Fred Couples is never the oldest player in the Masters field each year because there is no age limit for past champions to be in the field.
However, most years he is the only player over 50 with a realistic chance of not only making the 36 hole cut, but also winning.
Despite a career that has been full of WD’s because of a chronic bad back, he seems to come alive at Augusta National each April. It would take more than just a sore back to keep him away from the Masters.
And it is not just Augusta National. Couples has an ability that is the envy of his fellow players on the Champions Tour. He can take 3 to 6 months off due to the bad back, show up with no practice, and walk off the course on Sunday with the Champions Trophy.
To say he makes it look easy is an understatement. When Freddy does go to the range at events, he probably hits 5-10 balls because he is so popular with the other players, they all seem to stop by his spot on the range to say hi and talk awhile.
No problem for Couples. He has been known to have the best muscle memory in golf, meaning despite long periods of inactivity, he can pick up a club and his body knows exactly how to swing with ease and with one of the most beautiful swings in golf.
He has always been one of the longest drivers in golf, yet when he swings a driver it is so smooth you would think he was hitting a wedge off the tee, but wedges don’t go over 300 yards.
With a new generation of golfers coming on tour, and younger fans in the gallery each week, we don’t hear that great nickname Couples played with for over twenty years, “Boom Boom”. It was certainly fitting and made him a fan favorite everywhere he played.
In my years of covering golf I’ve never met or heard of a player or a fan who did not love Fred Couples. His par roars rival other players eagles. That’s just Freddy.
Couples has made an incredible 30 of 34 cuts in the prestigious Masters.
A former World No. 1, he has won 64 professional tournaments and 15 wins on the PGA Tour, most notably the 1992 Masters Tournament and the 1984 and 1996 Players Championship. In August 2011 he won his maiden senior major at the Senior Players Championship and followed this up in July 2012 when he won the Senior British Open Championship. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.
Couples was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year twice, in 1991 and 1992. He also won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average in each of those years. He has been named to the United States Ryder Cup team five times, in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997.
In 1992, Couples became the first American player to reach the number one position in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Couples made the cut Friday at two-over par, seven shots back of the leader, but seven shots on the weekend at Augusta is nothing, especially with bad weather forecast for Saturday.
After his round Friday he didn’t stop to sign autographs, going straight to a physical therapist to have his back worked on. A week before the Masters, Couples played his first round of golf since battling through the back injury at a Champions tour event in Hawaii. Short game practice had been out of the question. “I don’t know how it’s going to work, going to Augusta without putting or chipping,” he said.
If Couples could win the 2018 Masters in a field that includes Tiger Woods it certainly would rank near the top of comebacks from injury in golf history, probably just second to Woods should he win.
Media members are not supposed to be biased but should Couples pull out a win on Sunday the loudest roars will be coming from the media center.
How can you not pull for “Boom Boom”?