Fred Couples Explains Muffed Approach on 18

Fred Couples Explains Muffed Approach on 18 1
Fred Couples came close at Riviera. (Anestad/Flickr)

AS MUCH AS GOLF FANS like and root for Phil Mickelson, a lot of people were pulling for 49-year-old Fred Couples to win the Northern Trust Open today at Riviera. The part-time golfer with a bad back was in contention. Freddie hovered within a couple shots of the lead most of the day.

After a massive drive on the 18th hole, Boom-Boom had a 7-iron from the right edge of the fairway. He needed a birdie to tie Steve Stricker and get in a playoff if Phil bogeyed. Couples swung and the ball squirted right. It looked awful on TV.

What happened?

“You know, I was just trying to hit it right around the tree,” Fred said afterwards. “I didn’t really aim for the green and cut it. And I just hit it right in the tree.”

It looked like a half shank to me, but what do I know? Fred continued.

“You know, if I had hit solid and pushed it, it still may have caught the tree. But I was just trying to go right along with it. It didn’t seem that hard. It was a perfect 7-iron.”

Based on the following, Freddie probably had too much data in his brain.

“And, you know, there’s so much commotion,” he said. “I’m hitting over cameramen because of the angle, and I think I just got a little loose. I hit a bad shot, and I just didn’t give myself a chance.”

Of course, even had Fred birdied, Phil’s par sealed the victory, his 35th PGA Tour title. Couples came close again, an impressive feat at his advanced golf age.

−The Armchair Golfer

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

9 thoughts on “Fred Couples Explains Muffed Approach on 18”

  1. Golf is a mind game like no other. Despite the enormous amount of experience, it was quite a sight to see someone like Fred Couples mess up his shot when it mattered most. I can only imagine how it must be for a youngster, exposed to the gaze of millions of viewers to face pressure. Last week I was at a tournament, where this lad was 3 UP with four holes to go and just gave it away from there. It wasn’t like the other guy played spectacular (although he did make some clutch putts) but this guy just crumbled under pressure almost as if he couldn’t move his hands anymore, just when he was at the doorstep of victory.

    Tom Watson’s words came to my mind “Those who have never choked, have never been in a position to do so.” The great American golfer had built a reputation of throwing away tournament wins from dominant positions before he finally turned the corner and won countless titles on the PGA Tour and eight Major championships.

    I always marvel at those guys, who faced with a chance to win with the first time, grab it with both hands and almost act as if nothing happened.

    As for Fred, hats off to the man for having maintained such a high level despite so many years of wear and tear.



  2. It is hard for me to believe that guys like Freddie Couples and Greg Norman are really as old as they are… seems like just yesterday that they were playing their best golf… Wait a minute… yesterday (and last summer across the pond) they WERE playing their best golf… It is simply easier to play better when you are younger.


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