Freddys in Tigers Corner - And Its Pure Green
Then came the divorce, and the bad back injury, and there was always this thing about being a little too lackadaisical. Couples became just another good golfer instead of THE golfer. Now 41, he's not all that interested in being No. 1. He has a wife and a couple of kids, and you can let the Tigers do all the winning they want to do, Fred has discovered there's something much more to life than thinking 300-yard drives all the time.
Anyway, it was quite interesting when Couples began to talk Tiger and The Great Tour Controversy. Fred once was in Tiger's position, and it wasn't that long ago.
He began his conversation as Freddy often does, by hemming and hawing and reversing himself at times. Couples does this because nothing is absolute with him. He can see both sides of an issue and everything is a shade of gray. But if you listen to Fred for about five minutes, you realize he really does have something to say. It may not make particularly good sense if you're trying to write down his remarks word for word, but when taken as a whole, his ideas are very good.
'I don't know the context of what he said, but if you look at it, he's benefiting also,' Freddy said of Mr. Woods. 'He can play the PGA Tour for nothing.'
The Tour has been quite heavy-handed with Tiger in the amount of money it charges conflicting events in which Woods plays. Maybe it's because the Tour knows any potential organizer will swallow hard and pay up, however many zeroes the Tour puts at the end of its demand. But Woods is tired of it. And Couples can understand.
'I'm not going to say he made a ridiculous statement and he's way out of line,' said Couples. 'He's bringing the Tour gravy. He's made every tournament he plays in a lot stronger and a lot better. .. but any comment the No. 1 player makes usually takes a beating.'
Tiger being No. 1 and the most influential athlete of any sport, Couples would like to jump ahead 15 years or so and see how this sermon affects the game when Woods is 40. 'I think we are benefiting from Tiger,' he said. 'If he were to say this when he were 40 (in the year 2016), 'Back in 2000, look at what we playing for and then I came along and made golf what it is today,'' that wouldn't be a bad statement,' said Couples.
Freddy led the Tour in earnings if '92 when $1,344,188 was all it took to do such a thing. This year Tiger made more than $9 million, and 33 players made more than Fred did while leading the Tour in '92. Mike Weir, Stewart Cink, Kirk Triplett, David Toms, Steve Flesch, Robert Allenby, Chris DiMarco, Franklin Langham, Steve Lowery . these are some of the guys who topped Freddy's 1992 output.
If tournaments were inflated to Tiger numbers, Couples would have won $5-6 million. As it develops, the $1.3 million he won in that magical year is just chump change now. At 41, he's past the age of winning regularly, but he can see right where the big money is coming from - from the exhaust of Eldrick T. Woods.
'This guy comes along and everyone says it's been ten-fold, what he's done for the PGA Tour,' says Couples. 'I would say that it's been about 10,000-fold. I can only tout the guy. I can't really say, 'Who does he think he is? He makes $80 million a year and he wants more?''
For the record, Fred Couples made $990,000 last year as a part-time, play-it-as-it-comes golfer. That's with NO wins and not really competing for one. The Woods spillover has definitely covered him. But one thing about the spillage - he makes no mistake where it's coming from.
'I hope people don't look at Tiger differently,' he says. 'He's looking out for himself, but he's also making a comment that's well-deserved. I don't think there's a player that would look back and say that if he got $500,000 for a tournament he played in, no one would bat an eye.
'I wish every tournament I played in, Tiger was playing. I look at that comment as not that big a deal to me.'
What do you think of Tiger's Comments? Do you agree with Freddie? Share your thoughts!
Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters
SOTOGRANDE, Spain -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.
Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.
Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.
He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.
''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''
Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.
Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.
Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.
Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?
Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:
Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue
In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.
Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.
“I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”
Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.
A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.
The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.
“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.
Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.
“The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.
It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.
“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”
Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.
For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.
Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”
Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.
It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.
By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.
Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).
While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.
Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.
Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.
S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai
SHANGHAI -- Sei Young Kim led the LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.
Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.
Kim struggled in the first half of the year, but is finishing it strong. She won her seventh career title in July at the Thornberry Creek Classic, was tied for fourth at the Women's British Open, and last month was runner-up at the Evian Championship.
''I made huge big par putts on 10, 11, 12,'' Kim said on Friday. ''I'm very happy with today's play.''
Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.
''I like attention. I like being in the final group. I like having crowds,'' Kang said. ''It's fun. You work hard to be in the final groups and work hard to be in the hunt and be the leader and chasing the leaders. That's why we play.''
She led into the last round at the Hana Bank Championship last week and finished tied for third.
Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).
Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.