Another Q&A with Fred Couples
Q: Fred Couples, do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
A: I do, but didn't we already do one of these last year?
Q: Yes, but it's a new year, and you're having a good year. You might make your sixth U.S. Ryder Cup team.
A: I'd love it. Haven't been since '97, but I've got to keep making points. And to do that, I've got to keep playing. Which I will. Byron Nelson, Colonial, Memorial, Westchester, U.S. Open. Five in six weeks. A lot for me. I wish that par-3 shootout next month in Michigan counted, but it doesn't.
Q: Would you add events?
A: Not if I was 25th on the list. But if I'm 11th, yeah. I'm playing more consistently. I worked with Butch Harmon on a couple things that are actually clicking. If I just don't kill myself with my putting.
Q: How'd you come away from The Masters?
A: Exhausted. But so did Phil Mickelson, and he won
Q: No, I meant what did you take from your performance?
A: I hit the ball as well as I ever have in any major. Including when I won there in 1992. I actually hit it better than Phil. So that was encouraging. I had a blast. Could have won. Could have finished second. But I was still whipped.
Q: Your back held up, though?
A: Once I get going, I'm fine. I played 31 holes Sunday, so it's not like my body can't handle an endurance test like the Ryder Cup. The golf isn't a problem there, anyway. I'd rather play two extra matches than deal with all the other stuff.
Q: Too many social functions?
A: At the Presidents Cup last year, we had a dinner at the White House. That's tough to pass up. But otherwise, they do some stuff the Ryder Cup could do, like play four days instead of three. Also at the Presidents Cup, guys don't sit out as much.
Q: Would you like to be a Ryder Cup captain?
A: Sure. If Paul Azinger gets it in 2008, then by 2010, I'm 50. Almost 51. I'll be playing mostly with the seniors. Would that hurt my chances, not being out on the PGA Tour as much? I don't know. Do I need to see Tiger Woods? Am I gonna go up to him on the range and ask him, "How you feeling?"
Q: What kind of captain would you be?
A: Whatever's best for the players. If I could get them, I'd bring guys like Robin Williams and Lance Armstrong around just to shoot the bull. Loosen things up. Michael Jordan. What about Charles Barkley? Think our guys wouldn't like to see him in our team room?
Q: Are you tough enough for the job?
A: You mean am I gonna throw guys under the bus? Did Raymond Floyd get mad at me when I chopped it around The Belfry in 1989? When I couldn't hit the friggin' green with a 9-iron? I don't think that's the answer, beating guys up.
Q: Do you think the captain's job is overrated?
A: Once you make your two picks, you don't ever actually hit a shot. Do I think Ben Crenshaw was outcoached all week at Boston in 1999 until he got smart on the last day? No.
Q: The Ryder Cup gets your attention.
A: After 26 years out here, yeah, a few events are more important than others. Isn't that natural? Meanwhile, if I'm not playing that well, and I'm not in the top 10, would I pick myself as a wild card? I've been on lots of teams. If Tom Lehman picks someone else, I understand.
Q: Eventually, new blood is necessary.
A: Exactly. Lucas Glover on the first tee in Ireland this September won't be able to breathe. But sooner or later, he's gotta be one of our main guys.
Q: A personal question: The PGA Tour guide last year listed your wife and children. This year, no mention of family.
A: Not much to say, except it's over. I'm a single man again.
Q: Did it help Mickelson, playing with you during the final round at The Masters?
A: We probably helped each other. I mean, if a guy hits a good shot, I'm gonna say so, even if I hate him. And I like Phil.
Q: How are things going on the PGA Tour?
A: I don't understand the new TV deal. We signed for 15 years with The Golf Channel? Isn't there a number between one and 15? Did the NBA sign for 15 years with TNT? How'd we lose ESPN? I also don't get that. What if ESPN decides in three years they want golf again? What does the PGA Tour tell them? Sorry, we're with The Golf Channel until 2021?
Q: But the tour wants to grow with The Golf Channel.
A: I know. I heard it's in so many million households. Then why doesn't the tour sign a 15-year deal with Japan TV? There has to be a few million households over there too, right? In 15 years, I'll be 61, watching The Golf Channel from my couch. Nobody will ask me about the Ryder Cup when I'm 61, that's for sure.