Couples reassures Tiger: 'You're fine'

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SAN DIEGO – To be clear, Fred Couples didn’t show up at Torrey Pines on Wednesday just to spend quality time with Tiger Woods.

“I came to pay off Super Bowl bets,” smiled Couples, a lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan. “I didn’t owe the guy I watched (Woods) anything. I owed his caddie (Joe LaCava).”

But after making good on what he figured were eight to 10 losing wagers, Couples spent the morning with Woods during an abbreviated nine-hole practice round and told GolfChannel.com he isn’t worried about the direction of his friend’s game despite a second-round 82, his highest round as a professional on the PGA Tour, last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“We laughed a little bit. It was so bizarre I even think he thinks it’s bizarre,” Couples said of Woods’ finish last week at TPC Scottsdale. “People can explain golf, but it’s hard to do things and when they go the other way you got to turn it around and I think he’s very capable of doing that. And that’s what I told him. He’s fine.”

Couples said he had an opportunity to meet Woods’ new swing coach, Chris Como, and that the two set up a few practice rounds for later this year at the Masters. He didn’t, however, offer Woods any swing advice.

“We didn’t talk golf,” he said. “I don’t know much about the swing. I did notice there was a lot going on. On the range we stood there in the fog and he had a lot of people try to help him and stuff. I just thought it was kind of funny.”

On this front Woods and Couples are kindred spirits. Couples was dogged throughout much of his career with back ailments and can relate to how difficult it is to play your best golf after extended periods away from the game.

“He did have back surgery and he really hasn’t played much golf in a year and I don’t know how good anyone would be after that,” Couples said. “I can speak for a back, a lot of things are going to feel differently and I didn’t even have surgery.”