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Clubhouse

Fred Couples Recreates His Augusta National Flair at the 2012 Masters

Fred Couples walks with the gait of a man who owns a Green Jacket, knows he can drive the ball further than his opponents and at 52, is playing on borrowed time.

The casual stroll holds up as long as his back, the length off the tee will eventually fade but when he strides onto Augusta National each year for the Masters, Couples plays on his own time.

Sharing the lead (with Jason Dufner) as the tournament heads to the weekend at five-under, Freddie Boom Boom is the same as he ever was. An unassuming, quiet explosion of swagger among the pristine azaleas and whispers about women members.

He’s a favorite of the female persuasion and on Saturday and Sunday, he adds a legion of men nationwide with thinning hair and creaky knees to his roars.

History tells us these veterans aren’t long for the top of the leaderboard. Their bodies fail them, their shots move wayward instead of on target and it’s difficult holding off men thirty years younger who haven’t been inside Butler Cabin for the jacket ceremony.

Golf watched in unbridled awe as 59 year-old Tom Watson nearly stole the 2009 British Open. But he missed a putt on eighteen and as quickly as four days of poetry could be undone, it was.

Couples, should he hang on through Sunday, would become the oldest major champion in history.

He’ll have to keep the names of this generation at bay — Rory McIlroy is a shot back, Lee Westwood two, Phil Mickelson three among a bevy of competitors compressed at the top of the leaderboard — but the Houston Cougar alum has a feel for Augusta that shows in the numbers.

No one — not even Jack Nicklaus — has a lower scoring average at the Masters of those who have played at least 100 rounds.

Fred Couples winning the Masters twenty years after he snared a Green Jacket allows columnists to wax poetic before his Saturday round even begins.

Freddie writes the story himself.

A casual big-hitter stomping through Augusta National like he owns it.

Thus far, he has.