Couples Finds Relaxing the Key in Skins

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2005 Merrill Lynch Skins GameFred Couples has the Skins Game thing figured out. The king of the off-season ' hes won more money in the Merrill Lynch Skins Game than anyone ' says the key to the whole concept is being able to relax and enjoy yourself.
 
Thats the secret, he says, as Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Fred Funk and himself prepare to tee it up in the Palm Springs area Saturday and Sunday.
 
Fred Couples and Tiger Woods
Fred Couples has won over $3.5 million in his Skins Game career.
In golf, you have to be able to laugh and giggle at yourself, said Couples. And I'm able to do that - especially in the Skins Game - because it is a made-for-TV, it is fun, and you're playing with three other people.
 
And you have to be able to hit some quality shots at different times and make putts, which I think we're all capable of doing. And then there's luck involved, and I've been very lucky in a lot of these Skins Game.
 
Couples won last year when he overcame Woods for the final skin. That came on the fourth extra hole ' the 17th ' as Woods found the water and Couples made par. Freddie has won a record $3,515,000 and 77 skins in 11 appearances in the made-for-TV tournament. He has been first or second in the event eight times, going back to 1992.
 
I just go, he said, and I certainly always look forward to playing with Tiger. And of course Annika is one of my really all-time favorite lady players and she's such a doll and she's fun to be around. And of course Fred Funk is a chicken hawk - he's just a great guy.
 
'So again, for me, I can't wait.
 
Sorenstam agreed.
 
For me to be a part of this event, it's pretty cool, she said. I mean, I never really thought I could get invited in the first place, and now I'm going to return for the third year. So I'm excited about that.
 
I love playing with the guys. The Skins format is all-or-nothing, and every hole is like a new match. And for me to have won a few Skins, obviously, has given me some confidence that maybe I can do it again. We have some really great players this year- I mean, Freddie, who everybody loves, and then Tiger, who everybody loves watching, and then Fred Funk and me.
 
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