‘My dad on Tour’: Tiger Woods opens up on special Fred Couples bond

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Tiger Woods and Fred Couples (pictured here in 2019) play a practice round together every year at the Masters.
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Tiger Woods elaborated on a number of topics in the inaugural episode of Bridgestone’s “Another Golf Podcast”: the golf skill he struggles with, thoughts on Rory McIlroy’s resurgence and the most important thing in your golf bag.
But he also went deep on his relationship with Fred Couples, sharing the story of how he was glued to the television when Couples won his 14th career title on the PGA Tour Champions at the SAS Championship in October.
“[Couples] stuffed on on 18. Joey [LaCava] and I were going back and forth on texts. And he says, ‘Where the hell was that 30 years ago?” Woods said with a laugh. “He made every putt, shoots 60, he broke his age by three years.
“It was just a special day and a special win for him. He hadn’t won in a few years. We all know, it’s all been documented how bad his back’s been his entire career. So just for him to experience that one more time at that age.”
Woods then explained that Couples has been a big part of his life since Woods played his first practice round at Augusta National alongside Couples and Ray Floyd.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have him as basically my dad on Tour,” Woods said of Couples. “Freddie all the sudden became my buddy on Tour when I first came out, took me under his wing. The ’97 Ryder Cup was it. And then like every year forward, I always played every practice round at Augusta with either [Mark] O’Meara or Fred. And then it’s been Fred pretty much I think the last 15 years.”
Woods said that when he joined the Tour at 20 years old, he was a “lone wolf.” There weren’t many young players then the way there are now. But Woods appreciated Couples’ availability for practice rounds and dinners on the road.
“Even if we were playing the opposite way, [Couples] would say, ‘Leave from the golf course, I’ll meet you at the restaurant,” Woods said. “He and Joey were there, and both of them took me under their wings. It was fun to pick his brain about how the Tour works.”
For more from Woods, including his strategy for Saturday’s Match, check out the full podcast episode here.

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