A Preposterous Email Exchange With Fred Couples’ Ex-Girlfriend
By Stephanie Wei under General

Just after 2010 US Senior Open champ Bernhard Langer’s press conference in the media center at Sahalee, I received the most baffling email with the subject “remove my picture” from someone named Julie Barnett. Huh? I couldn’t recall posting any controversial pictures lately.

Turns out it was Fred Couples’ most recent ex-girlfriend, who wasn’t making much sense but seemed very upset. I knew he had a girlfriend last year whose name was Julie (public knowledge), but I didn’t know her last name and don’t recall ever mentioning her (I searched my archives).

Couples showed up at Sahalee last week with his new lady friend. At his press conference on Wednesday, he talked about her. I posted the comments, where he said they’d been dating for four months and described her rigorous workout schedule.

He continued to mention his girlfriend in other interview sessions because he was playing tour guide to her, her mother and a friend from ESPN. Last Thursday he took them for a quick drive-by of Jefferson Park, the course that he grew up playing. They also stopped by Alki and went for a walk on the beach.

Besides a quick mention of some drunks in the gallery checking out Fred’s girlfriend, I focused on his golf. I did notice a little girl that was with his entourage by the clubhouse every day. He would pick her up and play with her. I assumed she was his niece or his girlfriend’s daughter.

As I was fielding these bewildering emails from his ex, I realized SPORTSbyBROOKS had linked to my post on Freddie and his workout-addicted girlfriend. Brooks also had the scoop on the new lady friend.

31-year-old Charlotte resident Amy O’Keefe met Couples at the Quail Hollow Championships four months ago and the two have been inseparable since. O’Keefe, who has a three-year-old daughter, is an avid runner who comes from a wealthy family.

There was a picture of Fred and Julie with an inset picture of Amy’s headshot and an arrow pointing to a blonde lady walking in front of Freddie, whom was incorrectly identified as Amy. So I’m guessing Julie was referencing that picture — but her name wasn’t mentioned. But still, it was nowhere to be seen on my site, which she should have noticed given she must have gone there to find my email. I mean, that seems logical.

Anyway, the whole situation and email thread was so bizarre. Just see for yourself (in chronological order):

From  Julie Barnett <redacted>


Date  Sun, Aug 1, 2010 at 5:00PM

Subject  remove my picture

Hi, just was looking online and would ask that you remove my picture with fred at Augusta. I am julie that dated him for over 14 months and it’s hard enough to move forward with my life, let alone see this online.
hope you can understand that and will take it off.

From Me:
Hi Julie, Sorry to hear that, but I’m afraid I have no idea what picture you’re talking about?

From Julie:
Oh sorry, saw your profile and that you have a sight about fred couples, etc… I clicked to contact you. Do you write articles about fred couples?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

From Me:
Yeah, I have a website that covers golf. I’m at Sahalee this week, so naturally, I’ve written a few articles about him.

From Julie:
Okay, that’s what I thought when I saw the pic from last years Augusta tournament.
I’m just asking that the picture with me and my name be removed, that’s all? Write about him and his life but I would like to be out of it. Most people don’t really ‘know’ him and his lifestyle.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

From Julie:
I’m sure you can get a picture of them together and post that, etc. And a comment from her

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

From Me:
I’m sorry and I sympathize with your situation, but I don’t know what picture you’re talking about? Where’s your name? What’s his lifestyle?

From Julie:
I’m talking about the picture you put with a black arrow at me and an inset pic of amy in the bottom of the pic, talking about her going to the gym twice etc etc and he walks on the treadmill. I’m not allowed to talk about him or his lifestyle, sorry. You know my name, you posted it.
Please I was just asking if you could take it off, if not, just tell me.
Thank you for your time, sorry to bother u while you are working-
Julie Barnett

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

From Me:
Sorry, but you have the wrong website. I haven’t posted a picture or your name…Why aren’t you allowed to talk about him?

From Julie:
Okay sorry to bother you.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Finally. Like I told her, I sympathize with her situation and she seemed like a nice enough lady. The timing was rather interesting. You know, minutes after Fred had been on national TV for four hours. (Woeful Google searching?)

Thing is, according to this site, these pictures were taken by Reuters with the caption:

Former champion Fred Couples (2nd L) walks along a fairway with Julie Barnett (C) following Tiger Woods during third round play at the 2009 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 11, 2009. Couples played in the tournament, but failed to make the cut.

Interesting. I was showing some people in the media room the picture and two people said that the woman in the Nike hat looked like Elin. Maybe it actually was her since they were following Tiger’s group!

Well, there you have it. Don’t you love the internet? What a strange case of mistaken identity. But now I should probably fear the ex tracking me down and stabbing me with an icepick.

[Photo via SPORTSbyBROOKS]