Sore Hip. Achy back. Gusty winds. Two hour rain delay. For Freddie Couples – no problem.
Couples won the Senior Players Championship at Westchester Country Club Sunday, proving that even at the age of 51, he can still compete, contend and capture victories.
For the man whose silky swing looks as effortless as Jordan’s jump-shot, his major championship win was no stroll across the fairway.
“I was just trying to hold on. I felt like it was a hard day. It’s hard when you’re whatever age and your body just kind of shrinks up and tightens up. Had I not won today, that would not have been an excuse. I’m so used to playing with a stiff body, it’s not the end of the world.”
Despite the toll the tournament had taken on him, Couples thrived down the stretch of a three-hole playoff against his old friend John Cook, who’d let a two-shot lead get away from him on the back-nine.
In the heat of the playoff on the 17th hole, Couples displayed his classic, non-chalant demeanor. With his ball sunk in deep rough, he took a brief glance at the hole, rehearsed a few fluid swings and then punched a 76-yard sand wedge to within two feet of the cup.
For the 1992 Masters Champion, his victory at the Senior Players Championship marked his second career major on the Champions Tour. After the victory, Couples was reminded that he earned a place in the PGA Tour’s Players Championship next season, an event he won in 1984 and 1996. His response:
“That’s great, I’ll get to play with the studs.”
(AP Photo/The Journal News, Peter Carr)