For Fred Couples, the ‘Boom-Boom’ man of golf, life had, sort of, gone up and down with golf — the graphics of the game to be precise. Add to this a fussy, messy and stressful first marriage, which finally ended in divorce, and you had had the theme song of one’s burden when things go wrong. It was also a dizzy period when Couples wasn’t conscious of what life, in essence, was all about. He had, quite simply, got into a cauldron, and resigned to what is, in effect, Murphy’s Law.
Not anymore. A few grey hair, and some wrinkles around his eyes, Couples looked quite positive. Said he: “I feel like I am on a mission. I enjoy a lot of things now. Most importantly, my home. And, golf, of course. Up until last year, I’d take a week off and never touch a club. Now, I practice a lot harder. I don’t want to slack off. I want to play the best golf I can.” So, what’s the big secret? Nothing out of this world, but just what the good doctor ordered. Couples’ new attitude, and life, was the result of his new love, Twanya. Good for him, and for golf.
When Fred shot 70, two under par, several years ago, at Sugar Creek, his class was never in doubt. He had an amazingly slow and smooth swing. He’d hit the ball over miles. Yes, big time was written all over him. He’s so talented. He’d tee off, on some holes, with his ball sitting on the pine tee marker… with no tee. Or, he’d pick the ball off with a 3-wood or driver without doing harm to the tee marker. Great stuff.
The most amazing thing about Couples’ length was he never looked like he’s trying. He’s in that sense unfocused, and yet focused. He played golf for pure fun, the complete joy of handling the club. Golf was no war, or show of fists for him. His swing exuded supreme skill, balance and timing — strong, but without the pulverising effect. Couples’ greatest strength was his natural rhythm, his ability to see shots. A natural athlete, Couples was a golf addict. That’s something, because he comes from a family addicted to baseball.
Couples turned pro, at age 19. And, destiny was manifest. He won the Los Angeles Open in 1992, and came to Augusta National as the world’s #1. Predictably, he emerged triumphant. And, then the big divide at home began. Fred and Debora were no longer the lovely couple. Couples was in a fix. He could not beat the odds with his mind.
1994 changed all that. Couples and David Love got into the act, and won for the US the World Cup of Golf for the third straight time. Their victory eclipsed a mark achieved by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, who had won WCG twice over a five-year-period. What’s more, Couples also earned his first World Cup individual title… He was now worth it all — of whopping dough by way of endorsements. But, to his credit, Couples shunned both the hype and glare of sport hard sell — the Achillean heel of many celebrity sportsmen.
This more than summed up Couples, and the intensity of his experience. Agreed that Couples was just no older edition of ‘Tiger’ Woods, all right. Yet, he’d rockiness in his mission, a ‘feel’ for better, greater rewards in the game. That’s a visible reality, and also achieveable prospect.
— Photo, Courtesy: GOLF POST