Couch Primed For Another PGA Tour Shot

By Alison PierceJuly 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
A lanky 16-year-old Chris Couch peered out at the heaving mass of golf fans lining the first fairway at the 1990 Honda Classic in Coral Springs, Fla. Only 156 pounds clung to his 6 foot 2 inch teenage frame, his knees trembled as he bent to put his tee in the ground. Man, this is unbelievable, he thought, willing a straight first drive. And this is what I want to do one day.
 
Chris Couch
Chris Couch proved he can play with the big boys with his T-13 at the Cialis Western Open.
Couch knew he was bound for the PGA Tour since his dad got him into golf at age 7. He still believes it. Couch grew up on the windy flats of South Florida, where you play golf all year round. He entered every junior tournament he could and rose to the top at age 17 as the No. 1 ranked junior golfer in the country and was bound for glory.
 
At the National Junior PGA Championship in 1991 Couch was headed into the fourth round with a one-shot lead. That night in his hotel room he watched the local news where the favorite, a young man named Tiger Woods, was interviewed. The reporter asked Tiger what he thought he needed to win. Tiger said if he shot even par he would easily take the tournament. That got me fired up, says Couch. So Tiger shot his even par and I shot a 63. Its a good story.
 
Yet Couchs career has been anything but consistent. Known as a streaky player, the last 10 years have been marked by dramatic peaks and valleys. Couch recorded a tie for seventh on the PGA Tour at the 1999 Sony Open in Hawaii, a career best, but failed to keep his card. He hit a mental low the next year on the Nationwide and was ready to hang up his clubs. I was tired of traveling, I was tired of playing bad, says Couch, who by then had a young family.
 
He went straight to the head pro at Gainesville Country Club, Cary Splane, who also happens to be a good friend, and he asked for a job. Stlane said, I would love to have you, but I wont have you. Youre too good, you cant quit. Three months later Couch entered the Nationwide's season-opening Florida Classic under a sponsors exemption and won the tournament. He took home his first career victory and got his status back on the Nationwide Tour. Its an ongoing joke with us now, says Couch. Every time I call him, he says he has a job opening for me.
 
There was yet another time in his career that Couch nearly gave up. He had run out of money mid-season in 2003 and borrowed $3,000 from PGA Tour member Brenden Pappas to continue playing. I gave myself three weeks, says Couch. The first week I finished 25th, the second week I finish seconnd, and the third in Knoxville I finished fifth. I was able to pay him back and since then Ive been in pretty good shape. More than good shape.
 
Indeed, Couch finds himself on top again with his recent success at the Cialis Western Open, where he held the 36-hole lead and won almost as much money with that tournament and his LaSalle Bank Open win combined, than he did all last year. He is now poised to take back the No. 1 spot on the Nationwide Tour money list and with one more win, a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour.
 
Now 6 feet 4 inches and 225 pounds, Couch has the athletic demeanor of a star baseball pitcher and an easy confidence. He feels hes more ready than ever to play at the PGA Tour level, and is now a better player than hes ever been.
 
A lot of it has to do with attitude change, says Couch. Ive been working on focus, relaxation, breathing and being positive. A lot of it is mental, being out there with all the oohs and aahs. Hes also been working on his swing by carefully studying the swings of Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Annika Sorenstam and his old nemesis, Tiger Woods. Els has the same type of body as me, the same position at the ball, I try to get close to his swing. says Couch.
 
And its been hard to miss the wacky cross-handed grip he whipped out at the John Deere Classic last July. Couch says that he was hitting it so bad inside 80 yards and out of the bunker that his coach had him try the cross-hand as a drill to hit shallow through the ball. It stuck.
 
The hardest part about it is not worrying about what people think, says Couch, They make a lot of comments that I must be nervous or something. But Im not worrying about those comments, it works for me.
 
Youve got to have a lot of guts to throw that in play, confirms Jeff Gove, whos also bounced back and forth from the PGA Tour to the Nationwide Tour, His game has really improved, hes also been using the long putter and its worked for him really well.
 
Fellow Nationwide Tour player Scott Peterson, whos played with Couch for five years, says hes not surprised about Couchs performance. I think whats a bigger shock is that he hasnt done better on the PGA tour, says Peterson. Theres a misconception about Chris that he doesnt take it seriously, but hes all business on the golf course.
 
Above all, Couch is a competitor. Im very fierce. I definitely want to beat everybody and win. But at the same time, I want to be nice, laughs Couch, But I want to be a lion and attack, he quickly adds.
 
Couch has the utmost respect for his toughest competitor Troy Matteson (Read - Matteson Calculating His Way to the PGA Tour) who stole the top spot on the money list from him last week when Couch was at the Cialis Western Open. Hes played the most consistent of anyone on tour, says Couch. My hats off to him. I hope we have a fun chase this year.
 
After all, this fierce lion has his priorities in order. His favorite thing is to play with his two kids, Christian and Cayden, who travel with him to many of his tournaments. Asked if hes going to push them to play golf, he replies, If they want to, its great, but golf is a frustrating game. There is no one to rely on but yourself, mentally and physically.
 
'It would be easier just to be a doctor, he smiles.

Related Links:
Chris Couch's Bio
Full Coverage - National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.