What they said: Fred Couples

March 10, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Toshiba Classic transcript archive DAVE SENKO: Fred, thanks for joining us. You come in as defending champion. You had a chance to play the course this morning, maybe just how things went and where you are right now coming in here.

FRED COUPLES: The course was great. You know, being a little different at noon, the greens will be much faster. Probably a lot firm. It's a fun golf course. Last year was the first time I ever played there. I used to live in Newport Beach, but never played it and things went well. I putted well, hit the ball well, and I got to do the same thing tomorrow.

DAVE SENKO: Questions?

Q. When we left you at Riviera, you said you were going to go get an MRI??

FRED COUPLES: No, I did a couple of other things. I'm going to do a few more Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. I'm really not any better, but like I hear lot of people saying about things, it is what it is. So the MRI is coming. Someone said I didn't really need one to do this procedure, so I gave it a shot. And I feel okay.

Q. The same as Riviera??


Q. Is that a little disheartening? I know you had hopes that things might turn around a little bit?

FRED COUPLES: It's all disheartening when you meet people, and they tell you, you know, they might be able to get rid of all of this stuff. You know, he made a huge effort, and I felt good for a while, but once I started to hit a few balls or play golf, it's kind of right back to square one.

I don't really know what to tell you. Like today was not really a good day. I did play yesterday. I hit the ball OK. But today was not really much of a golf striking day. I mean 7 o'clock might have had a little bit to do with it. I've had tee times at 7 before. I would not be a factor in this tournament if I played like I did today.

Q. What do you have to say with the group you are playing with tomorrow??

FRED COUPLES: A great group, yes. I have not played with Ben except for the Skins Game on this Tour yet, so that will be great. And Tom Watson is one of my all time favorites. I got paired with him last year here the first round. You know, it's great. I love both of those guys. It will be fun.

Q. How much have you played since Riviera??

FRED COUPLES: Well, the first week I took off. And then I played maybe like a Monday, not quite every other day. So I've probably played, including today, maybe 5 rounds the last well, two weeks. But the first week I worked with this guy, so I didn't do anything. I've got a round enough. It's not like I'm going to be rusty.

It's just like I would like I'm tired of hearing about it. I'm sure people are tired of hearing about it.

Riviera, I've played 150 rounds there. I mean up until the 7th hole where I missed it to the right in that junk and made double, I get my way around that course pretty well.

So this golf course, you got to go out there and shoot 5 and 6 under par and play and hit shots. You do at Riviera, too, but the weather was pretty brutal every day.

But if I would have been on another course, I would not have shot the scores I shot. There is no way.

For instance, I was laughing at myself, not at the players, but the Honda, you know, water on every other hole. I wouldn't want any part of that.

Riviera, there is no water. There is very little out of bounds. I played the course well.

So to answer your question, I don't feel I actually feel worse than I did there. But, you know, I can swing a club.

So I won't do this very long. If I come out here tomorrow, or Saturday and Sunday and feel like this, someone is going to have to tell me why I would want to do this.

I really am trying to figure that one out. But Sunday night, I'm heading to Waco for three or four days to see if they can figure it out. But this is the worse it's ever been.

The odd part is I can play. It doesn't like snag or explode or wherever. It's just really stiff to swing a club. But I can play. If I go out tomorrow and I play well, I should be able to get it around. But I can tell you, if today was any indication I won't break par unless I putt like a crazy man.

Q. Watson said yesterday someone like you should be licking their chops on this course??

FRED COUPLES: Well, I licked my chops last year, that's for sure. You know, the greens are beautiful, and they're tricky. Poa annua, some parts of the day, they get a little bumpy. I did putt well last year at this tournament. I played the par 5s pretty well. But he's correct. Not me, Tom Lehman, or whoever it might be, Bernhard Langer, Tom Pernice, all of these good players out here, whoever is up there is going to do well because they are licking their chops because they are playing good.

I would like to be one of those guys. It's just going to be, I think a little more difficult for me right now, but I can still go out there and do it. But I got to feel better than I do.

I think what he is getting at is the scoring is out there, although it played much longer today than I remember last year. I don't remember hitting a lot of 6 and 7 irons. Whereas today, you know, there although I wasn't hitting it that far, but it played a lot longer than last year and the weather is beautiful today.

But also a 7 o'clock tee time tomorrow. I played 11:30, so the ball should be going much further. But the course is in excellent shape. I mean excellent shape. The fairways are as good as good as any fairways you will every find.

Q. Did the atmosphere around this tournament surprise you last year??

FRED COUPLES: Yes. I played with Mark (Simons), the Toshiba guy today, and I asked him how long they are set up to be here. He said we'll be here a few years.

I said I don't need to push the (Champions) Tour, that's not what I'm about, but you have one of the top-three events on our Tour.

I think any player would tell you. Here and the Principal in Iowa. And last year Montreal was the first year they had a lot of people out there.

But there are good crowds. But there are exceptional crowds at those three or four events. And then obviously some of the Majors get huge people. But this is a great event.

If I would have finished 5th last year, I would tell you the same thing. But a lot of people, which we all want to play in front of. We have pretty darn good weather and a great atmosphere around here.

Q. You had like 50 following you last year??

FRED COUPLES: Yes, they are all coming down tomorrow, a few of them Saturday, a lot of club guys from Palm Springs and a few from the area. That's why that pairing is so good with Watson and Crenshaw. They will have a good time. They see me all the time.

Q. Are you Palm Desert or La Quinta??

FRED COUPLES: I'm La Quinta.