Fred Couples

Fred Couples

Couples in July 2008
Personal information
Full name Frederick Steven Couples
Nickname Boom Boom
Born (1959-10-03) October 3, 1959
Seattle, Washington
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
Nationality  United States
Residence Newport Beach, California
Spouse Deborah Couples
(m. 1981–1993)
Thais Baker
(m. 1998–2009)
College University of Houston
Turned professional 1980
Current tour(s) PGA Tour (joined 1982)
Champions Tour (joined 2010)
Professional wins 63
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 15
European Tour 3
PGA Tour Champions 11
Other 35
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters Tournament Won: 1992
U.S. Open T3: 1991
The Open Championship T3: 1991, 2005
PGA Championship 2nd: 1990
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2013 (member page)
PGA Tour
Player of the Year
1991, 1992
PGA Player of the Year 1992
Vardon Trophy 1991, 1992
Byron Nelson Award 1991, 1992
PGA Tour
leading money winner
Byron Nelson Award
(Champions Tour)
2010, 2012, 2013

Frederick Steven Couples (born October 3, 1959) is an American professional golfer who competes on the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour. A former World No. 1, he has won 57 professional tournaments, most notably the 1992 Masters Tournament.[1] In August 2011 he won his maiden senior major at the Senior Players Championship and followed this up in July 2012 when he won the Senior British Open Championship. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.[2] Because of his long drives, Couples has been given the nickname "Boom Boom".

Early years and education

Couples was born in Seattle, Washington, to Tom and Violet (Sobich) Couples. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Italy and changed the family name from "Coppola" to "Couples" to make it sound less ethnic,[3] and his mother was of Croatian descent.[4][5] His father was a groundskeeper for the Seattle Parks Department and the family, which included brother Tom, Jr., and sister Cindy, lived in a modest house on Beacon Hill near the city's Jefferson Park golf course,[6] where Couples developed his signature loose, rhythmic swing in order to gain enough distance to keep up with the older children.

Couples attended O'Dea High School in Seattle and graduated in 1977. He accepted a golf scholarship to the University of Houston. As a member of the Houston Cougars men's golf team, he roomed with Blaine McCallister, another future PGA Tour player, and future CBS television broadcaster Jim Nantz.

Professional career

PGA Tour

Couples' first PGA Tour victory came at the 1983 Kemper Open. Playing in the final group with Scott Simpson and Chen Tze-chung, the three golfers finished over one hour after the previous group on the golf course. In spite of rounds of 77, 76 and 77, Couples, Simpson and Chen finished tied for first along with Gil Morgan and Barry Jaeckel who had finished their rounds several hours earlier. Jaeckel, who spent time in a bar waiting for regulation play to conclude, was eliminated on the first playoff hole after hitting a wild tee shot.[7] On the second hole, Couples scored a birdie to take home the title.[8]

In addition to his Kemper Open win, Couples won another fourteen PGA Tour titles. Among them were two Players Championships (in 1984 and 1996) and one major victory, the 1992 Masters Tournament.

Couples was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year twice, in 1991 and 1992. He also won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average in each of those years. He has been named to the United States Ryder Cup team five times, in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997.

In 1992, Couples became the first American player to reach the number one position in the Official World Golf Rankings (since the World Ranking points system debuted in April 1986). He spent 16 weeks at number 1, after one of the hottest ever starts to a season by a PGA Tour player. Beginning with the Nissan Los Angeles Open, where he defeated Davis Love III in a playoff, Couples won two tournaments and finished second in two others in the five weeks leading up to The Masters. At Augusta, Couples carried over his momentum, shooting in the 60s in each of the first three rounds to hold second place heading into Sunday. After a shaky start to his final round that allowed 49-year-old Raymond Floyd to claim the lead, Couples took it back with 18- and 20-foot birdie putts at the 8th and 9th holes, respectively, then saved par on a slick 6-footer at 10. At 12 (perhaps the scariest par-3 in the world), Couples barely cleared Rae's Creek in front of the green. Although his ball rolled back towards the water, it incredibly remained on the bank and he saved par. Sensing that destiny was on his side, Couples held off Floyd the rest of the way, completing Augusta's treacherous back nine with eight pars and one birdie to win his first Major. The win pushed Couples past the $1 million mark in earnings on the season as well, by far the fastest any player had reached that plateau.

Couples is sometimes called "Mr. Skins" because of his dominance in the Skins Game. He has won the event five times (in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2004), accumulating US$3,515,000 and 77 skins in 11 appearances. Because of his dominance at the Skins and other off-season events like the Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship, Couples is also known as the "King of the Silly Season," referring to the exotic made-for-TV events staged in the winter that are better known as the "silly season". Couples was frequently accused of "choking" in his early career, with mistakes in the 1989 Ryder Cup and the 1990 PGA Championship at Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club often mentioned.

Couples has nine top-10 finishes in the Open Championship, including tying for third in 1991 at Royal Birkdale, shooting a last round 64, and again tying for third in 2005 at St Andrews.

Back injuries have affected Couples' career. His swing features an extreme shoulder turn at the top, which, combined with the fact that he keeps his left foot flat on the ground throughout the backswing, puts a lot of pressure on his lower back. However, with an abbreviated schedule, Couples is still one of the best players on Tour. In 2003, at age 44, Couples finished 34th on the PGA Tour money list. That year he also won the Shell Houston Open, his first win in five years; Couples wept with joy after the win, but quickly explained the tears, saying: "I'm always emotional when nice things happen to nice people."

In April 2006, Couples challenged at Augusta, making a Sunday run at what would have been his second green jacket before finally losing to eventual winner Phil Mickelson, with whom he was paired in the final round. Had Couples won, he would have been the oldest player ever to win the Masters at age 46 years, 188 days—supplanting Jack Nicklaus, who, coincidentally, won his final Masters 20 years earlier and also at the age of 46. His competitiveness in the tournament was an encouraging sign for his career. "I didn't hit the ball like I was 46," Couples said.

Couples' part in the USA 1993 Dunhill Cup win included victory in all five of his matches, and his overall record reads: played 16, won 12, lost 4. In 2004, Couples won the Dunhill Links Championship Team Event at St Andrews, partnered by New Zealand amateur Craig Heatley.

In 2005 Couples sank a crucial putt in the Presidents Cup, securing an unlikely 1-up victory over the International team's best player, Vijay Singh. This match proved to be pivotal in the contest. Couples has now played Singh three times in Presidents Cup match play, and has yet to lose.

Couples at the 2009 Telus World Skins Game in Lévis, Quebec

Couples was sidelined for virtually the entire 2007 season because of health problems. However, he did compete in the 2007 Masters, making the cut for the 23rd consecutive time, tying the record held by Gary Player. Couples missed the cut in 2008 and 2009.

In 2009, Couples limited his play but performed impressively at the Northern Trust Open. If it wasn't for Phil Mickelson shooting a 62 on that Saturday, Couples may have won instead of finishing third. He nearly won the Shell Houston Open but bogeyed the last three holes and finished third behind Paul Casey. He also played well at the HP Byron Nelson Championship (T8) and the AT&T National (T11) tournaments. He hurt his back practicing for the RBC Canadian Open and had to withdraw. But he rested and recovered and made the cut for the 2009 PGA Championship (T36) and performed successfully in the Wyndham Championship (T5) which put him past the $1,000,000 mark on the money list for the 7th time in his career.

Couples was named as 2009 Presidents Cup captain for the United States team on February 26, 2008, and led the United States team to a decisive victory.

Couples tied with Jason Dufner after leading the second round of the 2012 Masters Tournament, looking to become the oldest person to win a major. He finished tied for 12th.

He is one of the few professional golfers who never plays with a glove.

Champions Tour

Couples made his debut on the Champions Tour at the opening event of the 2010 season, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii.[9] He nearly won the tournament, finishing second to Tom Watson. Despite the loss, Couples stated, "I had a wonderful time. I think I was 21 under par and didn't win a tournament. That hasn't happened too many times." Had he won, he would have become the 16th player to win his Champions Tour debut. He won his next three starts, The ACE Group Classic, the Toshiba Classic and the Cap Cana Championship, becoming the first player in Champions Tour history to win three of his first four career events. Couples made another run at the 2010 Masters Tournament but finished 6th. It was his 26th top ten finish in a major tournament.

He finished second in the 2010 Senior PGA Championship. Later in the same year he finished runner-up to Bernhard Langer in the U.S. Senior Open. Couples had a one shot lead after 55 holes, but disaster struck on the par 5 2nd hole. He decided to lay up rather than going for the green. His lay up shot was effective, but his 3rd shot landed in the water. After dropping 4, his 5th shot was driven over the green. He finished the hole with a triple bogey; his one shot lead became a 3 shot deficit. He played solidly for the rest of the round, but could not catch up to Langer.

Couples earned a 4th win at the Administaff Small Business Classic. On Sunday, he was grouped with Corey Pavin and Mark Wiebe and soared past them and the rest of the field shooting a 9 under 63, with 29 on the back nine. Couples won the Champions Tour Rookie of the Year award in 2010.

Couples was sidelined once again for most of the 2011 season because of his stubborn back problems. But after receiving treatment in Germany, he was able to come back. He won his first major tournament on the senior circuit by defeating John Cook, on the third hole of a sudden death play-off, capturing the Senior Players Championship.

In July 2012, Couples won his second senior major championship when he won The Senior Open Championship at Turnberry. He came from a stroke back to win by two over Gary Hallberg. He made a 25-foot putt for birdie on the last hole to hold off Hallberg, for a round of three under 68 on Sunday. This was his eighth victory in total on the Champions Tour.

In 2016, Couples was forced to forgo the Masters Tournament for the first time since 1994, citing ongoing back problems, which have plagued him throughout his career.[10]

Other ventures

Couples co-designs golf courses with his design partner, Gene D. Bates. This venture, beginning in 1992 has resulted in the formation of Couples Bates Golf Design firm (Now Bates Golf Design Group), and over 20 award winning championship golf courses worldwide.[11]

Couples currently takes the supplement Anatabloc and is a brand ambassador for the anti-inflammatory neutraceutical containing anatabine. He wears the brand logo on his left arm of his golf shirts.

Personal life

Couples' marriage to his first wife Deborah ended in 1992. They had met as students at the University of Houston in 1979. The divorce was finalized in 1993, and she later fell to her death in May 2001, ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles City coroner's office.[12] Couples' estranged second wife, Thais Baker, died from breast cancer on February 17, 2009. They had married in 1998 and the union was childless.

Couples currently resides in Newport Beach, California.

Couples, a self-proclaimed "Sports Junkie," is a member of the Seattle Seahawks 12th Man. He raised the 12th Man flag prior to the Seahawks Monday Night Football game against the New Orleans Saints on December 2, 2013.[13]


Professional wins (63)

PGA Tour wins (15)

Major championships (1)
Players Championships (2)
Other PGA Tour (12)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
1 Jun 5, 1983 Kemper Open 71-71-68-77=287 −1 Playoff Taiwan Chen Tze-chung, United States Barry Jaeckel,
United States Gil Morgan, United States Scott Simpson
2 Apr 1, 1984 Tournament Players Championship 71-64-71-71=277 −11 1 stroke United States Lee Trevino
3 May 10, 1987 Byron Nelson Golf Classic 65-67-64-70=266 −14 Playoff United States Mark Calcavecchia
4 Feb 25, 1990 Nissan Los Angeles Open 68-67-62-69=266 −18 3 strokes United States Gil Morgan
5 Jun 30, 1991 Federal Express St. Jude Classic 68-67-66-68=269 −15 3 strokes United States Rick Fehr
6 Sep 22, 1991 B.C. Open 66-67-68-68=269 −15 3 strokes United States Peter Jacobsen
7 Mar 1, 1992 Nissan Los Angeles Open 68-67-64-70=269 −15 Playoff United States Davis Love III
8 Mar 22, 1992 Nestle Invitational 67-69-63-70=269 −19 9 strokes United States Gene Sauers
9 Apr 12, 1992 Masters Tournament 69-67-69-70=275 −13 2 strokes United States Raymond Floyd
10 Mar 14, 1993 Honda Classic* 64-73-70=207 −9 Playoff United States Robert Gamez
11 Aug 7, 1994 Buick Open 72-65-65-68=270 −18 2 strokes United States Corey Pavin
12 Mar 31, 1996 The Players Championship 66-72-68-64=270 −18 4 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie, United States Tommy Tolles
13 Jan 18, 1998 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic 64-70-66-66-66=332 −28 Playoff United States Bruce Lietzke
14 May 31, 1998 Memorial Tournament 68-67-67-69=271 −17 4 strokes United States Andrew Magee
15 Apr 27, 2003 Shell Houston Open 65-68-67-67=267 −21 4 strokes Australia Stuart Appleby, United States Mark Calcavecchia,
United States Hank Kuehne

* Note: The 1993 Honda Classic was shortened to 54 holes due to inclement weather.

PGA Tour playoff record (5–4)

1 1983 Kemper Open Taiwan Chen Tze-chung, United States Barry Jaeckel,
United States Gil Morgan, United States Scott Simpson
Won with birdie on second extra hole
Jaeckel eliminated with par on first hole
2 1986 Western Open South Africa David Frost, United States Tom Kite, Zimbabwe Nick Price Kite won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1987 Byron Nelson Golf Classic United States Mark Calcavecchia Won with par on third extra hole
4 1988 Phoenix Open Scotland Sandy Lyle Lost to bogey on third extra hole
5 1992 Nissan Los Angeles Open United States Davis Love III Won with birdie on second extra hole
6 1992 Honda Classic United States Corey Pavin Lost to birdie on second extra hole
7 1993 Honda Classic United States Robert Gamez Won with par on second extra hole
8 1994 Mercedes Championship United States Phil Mickelson Lost to par on second extra hole
9 1998 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic United States Bruce Lietzke Won with birdie on first extra hole

European Tour wins (3)

Major championships (1)
Other European Tour (2)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
1 Apr 12, 1992 Masters Tournament 69-67-69-70=275 −13 2 strokes United States Raymond Floyd
2 Jan 22, 1995 Dubai Desert Classic 65-69-68-66=268 −20 3 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie
3 Jan 29, 1995 Johnnie Walker Classic 72-67-67-71=277 −11 2 strokes Zimbabwe Nick Price

Other wins (36)

Champions Tour wins (11)

Senior major championships (2)
Other Champions Tour (9)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin
of victory
1 Feb 14, 2010 The ACE Group Classic 68-67-64=199 −17 1 stroke United States Tommy Armour III
2 Mar 7, 2010 Toshiba Classic 66-64-65=195 −18 4 strokes United States Ronnie Black
3 Mar 28, 2010 Cap Cana Championship 67-66-62=195 −21 2 strokes United States Corey Pavin
4 Oct 24, 2010 Administaff Small Business Classic 71-65-63=199 −17 7 strokes United States Mark Wiebe
5 Aug 20, 2011 Senior Players Championship 68-66-68-71=273 −11 Playoff United States John Cook
6 Oct 16, 2011 AT&T Championship 65-62-66=193 −23 7 strokes United States Mark Calcavecchia
7 Mar 25, 2012 Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic 63-70-69=202 −14 1 stroke United States Michael Allen
8 Jul 29, 2012 The Senior Open Championship 72-68-64-67=271 −9 2 strokes United States Gary Hallberg
9 Nov 3, 2013 Charles Schwab Cup Championship 65-65-68-69=267 −17 6 strokes Germany Bernhard Langer, United States Mark O'Meara,
Australia Peter Senior
10 Mar 16, 2014 Toshiba Classic 65-67-66=198 −15 1 stroke Germany Bernhard Langer, Scotland Colin Montgomerie,
United States Steve Pate
11 Aug 31, 2014 Shaw Charity Classic 68-66-61=195 −15 Playoff United States Billy Andrade

Champions Tour playoff record (2–1)

1 2010 Senior PGA Championship South Africa David Frost, United States Tom Lehman Lehman won with par on first extra hole
2 2011 Senior Players Championship United States John Cook Won with birdie on third extra hole
3 2014 Shaw Charity Classic United States Billy Andrade Won with birdie on first extra hole

Major championships

Wins (1)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMargin
of victory
1992 Masters Tournament 1 shot deficit −13 (69-67-69-70=275) 2 strokes United States Raymond Floyd

Results timeline

Tournament 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP T32 10 T10 T31 DNP T5 T11
U.S. Open T48 LA DNP DNP CUT CUT T9 T39 DNP T46 T10 T21
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4 DNP T46 T40 T4 T6
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP T3 T23 T20 T6 T36 CUT CUT CUT
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament 5 T35 1 T21 DNP T10 T15 T7 T2 T27
U.S. Open CUT T3 T17 T16 T16 CUT DNP T52 T53 CUT
The Open Championship T25 T3 CUT T9 DNP DNP T7 T7 T66 DNP
PGA Championship 2 T27 T21 T31 T39 T31 T41 T29 T13 T26
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament T11 26 T36 T28 T6 T39 T3 T30 CUT CUT
The Open Championship 6 CUT DNP T46 DNP T3 CUT DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship CUT T37 DNP T34 DNP T70 CUT DNP CUT T36
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Masters Tournament 6 T15 T12 T13 T20 CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP T32 DNP DNP

LA = Low amateur
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 1 1 1 5 11 19 31 28
U.S. Open 0 0 1 1 3 9 23 16
The Open Championship 0 0 2 4 9 10 18 15
PGA Championship 0 1 1 2 3 7 25 19
Totals 1 2 5 12 26 45 97 78

Senior major championships

Wins (2)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMargin
of victory
2011 Senior Players Championship 1 shot lead −11 (68-66-68-71=273) Playoff 1 United States John Cook
2012 The Senior Open Championship 1 shot deficit −9 (72-68-64-67=271) 2 strokes United States Gary Hallberg

1 Defeated John Cook in sudden-death playoff with birdie on the third extra hole.

Senior results timeline

Results not in chronological order before 2014.

Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
The Tradition DNP T63 4 2 DQ DNP
Senior PGA Championship T2 DNP T12 DNP DNP DNP
Senior Players Championship WD 1 T4 T2 DNP DNP
U.S. Senior Open 2 DNP T12 T14 DNP DNP
The Senior Open Championship DNP DNP 1 T21 T13 T5

DNP = Did not play
DQ = Disqualified
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

U.S. national team appearances

See also


  1. "Past Winners & Results". Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  2. "Couples to be inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame". World Golf Hall of Fame. September 19, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  3. Kugiya, Hugo (July 20, 1997). "The Couples Conundrum – Now In His 17Th Year As A Pro, Fred Couples Returns Home For A Tournament, Seemingly Comfortable Finishing In The Middle Of The Pack". The Seattle Times. pp. 12–19. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  4. "Fred Couples". Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  5. "35 Pacific Northwest Croatian Athletes". Croatian Chronicle Network. February 7, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  6. Kugiya, Hugo (July 20, 1997). "The Couples Conundrum". Seattle Times. (Pacific Magazine). p. 12. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  7. "Kemper Open replay unlikely". The Courier. Prescott, Arizona. UPI. May 31, 1984. p. 13B. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  8. "Couples claims Kemper in sudden death". The Ledger. Lakeland, Florida. June 6, 1983. p. 3D. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  9. "Couples, Pavin set for official Champions Tour debut". Champions Tour. January 8, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  10. Inglis, Martin (April 4, 2016). "Fred Couples OUT of Augusta action". bunkered.
  11. "Bates Golf Group". Bates Golf Design Group. June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  12. Van Sickle, Gary (June 11, 2001). "Notebook: Deborah Couples's Suicide – Unhappy Ending". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
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