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 provides a pleasant surprise by playing in Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am

Fred Couples, 50, has three wins on the Champions Tour this season and finished sixth at the Masters last weekend.

Getty Images

Fred Couples, 50, has three wins on the Champions Tour this season and finished sixth at the Masters last weekend.

LUTZ — Fred Couples surprised tournament officials of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am when he committed to play just an hour before the deadline of 5 p.m. Friday.

Couples was in Augusta playing the Masters, his third tournament in as many weeks. The thinking was there was no way Couples would play four straight weeks, especially after a tournament as draining as the Masters.

But he will arrive at TPC Tampa Bay on Thursday to play in a pro-am before Friday's first round.

"It's huge," tournament director Amy Hawk said. "We kind of got an idea on Thursday, and depending on how he was playing at the Masters, he might commit on Friday. It makes it the best field we've ever had. We saw a huge spike in tickets sales when he announced. He's tearing up the tour right now."

Couples, 50, started his Champions Tour career with a second-place finish in Hawaii. That was followed by three straight wins, the latest at the Cap Cana Championship in the Dominican Republic. He will go for four straight wins this week. Last week, Couples made a run at being the oldest Masters champion before finishing sixth.

Rookies and veteran: Twelve players will make their first appearance at the Outback Pro-Am: Tommy Armour III, Paul Azinger, Olin Browne, Russ Cochran, David Frost, Steve Haskins, Tom Lehman, Tom Pernice, Jim Roy, Peter Senior, Bob Tway and Couples. Tampa's Jim Dent will make his 21st appearance in the tournament, passing Gary Player and Dale Douglass for the most.

Hale of a milestone: Hale Irwin will make his 1,000th start as a pro this week, both on the PGA and Champions tours. Irwin is the Champions Tour's wins leader with 45. He won this tournament in 2005. Irwin won 20 times on the PGA Tour, including three U.S. Opens. He is the 11th player to get to 1,000 starts. The all-time appearances leader is Miller Barber, who played in 1,292 tournaments.

Florida slump: Jay Haas and John Cook have never won an official tour sanctioned event in Florida, but there is hope. Haas is 0-for-117, including 0-for-17 on the Champions Tour. Cook is 0-for-104 (0-for-9 on the Champions Tour). Tom Watson was 0-for-93 in Florida before he won this event in 2007, then won again in 2008. All three are in this week's field.

Today: The Jim Beam Challenge begins at 10 a.m. with a shotgun start. Notable pros playing in the event include Fuzzy Zoeller, Peter Jacobsen, Azinger and Dent.

Fast facts

Outback Steakhouse


When/where: Friday-Sunday; TPC Tampa Bay, Lutz

Purse: $1.7 million (winner's share is $255,000)

Format: 54-hole stroke play with no cut. Friday-Saturday play features one amateur with one professional in a team better-ball format. Low 16 pro-am teams play Sunday.

Field: 78 players

TV: Friday — 12:30 p.m., Golf Channel; Saturday — 4 p.m., Ch. 8; Sunday — 1 p.m., Ch. 8

Schedule: Today — Jim Beam Challenge, 10 a.m. shotgun start; Thursday — Jim Beam Challenge, 10 a.m. shotgun start; Friday — first round; Saturday — second round; Sunday — final round

Details: (813) 265-4653,

Fred Couples provides a pleasant surprise by playing in Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am 04/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 9:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard


    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  2. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. Jones: What Bucs need in final preseason games, more or less


    That's it. Let's start the season. Start it right now.

    Tom Jones wants to see less of Jameis Winston playing hot potato with the football and throwing it up for anyone to catch. [Getty Images]
  5. Barts Mr Peabody the likely favorite in Derby Lane's T.L. Weaver finale


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick and Rhonda Bartley have a date Saturday night. It may turn into a date with destiny.