U.S. Team Captain’s Assistant Fred Couples shares his thoughts ahead of The Presidents Cup
October 02, 2015
By Kenneth Quillinan , Special to PGATOUR.COM
- October 02, 2015
- U.S. Team captains Davis Love III, Fred Couples and Jay Haas after the U.S. Team defeated the International Team 18.5 to 15.5 at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on October 6, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
With just a matter of days to go until The Presidents Cup begins, final preparations are well underway for what is sure to be a memorable week in Korea. The U.S. Team is strongly fancied to defend its title under the guidance of Captain Jay Haas and his assistants: Love, Stricker and victorious U.S. captain of the past three competitions, Fred Couples. Couples recently shared his thoughts ahead of next week’s milestone event.
Q: How much are you looking forward to coming to Korea to defend The Presidents Cup title?
Couples: I think having the Presidents Cup matches in Korea will be great. Korea is a gigantic golf-loving country, as we know from so many new Korean players coming out and doing well on all the tours. I think they will be very excited to host the matches and be able to watch some of the best golfers in the world compete, so I am expecting large and enthusiastic crowds. One of the great things about The Presidents Cup is that it includes so many different countries and players that may not be household names in the United States yet.
Q: You made your Presidents Cup debut back in 1994, so you must have many fond memories of the competition? Which one stands out for you?
Couples: Boy, that’s a tough question! As a player, I had a lot of moments when the heat was on me to make a shot or make a putt, and I was as invested as any player in the success of the U.S. Team. But I have to say, being the U.S. captain for the last three matches was a very special experience. Having such great talent and such good people playing together on those teams was an experience that was beyond anything I could have imagined.
Q: Looking at the teams on paper, you must be confident of making it four in a row?
Couples: Well, I am always confident in the U.S. Team and their chances to succeed at these matches, but the International Team is also made up of extremely talented players, and I expect that it will be a toughly contested match. We’re looking forward to some great competition from Nick Price and his team.
Q: And it must be fun working alongside Jay Haas, Davis Love III and Steve Stricker, as well as helping out so many charities through the competition?
Couples: Jay and Davis and Steve are some of my best and closest friends, and we have been together for many special events during our careers. They are some of the most solid guys in golf. Charity is a big part of all our PGA TOUR events, and it’s an honor to be able to choose charities that are close to your heart to distribute some of the event proceeds to. It’s very rewarding.
Q: What did you think when you saw Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter rally up the crowd before teeing off at the Ryder Cup?
Couples: I love to see the players get fired up for their matches, and for their teammates in the matches. Get the crowd going, wave their flags and sing their songs… it’s the one time that golf becomes a team sport, and I’m a big proponent of getting everyone excited for the event.
Q: What are your thoughts on being regarded as the most laidback golfer in the history of the game?
Couples: Laidback is a word that a lot of people have used to describe me, but I think that comes more from how I may look to the public, and it’s not completely who I am. I certainly do like to feel and look casual off the course, but when I’m there to play, I think I am as intense as any player out there. I may not always look like it, but inside I’m grinding just as hard as the other guys.
Q: So how is life on The Champions Tour compared to the PGATOUR?
Couples: Playing on the Champions Tour is great. I love seeing all the guys that I have played with for so many years and teeing it up with them is still a good challenge. But, I also have a good group of younger guys on the PGA TOUR that I have gotten close to, and I am happy for those weeks that I do get a chance to play with them. There are so many younger guys emerging as the new stars and it’s great to see.
Q: What has been the one moment in your career that you feel the most proud about whether it was on the course sinking a winning putt, or receiving a prestigious award off the course?
Couples: When you’ve played for as long as I have, it’s nearly impossible to pick out just one moment. I have been fortunate to have a pretty good group of special memories on and off the course over my career. And as I said earlier, there are all the other things that make it even better, like the people you have the chance to meet, the events that you are able to attend and the friends that you make for a lifetime.
Q: Do you feel that when you are fully fit you could still claim a dream victory at Augusta?
Couples: You know, Augusta is a very special place, and the Masters is my favorite tournament of the year. I think that if I am playing well, I have a great opportunity to do well in the tournament, and I have had some chances in recent years. I would be over the moon to put on that green jacket one more time.
Q: Finally, do you have a message for the Korean fans who are eagerly awaiting your arrival?
Couples: I want to thank the Korean people for inviting us to come for The Presidents Cup. We know that they are enthusiastic fans, and we look forward to providing them with some good competition in the matches. We also hope that many people are able to come to the golf course to see us play, no matter which side they are rooting for.