Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fred-couples-masters-nov42010 Life didn't begin at age 50 for Fred Couples, but his rookie year on the Champions Tour has been a rebirth of sorts for the laid-back fan favorite. This year, Couples was celebrated for everything from his four Champions Tour wins to his sixth-place finish at the Masters and his skateboard-inspired spikeless Ecco shoes (worn without socks of course).
However, on the eve of the Charles Schwab Cup Champions Tour finale at Harding Park in San Francisco this week, Couples said he was finished as a competitive player on the PGA Tour, although he still might play a couple of PGA Tour events in addition to a full Champions Tour schedule. Couples said he played some PGA Tour events in 2010 with the hope of getting a Ryder Cup nod, but missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., in which he finished T5 in 2009, convinced him that he belonged on the Champions Tour.
"I did really well at Greensboro last year," Couples said. "I almost won. I thought if I went there and played well and maybe had a shot at winning, Corey [Pavin] might call me up and say, 'Hey, you might get picked.' That's really why I played.
"And I didn't play well, and now I know that I am done with the regular tour. Absolutely done. That I know. Absolutely," Couples said.
That doesn't mean you won't see Couples at all on the PGA Tour in 2011. He said he might play the L.A. Open at Riviera in February and also the Shell Houston Open before the Masters. Couples said he can't make those decisions until he knows the Champions Tour schedule for 2011.
"But no one knows the schedule," Couples said. "I've never worried about a schedule, and now I want to play a couple times on our tour, and I'm all worried about it. It kind of bothers me. I don't know.
"Whereas I played 29 years on the regular tour and I knew every tournament, out here I couldn't tell you the names of the courses, the tournaments or anything," Couples said. "I just go to 'em and show up and play. That's the truth. I mean, I couldn't tell you the names of any of the courses. I know we're at Harding Park because we're right here"

Couples is a serious baseball fan, so he's enjoying the excitement around the World Series champion Giants in San Francisco this week.
"Downtown, had a lot of fun on Monday night," Couples said. "Went out and walked around and saw everybody screaming and yelling. It's just a great week to be here. How lucky we all are that the Giants just won the World Series and we're here."
And he's hoping some of that excitement will carry over to this weekend's tournament, where he has an outside chance to overtake Bernard Langer in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup.
"Would have been nice if they won [Wednesday] because I had tickets. It's great. I think the town will be very electric," Couples said. "I hope we get big crowds. I don't know what that is, but I hope we get some people to come out and watch." Fred Couples, and his shoes, made quite a splash at Augusta National this year. (John Biever/SI)

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