And we battled and battled and battled, but he got the better end of it. If someone says, “Should you have won at Augusta again? How have you played so well at the Masters long into your 50s? And I can play Augusta really well because I know it so well and I feel very comfortable on it. I made the cut and got paired with Tom Watson on Saturday. There are always nagging “What ifs.” I’ve had a great teacher in Paul Marchand since 1986, 1987, and I worked with Butch [Harmon]. Because of the back pain you’ve battled for more than 20 years? Yeah, there were some tournaments that I gave away. The one that was really, really rough was the  PGA. I didn’t have back surgeries, but I can promise you that I had my back worked on way too many times, and I missed way too many golf tournaments. If I didn’t like the pairings and the enjoyment [of the players], I would never come out here. It’s hard for Tiger, because not only has he been the best player for 18, 20 years, but he works really hard on his game. When I’d have to withdraw, I used to tell my old caddie, Joey [La Cava], “Joe, it is what it is.” I can’t make my back feel better when I swing. And so now [Joe] caddies for Tiger, and I think he’s a perfect caddie because he knows. You need to make birdies, and you don’t want to make a par.” He helped me a lot. I don’t talk about it much, but when you’re not healthy, there’s really only one person who knows. As I got better, my body started to feel really, really good. For me, the Champions Tour is all about the pairings. Ray once said to me, “You’re trying to eagle every par 5. It took him a while to get on Tour, but his game is phenomenal. Last question, speaking of your younger self: If you went out today and battled 1992 Freddie in match play—and he used his old equipment—who would win? So even though there’s no way I’m physically better right now than when I was 32, Fred of today would win. I felt Augusta was the course I’d really get to know over time and could win, whereas the U. Open would take a great, great Sunday of hitting fairways, of keeping out of that big, thick rough. I shot 73-68 [in the first two rounds], and we were both in the top 10. Tiger gave me one of the greatest compliments a couple of years ago. ” You can relate to what Tiger’s gone through with his back injuries. What advice do you give some of today’s young guys? With Rickie, I say, “Go get them, and pay attention to what you’re doing. It’s about time you make one of these teams.” Which player today reminds you of yourself? You came close again in 2006, at age 46, before finishing three behind Phil Mickelson. That Sunday in ’06 is about the best I ever played—I just didn’t putt very well. But I think I was more nervous [the year I finished a stroke behind Mark O’Meara] in 1998. A couple of [loose] shots kept me from beating Mark and Phil. Looking back at 30-plus years going to Augusta, which one or two memories endure above all others? I had played with Tom a couple of times but never at Augusta. It was two things—he was the king at Augusta at the time, and he played so fast and hit it so good. Yeah, I three-putted a couple of times, but you’re gonna do that at Augusta. You’re a Hall of Famer with 63 professional wins, including a green jacket and two Players Championship titles. They both taught the same thing, and they were both spot-on. In retrospect, if I’d had a teacher who I lived closer to, I may have been better off. Since around 1993, I haven’t practiced putting for more than 10 minutes. Maybe another major or two would make my [record] better. I was able to play, and I enjoyed it, but what I missed were chances to work harder on my game. But if you’re a good player, and you play really good rounds, you get the best players out here every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When that stops and I’m in 50th place, there’s no way I’ll put my body through it. Considering all your back problems, perhaps you’re an overachiever. He can tell Tiger, “Just get through this round.” But yes, I think that if Tiger didn’t think he could come back and win, there would be no reason for him to play. Every time I teed off at par 72, I felt like I was at 69. Don’t get down on yourself.” And with Brendan, I’d say, “Hey, it’s a Presidents Cup year.
They're always forgiving of other people's mistakes, which at times can translate to naivete and gullibility.
Older, wiser and achier, the Hall of Famer, 57, discusses his love affair with Augusta, how a healthy back would have helped his career, and what he’s really good at (acting! My teacher and his wife were there, and some friends.
You can miss on a lot of holes [at Augusta], but not on the 12th. ” Of the four majors, was the green jacket the one you wanted most?
The greatest overall compatibility with Libra is Aries and Sagittarius.
Chinese Zodiac: Fred Couples was born in the Year of the Pig.
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