If any pro golfer can relate to what Tiger Woods is going through with a bad back, it’s Fred Couples.
The 57-year-old Couples battled a balky back for much of his career, and he talked about how that hindered him and more in the most recent GOLF Magazine interview with Jessica Marksbury. He also pulled from his own experiences to talk about Woods’s recovery. Woods pulled out of the Dubai Desert Classic with back spasms in February and has had three back surgeries in his career; there is no timeline for his return.
Couples, despite his setbacks, hasn’t stopped winning. He’s won a dozen times on the Champions tour, and most recently at the Chubb Classic in February.
“Tiger gave me one of the greatest compliments a couple of years ago,” Couples said. “He said, ‘Dude, how do you do this?'”
In the interview, Marksbury asked Couples if he can relate to what Woods is going through and if he thinks the 14-time major-winner can win again.
“I love the guy,” Couples said. “And I honestly believe he can, yeah. It’s hard for Tiger, because not only has he been the best player for 18, 20 years, but he works really hard on his game. So he’s going to have to find his way of playing. When I’d have to withdraw, I used to tell my old caddie, Joey (LaCava), ‘Joe, it is what it is.’ I can’t make my back feel better when I swing. It’s impossible. And so now (Joe) caddies for Tiger, and I think he’s a perfect caddie because he knows. He can tell Tiger, ‘Just get through this round.’ But yes, I think that if Tiger didn’t think he could come back and win, there would be no reason for him to play.”
As for Couples — who has never had back surgeries, like Woods has — he’s still dealing with back pain today.
“I don’t sleep much,” he said. “And in the last year, I didn’t play for almost eight months. As I got better, my body started to feel really, really good. But once I swing a club, it all goes haywire. I can play. I can go hit the ball. But I might wake up tomorrow and not be able to move (for two days). I (adjust), and with a little practice try to figure it out. But I twitch all the time.”