Sunday, February 22
Fred Couples Explains Muffed Approach on 18
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.
“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