Why Fred Couples is (still) a fan and player favorite at the Presidents Cup
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fred Couples has long been considered one of the coolest figures in golf. His demeanor is as smooth as his legendary swing. This week Couples takes his swag inside the U.S. locker room as a vice captain for Davis Love III at the Presidents Cup. At 62 years old, Couples is still a fan and player favorite.
Couples played in four Presidents Cups and captained three U.S. teams, winning in 2009, 2011 and 2013. This is his fourth stint as an assistant captain. He knows the drill.
He can’t go anywhere without fans yelling his name. No matter what U.S. pod he’s following, it’s all smiles and laughs. The impact of his presence is hard to quantify. There are no analytics to summarize the intangibles Couples brings to the table.
Not long ago he shared a story about pranking Tiger Woods while serving as U.S. captain at the ’09 Presidents Cup. Only a few people in the world can get away with playing a prank on Tiger, and “Boom Boom” is one of them. His sense of humor and ability to keep the best golfers in the world loose continues to make him a mainstay during International events.
“I personally vote Fred Couples on every team until he dies,” said Justin Thomas. “I mean, he’s just the greatest. He’s the best. He just is so funny to be around. He will shoot you straight.”
During team events, it’s important to keep emotions under check. Few, if any, exemplify calm as well as Couples.
“Freddie never stresses out,” said Tony Finau. “He’s exactly as you see him. He’s chill and super funny. I probably can’t share a lot of the things he says to us. He brings great energy and he’s a great guy to be around. I love having him as a vice captain.”
Even young players who have known Couples for only a few years, like Collin Morikawa, feel a strong connection to him.
“He keeps getting asked back because he’s amazing,” said Morikawa. “I didn’t meet him until the ’21 Ryder Cup. He’s just the most laid-back, great guy. There are a million stories he can tell. I’m not saying the other captains don’t have stories, but he has a million and one great ones. He keeps the flow and vibe of the team going.”
Steve Stricker, who is also serving as a vice captain at the ’22 Presidents Cup, had Couples on his staff when he was captain at the ’19 Presidents Cup and ’21 Ryder Cup.
“We all want to be like Fred Couples,” Stricker said. “We all love being around Freddie. … He’s very insightful and knows the players well. The guys gravitate toward him. We all do. He’s a great guy to have in the team room. He brings a tremendous amount of positive energy. That’s why he continues to be part of these teams.”
Earlier this week, a few members of the U.S. team were practicing around the 18th green when Couples drove a cart by them, cracked a joke and sped away. The all laughed as Couples, flashing a peace sign to a reporter perched up on the 1st tee area, disappeared. But he’ll be back for another day to keep the good U.S. vibes rolling, and forever if Justin Thomas has his way.