Fred Couples blog: Couples will have his eyes on two leaderboards as deadline to make team nears

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Fred Couples finished solo-third in his last start at the Boeing Classic.
August 27, 2013

Editor's note: U.S. Captain Fred Couples and his International counterpart Nick Price will be writing blogs periodically during 2013. You can read Couple's blog below.

Aug. 27, 2013

Hello from Calgary, site of this week’s Shaw Charity Classic on the Champions Tour. I come into the event with some momentum, having birdied four of the last five holes at last week’s Boeing Classic to shoot 66 and finish third. It was great to see many familiar faces in Seattle, and I appreciate all the hometown support I received throughout the week.

The qualifying process for The Presidents Cup 2013 ends after this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, where 10 players will lock in their positions on the team following the tournament’s Labor Day finish. Two captain’s picks will be announced two days later on Sept. 4. International Captain Nick Price and I have joked that we will be paying close attention to two scoreboards this week while playing in Calgary. Assistant Captains Davis Love III, Jay Haas and I will have our hands full with some difficult decisions as we finalize the team with the captain’s picks.

Since The Open Championship, we’ve seen some phenomenal golf in big tournaments. Jason Dufner set the Oak Hill course record while winning the PGA Championship, jumping into the top 10 in the U.S. Team standings. Tiger continues to amaze me, as he won his 79th TOUR event at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and nearly won again last week at The Barclays. Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia won The Barclays and leads the International qualifiers entering the final week.

Nick and I are both honored to have the opportunity to lead our respective team as The Presidents Cup is contested at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club for the first time. Through the years, Jack has been the ultimate sportsman and role model, and The Presidents Cup 2013 will help showcase his many contributions to the game.

See you in October!

Fred

July 24, 2013

Greetings from Scotland, where I’m preparing to defend my Senior British Open title this week at Royal Birkdale.

For the first time since 2006, I played The Open Championship last week, and I really enjoyed my time at Muirfield. I played with two legends in the first two rounds, Nick Faldo and Tom Watson. Nick played well considering he had not played a competitive round on the PGA TOUR in several years. Tom is as popular as ever in Scotland and he continues to amaze me with his ball-striking ability and his flair for links golf. Contrast that with my Sunday pairing, 18-year-old Matthew Fitzpatrick, who will attend Northwestern University in the fall. Matthew won low amateur by five shots and was a great kid to play with – we traded some fist bumps throughout the day and it was great to see him soak in the atmosphere of a major.

As for my game, my scores steadily improved each day. The course was incredibly challenging, given how firm and fast the conditions were.

As you know, Phil Mickelson, who has played in all nine Presidents Cups to date, won The Open Championship with one of the best rounds of golf you’ll ever see. Several players I expect to be on the U.S. Presidents Cup Team this fall also impressed me with their play at Muirfield, namely Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker. Both players have yet to win a major, but they continue to contend in these big events.

We’re just over two months away from The Presidents Cup and the automatic qualification process is winding down. Looking at the current top 10 in the U.S. Team standings, even our young players have significant Ryder Cup and/or Presidents Cup experience, which is always a plus.

Thanks for your support of The Presidents Cup, and see you at Muirfield!

Fred

June 5, 2013

I just returned home from an eventful week of Presidents Cup activities. It started off with a trip to the White House with International Team Captain Nick Price. We got to spend about 20 minutes trading stories with President Obama in the Oval Office and even rolled a few putts on the putting green near the Rose Garden. Nick and I did our best to convince the Honorary Chairman of The Presidents Cup 2013 to attend the matches in October, and to maybe play 18 with us at some point this year!

From there, I flew to Ohio to play in the Memorial Tournament for the 22nd time in my career. As a former champion of the event, I appreciate everything tournament host Jack Nicklaus has done to make Muirfield Village Golf Club one of the special places to play on the PGA TOUR. The golf course is always in amazing condition, and with the new expanded clubhouse and facilities, I have no doubt Muirfield will be a spectacular setting for The Presidents Cup later this year.

Also last week, I was thrilled to name one of my good friends, Davis Love III, as an assistant captain to the 2013 U.S. Team. A veteran of more than a dozen Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups as a player or captain, Davis will be a tremendous asset to the team, and I look forward to working with him and returning assistant Jay Haas.

Nine of the top 10 players in the U.S. Presidents Cup standings played the Memorial Tournament. I had the opportunity to play with or visit with many of those guys and get better acquainted with some others looking to play their way onto the team. Matt Kuchar, a regular on Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams over the last few years, won going away and moved to second in the U.S. standings – as captain, that’s always a great result to see.

Automatic qualifying for 10 of the 12 roster spots on the U.S. Team will be finalized at the end of the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship, with my two captain’s picks to follow on September 4. I look forward to the home stretch of qualifying as the excitement builds for The Presidents Cup at Jack’s place.

See you in October!

April 15, 2013

As it does every April, being at Augusta National Golf Club for The Masters inspired me to play some great golf during the week. I seem to find a comfort zone there each year, which has allowed me to contend into my 50s. I hope to continue to play the Masters for many years to come and can?t wait to tee it up next year, as I relish each and every opportunity to compete in one of the world?s great sporting events.

In Augusta, it was great to see and play with many of the players that I have captained in the last two Presidents Cups, as well as several players who I expect to play their way onto the U.S. Team for the first time in 2013. I played a practice round with Tiger, and also got an up-close look at Dustin Johnson in the first two rounds.

Congratulations to Adam Scott, who moved to No. 1 in The Presidents Cup International Team standings in claiming the first Green Jacket for Australia. Adam is a classy player and individual, and his Masters victory will add to the buildup of The Presidents Cup as the event draws near.

The world also got a view of the future in Augusta, as 14-year-old Guan Tianlang of China wowed us all with his skill, demeanor and poise. I?m certain sometime in the near future, The Presidents Cup International roster will have a representative from China as the game continues to flourish in that part of the world.

While my team that gathers at Muirfield Village Golf Club this fall will most likely have several Presidents Cup rookies, you will also see players that have been staples of Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup teams for years. Every captain is different in terms of his approach to a team?s makeup, but relying on veteran leadership has been a successful formula for me in leading the team in the last two playings. I want our young players to relax, have fun and be comfortable with their pairings, and our veteran players have certainly helped in that process.

I look forward to monitoring the U.S. Team standings in the coming weeks and months in anticipation of what should be a great Presidents Cup at Jack?s place in October.

February 25, 2013

Hello from LA! It's fitting that my first blog for the 2013 Presidents Cup is coming to you from the Northern Trust Open, one of my favorite golf tournaments to play in, and one of my first chances of the year to see a lot of the guys who are going to be working to make the U.S. Team over the next several months.

This is one of our top-three courses on TOUR, in my opinion. It’s right up there with TPC Sawgrass and Muirfield Village Golf Club as my all-time favorites.

I’ve only played one event so far this season -- The Champions Tour event in Hualalai -- So I’m a bit rusty, but I’m still very excited to be teeing it up at Riviera for the 31st time. I found out the other day that I’ve now played in this event more than any other player in history. That’s really hard to believe, and it’s hard to hear that without feeling old! I’m paired with Bubba Watson and Lee Westwood for the first two days; Bubba was probably 4 years old when I played the Northern Trust Open for the very first time.

As far as The Presidents Cup goes... Wow, what a start to the season for my U.S. guys. Dustin, Tiger, Phil and Brandt have all kicked off 2013 with wins and are right at the top of the U.S. Team standings. And then you’ve got rookie Russell Henley winning right out of the gates to get his name on the list and veteran Brian Gay outlasting the field at Humana, so he’s just outside the top 20. I’m in between being thrilled about all of these guys playing so well and really nervous about how I’m possibly going to narrow it down to two captain’s picks in September. If things keep going this way -- And I hope they do -- I’m going to have a lot of great players to choose from. A good problem to have, for sure.

I saw that Nick Price wrote in his first blog that he’s already picked out his team’s clothes. Nick is a pretty organized guy anyway, and as a "Rookie" Captain, he’s probably even more buttoned up. I’m sure you’re not surprised to find out that I’m not quite that far along in the process! But don’t worry... The U.S. Team won’t have to wear hand-me-downs or anything. We’ll keep you posted on how things are coming together in the next month or two.

Until then, thanks for your support of the U.S. Team and The Presidents Cup. I’m really looking forward to October, and I hope you are too.

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