Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fred Couples, 51, five shots out of Masters lead, keeps his perspective

Fred Couples, 51, five shots back after 4-under 68, says a win by him “would be the biggest upset in golf history.”

Getty Images

Fred Couples, 51, five shots back after 4-under 68, says a win by him “would be the biggest upset in golf history.”

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Chances are, you have no attachment whatsoever to Fred Couples. Never played a round of golf with him, never knew his Aunt Millie at the club, never had a reason to think much about him beyond the odd televised PGA Tour event.

And yet, chances are you will be pulling for Couples at the Masters this afternoon. Why? It could be that he makes you think of better days. Or he allows you to believe anything is possible. Or maybe it's just because he reminds you a little of yourself.

Rory McIlroy? Rickie Fowler? Jason Day? Those guys are in another dimension. They are 21, 22 and 23, respectively, and probably have no idea that life won't always be this sweet.

But you know better. And so does Couples.

You can see it when he bends down at No. 12 to read a putt. He winces slightly and then twists his torso left and right to loosen a perpetually cranky back.

You can see it when he pulls his hat off on the 18th green and the cameras show the head of gray hair that is stashed underneath.

You can hear it when he is asked how he would describe his possible victory in the Masters and Couples pretty much dismisses the idea of a 51-year-old winning golf's most prestigious event.

"Retiring is what it would be. I would be gone," Couples said. "It would be the biggest upset in golf history.

"Are you kidding?"

Yeah, there is little chance Couples will put on another green jacket 19 years after he won his first. Not with Tiger Woods racing up the leaderboard. And not with a United Nations list of golfers between him and the lead.

Couples shot 4-under 68 on Friday in the second round, putting him five strokes behind leader McIlroy in a five-way tie for seventh place at 5-under 139. Conceptually, he has a chance. Realistically, it's not going to happen.

It's been eight years since Couples last won on the PGA Tour. He still has more length to his game than a lot of younger golfers, and after an estimated 200 rounds or so on Augusta National, he knows the course as well as anyone.

But Couples has been living with a bad back for several years, and the effort of playing four consecutive days on a rolling course such as Augusta is bound to take a toll.

So can Couples repeat Jack Nicklaus' magic from 1986 when he won the Masters at 46?

"Six years ago, maybe," Couples said.

Fred Couples, 51, five shots out of Masters lead, keeps his perspective 04/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2011 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct'


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.