It's been nearly two months since he was passed over for the 2016 Ryder Cup captaincy, but for Fred Couples the wounds still appear to be rather fresh.
Couples is in Dubai this week, captaining a group of former American sports stars in the inaugural Icons Cup. The event is styled after the Ryder Cup, with the U.S. facing a "rest of the world" team captained by Darren Clarke, and Couples admitted Wednesday that he took the gig thinking there was a good chance he would be leading the Americans against Clarke's European team at Hazeltine next year.
"When we agreed to this, I thought Darren had a 75 percent chance of becoming the European Ryder Cup captain, and I thought I was more than 50 (percent)," Couples told Sport360. "As it turns out, he is 100 percent the guy and I am zero."
Couples played in five Ryder Cups from 1989-1997, compiling a 7-9-4 individual record, and he captained the U.S. to three straight victories in the Presidents Cup from 2009-2013. He was bypassed by the PGA of America's task force in favor of his friend Davis Love III, who captained a U.S. Ryder Cup loss at Medinah in 2012 and will have another chance next year in Minnesota.
"To be honest, it is disappointing," Couples said. "But they picked a great guy in Davis, and my time might be the next one."
While Couples remained somewhat coy about his candidacy in the early stages of the 2016 race, he is now open about his desire to lead the American squad at the 2018 matches at Le Golf National in Paris.
"I am put off by not getting it this time," he said. "But having said that, if they ask me for 2018, I will certainly jump at it and accept it."