‘I don’t know where he’s going with this’: Sergio Garcia has words for Fred Couples

Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Fred Couples

From left, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Fred Couples at the 2021 Ryder Cup.

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Fred Couples has the right to his opinion, Sergio Garcia says, but he should keep it to himself. 

Garcia’s comment, made to Sports Illustrated on Friday, came after Couples called Garcia a clown, one of several jabs he tossed at LIV Golf players earlier this week. In a speech ahead of a PGA Tour Champions event, Couples also roasted Phil Mickelson, Cam Smith and LIV Golf broadcasts. 

Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson
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“It’s what it is,” Garcia told Sports Illustrated at this week’s LIV event in Tucson, Arizona. “It’s disappointing because I don’t know where he’s going with this. But it’s Freddy so he can say whatever he wants and then we can say whatever we want. 

“I think at the end of the day, his life is his life, and my life, in this case, is my life. So, I don’t think he should comment on what me or any of these other guys should have done because we didn’t tell him what he had to do.”

Mickelson, meanwhile, when asked by Sports Illustrated about Couples’ comments, said only: “We’ve been friends for a lot of years.”

Garcia’s and Mickelson’s responses came after Couples unloaded on a few LIV players, according to the Orange County Register:

— He called Mickelson a “nutbag,” but added that he is “probably one of the 10 best players that ever played” and that he still likes him. Couples also singled out his fellow World Golf Hall of Famer in referencing the fact that LIV has paid its players large, guaranteed contracts. 

“If you’re giving Phil Mickelson $200 million at age 52 to shoot 74 and 75, God bless you,” Couples said, according to the Orange County Register.

— He said he was annoyed by “all these other clowns, like Sergio.” 

Vice Captains from L-R, Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk pose for a photo after the United States victory in the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits
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— He was critical of Smith, though called him only “the guy who won the Players Championship and British Open last year.” In explaining his jump to LIV last year, Smith had told Golf Digest: “I’ve lived over here seven years now, and I love living in the U.S., but just little things like missing friends’ weddings, birthday parties, and seeing your mates having a great time at rugby league games has been tough.”

To which Couples said, according to the Orange County Register: “I find that comical, because my favorite to ever play has five kids, 40 grandkids, and he has never missed anything — and that was Jack Nicklaus,” Couples said.

— He also blasted LIV’s broadcasts. The series is now being broadcast on the CW Network, after being shown last year in the U.S. only on YouTube and LIV’s website. 

“It was on the CW a couple weeks ago, or whatever that channel everybody is laughing about,” he said, according to the Orange County Register. “I turned it on three times. It was so bad. I couldn’t even watch anyone that I liked. They don’t show ’em. … Who won the last one? I don’t even know.”

(Charles Howell III won.)

Notably, Couples, Garcia and Mickelson are all expected to be at the Masters in three weeks, and all three are expected to be at the Masters Champions Dinner on the Tuesday ahead of the tournament. On Saturday at the LIV event, Garcia was asked about the latter, along with also being asked about Couples and Rory McIlroy, and recent PGA Tour changes

fred couples
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The questions were biased, so for clarity, here are the complete exchanges. 

Question: “First off, I want to say great round today. We’ve heard recent comments from Fred Couples, and guys like him and Rory McIlroy have been very vocal about this tour. They’ve called it dead in the water. Do you think the sold-out crowds and the pattern we’re seeing, not only for here, but already for Orlando and Adelaide, but do you think they wouldn’t be talking about it if it was dead in the water? Are they just bitter? What are your thoughts on their comments?”

Garcia: “I don’t know. You’d probably have to ask them. I think, at the end of the day, we are where we want to be. We’re happy to be here, and that’s the most important thing for us.

Everyone, what do they say? Everybody has an opinion, the same as the other thing. Obviously everyone is going to talk. At the end of the day, we’re very happy where we are. We love the product. You just have to see what’s going on out here. So just go and ask them.”

Question: “And also with the recent changes that the PGA has made — the only way they wouldn’t be able to see is if they were blind. They’re obviously copying most of the stuff they’re doing here at LIV Golf. Do you think a bunch of the younger guys on tour that don’t make the elevated events will be trying to flock over here every chance that they get here in the near future?”

Garcia: “I don’t know. It’s a good question. I guess we’ll wait and see, but not anybody can get in here. You have to be a great player and a big supporter and believe in what’s going on here.

I’m not going to lie. I’m happy about what’s happening on the PGA Tour because I have a lot of friends there and they deserve to get everything that they’re getting, and I’m happy for them. The same way that they’re happy that I’m here and doing what we’re doing. So I guess we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Question: “You talked about the guys on the PGA Tour. In a few more weeks, there will be a dinner. What kind of do you expect? Do you think it might be — I know guys are still friends, but could there be some awkwardness?”

Garcia: “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask whoever is going to feel awkward. I’m going to feel fine. I don’t have any problems with anyone, and I try not to make a big deal out of it. I’m going to be there because I earned it, because I deserve it, and I’m going to enjoy it. I hope the rest of the guys do the same.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.