A recent Golf Digest publication claimed it, and I believe it’s true: Fred Couples really might be the coolest golfer of all time.
I’m not necessarily speaking of cool in the sense of clothing style — certainly not by today’s standards of flashy, edgy dress. The closest you’ll probably see Couples come to sporting the bright, neon hues of the 20-something up-and-comers on the PGA Tour would be if he spilled some ketchup or relish from his hot dog on his golf shirt.
No, Freddy Couples is cool in that he still has the passion for golf like any rookie just earning his Tour card, and he can still bring it with the best of them. On Thursday at The Memorial Tournament, the 53-year-old Couples, a freshly minted World Golf Hall-of-Famer, went out with bombers Keegan Bradley and Tiger Woods — and beat both of them.
What’s really fun about this is that Couples apparently wasn’t sure he even belonged in this pairing. According to a report from PGATour.com, Couples even texted Woods to ask, “[D]o you really want me in this group?” Couples was worried abour the fact that he’s played little competitive golf this season — six events between the PGA and Champions Tours — and none in nearly a month.
So what did Woods have to say about Couples after the round?
In Woods’s own words: “he kicked my a**”. Thanks for sugar-coating that one, Tiger.
It’s not like this is the first time Couples has found ways to compete on the regular Tour. As recently as last month, he found himself 5-under par after the second round at The Masters and in seemingly strong contention for the fourth year in a row, and barring a Saturday 77, he had an amazing showing.
For the past several years, the one they call “Boom Boom” hasn’t performed too well at Muirfield Village for the Memorial, but for the moment, he sits in a tie for 13th, ahead of Woods, Bradley and nearly all the rest of golf’s young powerhouses. He’s also had some success here before, with a second-place finish back in 2005.
Is there a little more left in the gas tank for the 1992 Masters champion? Four days of golf like this will be quite the test, but Couples has never been one to let a little bit of pressure get to him. No matter what happens, golf is just cooler when Freddy is on the course.