May
23
2011
Couples Withdraws From Senior Major (For Those That Care)
By Stephanie Wei under Champions Tour

Is Freddie stretching or checking out the grass?

Fred Couples pulled out of the Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla due to back problems. Couples, who lost in a playoff at the event last year, has battled an ailing back for years, but has experienced more difficulties this season, causing him to limit his schedule on the PGA and Champions Tours.

The tournament will go on, but unfortunately without two of the biggest draws on the Champions Tour circuit. Bernhard Langer is giving his injured thumb a few more weeks to heal and sent in his regrets last week.

Good news is Blaine McCallister will replace Freddie in the field. Don’t get too excited! And be sure you’re sitting down for this next tidbit…Steve Pate, who turns 50 on Thursday, will make his Champions Tour debut.

Freddie hasn’t had the best year in regard to his health. Not only is he fighting flare-ups to his back, he had 13 skin cancer lesions on both hands removed during a routine visit to his doctor in New York recently, according to Golf Digest‘s Tim Rosaforte.

“I’ve got six on one hand and seven on the other,” Couples told Rosaforte. “She [the doctor] said they were cancerous. It doesn’t mean I’m going to die in three weeks, but I had to get them off now.”

Freddie plans to play next week at the Memorial, along with attending a get-together with prospective Presidents Cup team members. Oh, and what about Dustin Johnson offering Joe LaCava, Freddie’s caddie of twenty-plus years, a permanent job? Freddie has given Joey the go-ahead to work for DJ.

“If I win four times on the Champions Tour, Joe would make more winning with Dustin just once,” he told Rosaforte.

Good man.