Northern Trust Open interview: Fred Couples

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February 14, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Northern Trust Open transcripts archive

Q.  Just talk about having fun out there today.
   
FRED COUPLES: 
Obviously Bubba didn't play well today.  I had a great pairing.  Lee is phenomenal, great player and hits the ball awfully clean and sharp.  For me, I actually played very, very well.  It's always fun playing here.  Last year I opened up with 69 and this year 68, so I hope to come out and play well tomorrow and hit the ball solid and have another good round.

Q.  After the 76 from last year  
   
FRED COUPLES:
  Well, I got it out of the system last year, yeah.  So I'm not ever expecting that.  But I hit the ball really well with my irons and made a couple of nice pars, maybe a couple    the bogeys I had, the 11th hole, I was 65 yards from the flag, and I just wasn't ready to clip a little shot in there at 7:30 in the morning.  I hit it in the bunker short and made bogey  there, which was a little rough.
But from then on I played very, very well.  Like I said, you've got to go out and play well here.  I know there's going to be some good scores.  It's irrelevant what everyone else is shooting, but I just want to play well and keep staying under par.

Q.  For not having played very much lately, are you surprised at how solidly you made contact today?
   
FRED COUPLES:
  Yeah, because I didn't play very well yesterday or Tuesday, and I have not been playing.  And really, since August, when I hurt myself, I played the Schwab Cup and I played a couple little two day Tommy Bahama things, and I played Hualalai, and I have not really practiced much, I just don't feel like I'm quite ready to bang balls at a pace.
    So it's surprising but again I can figure my way out around this course.  When they were hitting 8 irons, I was just hitting 6 irons and just trying to get it on the greens close.

Q.  Was that your longest drive on 17?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
No, I smoked that, yeah.  That was good.  I knocked it up pin high in two and got it up and down.  I did drive it.  If you watched yesterday, I was being out driven by my amateur team.  And then today, I just felt a little rhythm and started driving it a little firmer and solider, and the ball was going well and I just kept swinging hard.

Q.  Would you say that you reduced Bubba to Corey Pavin?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
No, although Bubba didn't play very well at all, and it's surprising because I know how I play the course and I think he's capable of winning here.

Q.  What did you hit on 18?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
6 iron.

Q.  Did Bubba seem like he was kind of searching out there today?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
Yeah, I think when you start missing greens here, you're really not going to get them up and down, and I think he was struggling judging distances and maybe a couple sour lies in the rough where he was short of a couple greens.  Then a couple par 3s where he just didn't shots of his capability.
    But I think he drove it pretty well.  But his irons were a little bit short and a couple were aggressive.  And you know, you just get on these bogey trains around here and next thing you know, you don't make many birdies, and you shoot    I don't know what he shot, 75, 76.

Q.  Since you've been here, how have you played 10 in the past?  Do you feel like it's been one of your better holes here at Riviera?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
Yeah, I said that yesterday.  I used to tell my caddie being a little cocky that when we teed off, just put the 3 on the card, because I birdied it so many times, and now I think if you look at the last four years I've played, I barely make pars on it.  I bogeyed it last year twice.  They might need to re evaluate that green here in the near future.
    It's really slopey, and the front of the green goes up and the back goes like that and the balls are rolling over.  It's all fun and hunky dory when you try to drive the green but when you get around the green and you're playing 35 feet left of the flag because there's nowhere to go, it kind of defeats the purpose.
    But I'd be surprised at the end of the week, I'd like to see how it played.  For everyone trying to drive it, there are very few eagles.  I don't even know if there are any, or if there were any in the morning wave.  But it's brutal.  It's a tough, tough hole and now it's even harder since they have shaved everything.

Q.  Is it fun?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
It's not as fun because it's more of a struggle.  There's nowhere to drive it.  If you're good enough to drive it in that grass and pop it up in the air and have it trickle on the front of the green, you're really a good player.
But if you drive it on the green, it rolls down across and they have shaved it and it just rolls to where there's nowhere to go, except when the pin is in the very front.  But the other three days, you're chipping 40 feet from the hole.

Q.  From the first time you played the course, did you like it then?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
I liked it.

Q.  Has it been a love affair ever since?
   
FRED COUPLES:
  I love the course.  I feel like I'm a very good iron player.  It's a good second shot course.  I'm going to drive it in the rough but if you're in the fairways here with 7 , 8 , 6 irons, you have to figure out how to far to hit it.  The greens are teeny and I just like that.  I grew up on that and always played well here.

Q.  When you talk about angles on 10, would you rather have been where you were today, albeit in the sand with that bunker or the front bunker next to the green?
   
FRED COUPLES: 
I thought my shot was a hard shot to hit out of the box.  And my ball was a little dewy and it rolled in there and had sand all over it and I just took a 9 iron out.
Actually was very happy with where I hit it.  To answer your question, I saw Freddie Jacobson hit a hell of a bunker shot and it just trickled and trickled and trickled and went into the other bunker.  I don't want to hit in that bunker tomorrow, I saw the pin, it's going to be way back right.
As Bubba said, you just want to make four, even though five, eight, ten years ago, you wanted three and it's just like the first hole, you want to birdie one, you want to birdie 10.  Now I would take a 4 every single time.

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