; *-European Tour events.
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Fred Couples and Nick Price both have difficult decisions to make by Sept. 4 -- the day they'll make their two captain's picks for the respective Presidents Cup teams -- but for different reasons. Couples, the United States captain, has an excess of experienced players sitting outside the top 10 in his team's standings. Price, the International captain, is looking to add veterans to his roster, but may have to scroll farther down his rankings than he would like.
Couples also must consider the case of Spieth, the talented 20-year-old who won earlier this year. Picking Spieth may require passing over an experienced player, but Couples mentioned Spieth multiple times while discussing potential captain’s picks in a Thursday news conference. Spieth, who turned pro in December, is No. 26 in the United States’ rankings and would need to be one of Couples’ two picks to earn his roster spot.
The top 10 players in each side's points ranking automatically qualify for their respective team Sept. 2, after play is complete at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Couples and Price will each make two captain's selections two days later.
U.S. stalwarts Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson all entered the Deutsche Bank Championship outside the top 10 in the U.S. standings, with two more experienced players, Webb Simpson and Zach Johnson, holding the ninth and 10th spots.
“They're all right there,” Couples said Thursday from the Champions Tour’s Shaw Charity Classic. “So Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and then I think Jordan Spieth's a little higher than that, those are the guys that are going to make it.
“I have a tough job picking that because there's so many good players in that little category, but at the same time I have an easy job because whoever I pick are going to be two quality players. If you look at that list, they're all Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup players; Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, those guys have played on several teams. The only other name out there that would be a little higher would be Jordan Spieth, he's had a phenomenal year.”
Spieth, 20, won the John Deere Classic in July. His seven top-10s are tied for fourth-most on TOUR. He entered the Deutsche Bank Championship at No. 9 in the FedExCup.
Price may go farther down his team’s rankings for his two picks. "The problem that we do have is that we don't have a lot of experience," Price said. Tim Clark, who's played three Presidents Cups, is 11th in the standings and a potential captain's pick. Geoff Ogilvy (20th in the International Team standings) and K.J. Choi (23rd) also have played three Presidents Cups apiece. Every player between Clark and Choi, except Ogilvy, would be a Presidents Cup rookie, though.
“I'm really sad for K.J. because I know how much he wanted to play this year,” Price said. “He just played so indifferently and he's back (at 23rd) on our list, which is he should be much higher than that. But he also at the meeting that we had in Ohio spoke with a lot of passion, which the younger guys, you know, took notice of.”
Price will be at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday to get input from his players about the captain’s picks. He also will seek the counsel of his assistant captains.
“I'm going to go meet them face‑to‑face and ask the guys to … give me 10 minutes before or after (they play). I have a couple of questions I want to ask the guys, who they feel they would pick. I'll keep a record of all the guys, what they said. I'll go meet with my co‑captains, we'll go through the whole due process of doing it and then make the picks on Wednesday. I'll take into consideration the experience, do we need more experience on the team, do we need exuberance or whatever.
It's a tough situation, but there's going to be a couple people I'm sure who are going to be disappointed, but the decision that we make will come from 15 guys or 16 guys. It will be captain, three co‑captains and the 12 players or 10 players will make that decision. It's not going to be just me or my captains, it will be a team effort.”
Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell have played a lot of golf together the past few years.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
EAST LOTHIAN, Scotland -- Sure, there will be plenty of people following their favorites like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson at the 2013 Open Championship this week.
With the Scottish avowed love of the game and overwhelming sense of its history, you've got to think the first- and second-round draw of Sir Nick Faldo (yes, the tee sheet has the official designation), Tom Watson and Fred Couples will attract quite a crowd, as well.
Granted, Faldo, who turns 56 on Thursday, now makes his living sitting in the booth at the 18th and commentating on the competition. But two of his three Open titles came at Muirfield in 1987 and 1992 so he shouldn't have trouble finding a comfort zone.
Watson, who is now 63, has won the Claret Jug five times, and one of those came in 1980 at Muirfield. The 53-year-old Couples never won a British Open but he made this year's field when he won the 2012 Senior British Open at Turnberry.
The threesome tees off at 4 a.m. ET (9 a.m. local time) on Thursday and 9:01 a.m. ET (2:01 p.m. local). For the record, the first group leaves the tee at 1:32 a.m. ET (6:32 a.m. local) and the last goes off at 11:13 a.m. ET (4:13 p.m. local).
Here are other groups PGATOUR.COM is watching in the first two rounds. Use the comments section below and let us know your favorites.
Bubba Watson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Dustin Johnson (2:44 a.m. ET Thursday and 8:45 a.m. ET Thursday): These are the big hitters. Colsaerts leads the TOUR with an average of 306.6 yards while Johnson is fourth at 304.9 and Watson fifth at 304.1. Keeping it out of the fescue rough will be key.
Justin Rose, Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker (4:11 a.m. ET Thursday and 9:12 a.m. ET Friday): Els, who won the first of his two British Opens at Muirfield in 2002, will be the elder statesman in this group. The defending champion is joined by the U.S. Open champion in Rose and Snedeker, who tied for third last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Phil Mickelson (4:44 a.m. ET on Thursday and 9:45 a.m. ET on Friday): Mickelson was at his best on Sunday when he won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open with a brilliant chip to a foot on the first playoff hole. McIlroy is looking for his first win of the season on either side of the Atlantic while Matsuyama, the 21-year-old who has already won three times on the Japan Tour is playing in his first Open.
Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia (9:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and 4 a.m. ET on Friday): Westwood and Garcia would have to be placed at the top of the best-player-never-to-have-won-a-major category. Westwood has 15 top-10s, including 10 in his last 20 starts, while Garcia has 18, including a tie for eighth at Muirfield in 2002. Schwartzel made his major breakthrough in 2011 at Augusta National.
Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald (9:12 a.m. ET on Thursday and 4:11 a.m. ET on Friday): Adam Scott, who squandered a four-stroke lead on the final four holes at last year's Open Championship, likely would have had a much different return to the Open Championship had he not made this year's Masters his first major title. Donald and Kuchar won't be the odds-on favorites but their ball-striking skills can't be overlooked.
Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen (9:45 a.m. ET on Thursday and 4:44 a.m. ET on Friday): Woods played a practice round at Muirfield with Jason Day and Dustin Johnson on Sunday. He says the left elbow strain is healed and he's ready to go. McDowell is fresh off a win at the Alstom Open de France, his third win in his last seven starts worldwide -- a stretch that also includes four missed cuts. Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open, is currently 138th in FedExCup points.
Joe LaCava, who has caddied for Fred Couples (center) and now totes the bag of Tiger Woods (right), keeps pace at Muirfield Village. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- And to think Fred Couples was worried about the way he might play Thursday during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
Couples was so worried, in fact, that he texted one of his playing partners, Tiger Woods, and asked him if he really wanted him in the group. After all, Couples' last two Champions Tour performances had been forgettable, he hadn't played in three weeks and he certainly didn't want to hold the world No. 1 back.
"(I) said do you really want me in this group, I've played no golf," Couples recalled. "You're nervous playing with him. But I was more nervous, because I've not played since Savannah (in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf) ... and I didn't play well there."
So what did Couples do? He went out and beat Woods 70 to 71 and tied the third member of the group, Keegan Bradley, another prospective member of Couples' U.S. Presidents Cup team whom the captain called "truly long."
Not bad for a 53-year-old, huh?
"Kicked my (butt)," Woods said with a big grin.
Couples said he didn't hit any "horrific" shots on Thursday, and he wielded a hot putter with just 25 for the day. He played his first seven holes in 3 under, then gave those shots back with a double bogey-bogey finish to the front nine before adding two birdies on the back.
"It played really, really fast," Couples said. "So there were a lot of 3-woods off the tees, which I think helped me. Those guys hit it so far that it makes it entertaining."
Couples says his goal when he plays with Woods is simply to "hit it solid and stay out of his way." So in that regard, Thursday's round, Couples says, "was a good one." He says he feels "blessed" when the opportunity to play with Woods arises, and he knows there is a finite competitive window there.
"I can shoot free throws with Michael Jordan who is a friend, but I can't do anything else with him," Couples said. "I can play golf with him. That's not the same. And in golf he's the best player, and I play on the Champions Tour so I rarely get to see him. Around Augusta I always try to hit balls next to him. ... I used to practice with Davis Love, but Tiger is Tiger."
Off the course, Couples has had a whirlwind schedule this week. He flew to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday with Nick Price, who win captain the International Team at the Presidents Cup in the fall. There the two met with President Barack Obama, who will serve as honorary chairman of the biennial matches, in the Oval Office.
"Anytime you can go to President Obama's, it's pretty special," Couples said.
His schedule was so busy, in fact, that Couples, who is playing in the Memorial Tournament, which he won in 1998, for the 22nd time, didn't play a practice round at Muirfield Village this week. His caddie walked the course to get a sense of how it was playing, and the boss hit balls in earnest when he got back from D.C.
"I was not expecting 70," Couples said. "I'm not going to lie to anyone. But I'm thrilled."
As soon as his post-round interview was over, Couples was looking for his sportcoat because he was due to attend a dinner with members at Muirfield Village to promote the Presidents Cup which will be played here Oct. 3-6. All in all, Couples has already had a great week -- and Thursday was icing on the cake.
"I got to meet the President yesterday," Couples said. "I'm sitting down doing an interview with Jack today and I played with Tiger. Hard to top that. What's next?"