Couples reveals 'dumbest' and 'greatest' decision

By Randall MellMay 6, 2013, 9:12 pm

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Fred Couples didn’t make his father very happy turning pro on a whim without telling his parents.

When Couples didn’t show up for the start of his senior year at the University of Houston after losing in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur, his parents learned he was in Southern California, staying with family friends.

Couples impulsively turned pro while visiting those friends so he could play the Queen Mary Open, a regional professional event at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, Calif. He called his parents after the event to relay the news.

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“I said, 'Hey, Dad, I just made $1,800,' and he hung up on me,” Couples said.

Couples tied for eighth with Mark O’Meara, who also had just turned pro.

While Couples said he didn’t really think the monumental decision through, he looks back at it as a turning point that led him to Monday’s World Golf Hall of Fame induction at the World Golf Village.

“I thought maybe I could sign my name on that [Queen Mary Open registration] and still go to school,” Couples said. “I don't really know what I did. That's the truth.”

In one of his classic Freddie stories, Couples delighted media telling how this all came about because he got bored visiting those family friends and asked if there was a local course he could play. They dropped him off at El Dorado, but the course was closed for the Queen Mary Open. Couples said he was invited by a guy he met in the pro shop (Larry Benson) to play with his group. There was a hitch, though. Couples had to turn pro to do so.

“The next morning I drove back to the course and turned pro,” Couples said. “Why, I have no idea.

“At that time, I didn't have a manager, or an agent, or a lawyer, or a chef, or a masseuse, or a trainer, or a cell phone, or anyone to call. I made what was probably, at the time, the dumbest decision I ever made. Turned out to be the greatest decision.”

Couples told how he was so clueless when he turned pro that he didn’t know registration for PGA Tour school was days away from closing. A friend, Tom Lamore, told him he had two days to get his application postmarked.

“A, I didn't know what 'postmarked' meant,” Couples cracked. “B, I had already borrowed $200 to enter the Queen Mary Open. I borrowed $500 from Tom Lamore's uncle.

“I went to the regional, qualified. I went to Fresno and qualified, and then two months later I was on the PGA Tour.”

And the rest is history.

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Key stats from Woods' historic win at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:47 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career PGA Tour title on Sunday with a two-stroke victory at the Tour Championship. Here are the key stats from the final round at East Lake.

• 80th career PGA Tour win; first since 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

• Two wins behind Sam Snead for most in PGA Tour history

• Snead was 47 years old when he won his 80th career PGA Tour title (Woods is 42)

• 43-for-45 converting outright 54-hole leads in PGA Tour career

• 24-for-24 converting 54-hole leads of three or more shots

• First win in 1,876 days; 118 players won on PGA Tour between Woods' wins

• Third career Tour Championship victory (most all-time)

• Has won Tour Championship in three different decades (1999, 2007, 2018)

• Fifth PGA Tour event won in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s)

• Projected to move to 13th in World Ranking with victory

• Was ranked 1,199 before beginning of 2017 Hero World Challenge

• Snead won 11 times after turning 43 (Woods turns 43 in December)

• Eighth PGA Tour win in Georgia; fourth-most of any state (Fla., Calif., Ohio)

• Extended lead to four strokes with birdie on first hole of round

• Second in field in strokes gained: putting this week

• First in field in scrambling this week (17-for-24)

• Finished second in FedExCup; was making first Tour Championship start since 2013

• Led field in one-putt percentage this week (51.4%)

• Finishes season first on PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)

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Rose captures FedExCup, $10 million

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

ATLANTA – Like the “Price is Right” big wheel, $10 million spun around and around on Sunday, waiting to land on someone. It rolled past Dustin Johnson, looked like it was going to settle on Tiger Woods, and then made a final tick to rest on an ecstatic Justin Rose.

Rose won the FedExCup title on Sunday at the Tour Championship, two-putting for birdie on the par-5 18th to secure the big bonus. Woods, who won the tournament, finished second, with Bryson DeChambeau third.

Rose entered the final round as the projected winner, tied for second in the event, three shots back of Woods. However, it was a struggle from the start for the – now former – world No. 1. Rose made four bogeys and one birdie over his first 15 holes, and when he bogeyed the par-4 16th, the scenario became clear: Play the last two in 1 under or lose the cup.

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Johnson had an outside shot at claiming the $10 million, but parred the last. He finished in solo third place, four back of Woods.

Woods, meanwhile, was in command of the tournament from the start on Sunday. He played steadily, for the most part, and no one provided a challenge. In order to win the cup, he needed to win the event – which was close to a lock all day – and Rose needed to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or worse.

So, here he was, Rose, tied for SIXTH place on the 18th hole. A birdie and he’d jump into a three-way tie for fourth – as well as into a mountain of cash.

Rose hit the par-5 18th in two and successfully two-putted to clinch the cup. He didn’t win a playoff event, but his MC-2-2-T4 results were good enough, points wise, to capture the season-long race.

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Social media explodes over Tiger's 80th win

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

After a five-year hiatus, Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the winner's circle on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

As evidenced by a quick look at social media, Woods' win set the golf world on fire, with everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Michelle Wie sending their congratulations to the 42-year-old.

Here are the best reactions from a wild Sunday at East Lake, where Woods claimed PGA Tour victory No. 80:

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Highlights: Tiger's final round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:40 pm

Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday by two strokes. Here are the highlights from the final round.

Woods got off to a great start with a birdie on No. 1.

He then made eight straight pars to close out the front nine in 1 under par. Woods started the back nine with a bogey at 10, but he rebounded with this birdie at No. 13.

Woods leaked some oil coming in with bogeys at 15 and 16, but this par putt on 17 gave him a crucial two-stroke lead heading to 18.

For the fourth straight day, Woods smoked his drive on 18.

A huge gallery followed Woods up the 18th hole.

Woods missed his birdie putt on 18, but it was an easy par for a two-stroke victory and win No. 80.