Fred Couples is as synonymous with Augusta National as blooming azaleas, towering pines and green jackets, but one of the silkiest swingers in town is being out-gunned.
The 59-year-old former world No.1 won the Masters in 1992 and still regularly appears high on its traditional white leaderboards in what has virtually become his second home.
With a loose, but powerful action, Couples was known as “Boom boom” in his heyday, but now leans on the experience of 33 appearances in the iconic major, which “makes my whole year.”
“Well, I love it, A. I mean, that helps,” he told CNN Living Golf’s Shane O’Donoghue when the Irishman recently caddied for Couples.
“And B – not this year, this year I was being outdriven by the guys I was playing with by about 50 yards – I’m a good putter and I feel like I can handle those greens.”
As a former winner Couples is privileged to attend the traditional Champions Dinner on the Tuesday of Masters week, an occasion to welcome the holder to one of sport’s most elite clubs.
“It’s an amazing room, you congratulate the past champion, he gives a little speech, he gets a medallion, you go on your way and do it again next year,” adds Couples.
“I think I have a couple more years left in me.”
Couples was close to the legendary Arnold Palmer and broke down in tears during an interview with the Golf Channel when the 87-year-old – known as “The King” – died in September 2016.
“Completely,” Couples told O’Donoghue.
“It was really something. I didn’t think that would happen. The greatest thing about him is every time I saw him he would give me a kiss on the cheek. I felt pretty special.”
The laid back, popular Couples has enjoyed an impressive career and was inducted into golf’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
But did all his golf dreams come true?
“I won Augusta but I always wanted to make a putt to win the US Open so that dream never happened as a young kid,” he added.
“But when I got to Houston as a freshman I never had any idea I would be on the PGA Tour. So the dream is still going, in a weird way.”
Find out how Shane O’Donoghue got on caddieing for Fred Couples in the video at the top of the page.