Notes Couples Gives Quite the Curtain Call


2005 PresidentGAINESVILLE, Va. -- Fred Couples had not represented the United States in a major international competition since 1998 and was 0-2-1 after his first three matches at this year's Presidents Cup.
But the 45-year-old captain's pick proved his worth Sunday when he beat Vijay Singh, the No. 2 player in the world, 1 up with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole.
Fred Couples
Fred Couples throws his hands to the sky after defeating Vijay Singh 1-up to win a point for the U.S.
``I figure if I beat him, there might be a small golden rainbow out there,'' Couples said. ``And I did.''
Couples also beat Singh on the final hole at the 1996 Presidents Cup with a 35-foot birdie putt. Now the veteran of four Presidents Cups and five Ryder Cups would like to wear the U.S. colors one more time -- at next year's Ryder Cup.
``I'm going to play a lot next year. I'm definitely going to try to make that team,'' Couples said. ``I knew I had to play well this week, and I played OK. ... The last three rounds I played pretty well.''
Couples said he wants to qualify for the Ryder Cup team outright, rather than be a captain's pick again.
``I don't want to be picked,'' Couples said. ``And I probably won't be picked.''
Americans Kenny Perry and David Toms were both 0-3 through the first three days of the Presidents Cup, so they were understandably relieved to win their singles matches Sunday.
Perry beat Mark Hensby 4 and 3, and Toms defeated Trevor Immelman 2 and 1. They accounted for two of the Americans' first three victories Sunday, giving the team momentum that helped win the Cup.
``Hopefully it'll inspire our guys -- they knew how poorly I was playing,'' Perry said after his match. ``I told them if I could somehow win a match and win it pretty convincingly, it may give them a shot of confidence.''
Said Toms: ``I ran into a buzz saw every match. And even today, I was lucky enough to play just a little bit better.''
Three golfers failed to win a match over the four-day event: International players Vijay Singh (0-2-3) and Stuart Appleby (0-4-1) and U.S. player Fred Funk (0-2-2). Three went undefeated: U.S. players Chris DiMarco (4-0-1) and Jim Furyk (3-0-2) and International player Retief Goosen (4-0-1).
Who is the winningest golfer in Presidents Cup history? Davis Love III.
Love's 4-and-3 victory over Nick O'Hern in Sunday's singles was his 16th in the competition. Love, who has played in all six Presidents Cups, went 2-2-1 this year and is 16-8-4 overall.
Tiger Woods had a rare singles loss in match play Sunday, falling 2 and 1 to Retief Goosen. Woods grabbed his back after playing a shot at the 17th hole, a flare-up of a problem he had earlier in the event.
``The last nine holes it was giving me a little problem,'' said Woods, who had been 3-0 in singles in his previous Presidents Cup appearances. ``I had my opportunities to take control of the match. I didn't do it. I didn't make the putts. Goose made a lot of putts on me today.''
No. 8 was one of the more interesting places to be this week at the Presidents Cup, if only because several players tried to drive the green on the 380-yard par-4. Tiger Woods knocked his tee shot all the way to the No. 9 tee box on Saturday, and Stuart Appleby launched one over a scoring tower later in the day.
On Sunday, the hole was won in eight of the 12 singles matches, usually giving important momentum to the winner.
Justin Leonard drove into the rough but took the hole with a 20-foot birdie putt to go 2 up on the way to a 4-and-3 victory over Tim Clark. Scott Verplank put his approach in the sand and lost the hole and his 1-up lead to Mike Weir. Verplank carried his frustrations to No. 9, where he put his tee shot in the water and his next shot in the sand and then smacked some plastic cups in frustration. Weir went on to win the match 3 and 2.
Vijay Singh lost the hole to Fred Couples when he put his drive into the rough and his approach in a trap. In the last match, Chris DiMarco missed a 3-footer to lose the hole to Stuart Appleby, but DiMarco redeemed himself with a 15-foot putt at No. 18 to win his match and clinch the Cup for the Americans.
Vijay Singh complained about the slow pace of play at the Presidents Cup after Saturday's matches, so it wasn't surprising the topic was still on his mind when he arrived at the first tee on Sunday.
``I don't want to be waiting all day,'' Singh told his opponent, Fred Couples.
Singh and Couples smiled as they chatted about the subject and went on to efficiently play one of the best matches of the tournament, with Couples winning on the final hole.
The Presidents Cup heads north of the border for the first time. The 2007 matches will be played at Royal Montreal Golf Club, with Canada joining Australia and South Africa as International team countries to host the event.
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