Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couples Hall-Bound; Only 15 PGA Tour Titles, but Worldwide Titles Help Him Get In

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couples Hall-Bound; Only 15 PGA Tour Titles, but Worldwide Titles Help Him Get In

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Fred Couples isn't sure he's a great player.

But he's grateful he's going to be a Hall of Fame player.

Couples, the two-time Players Championship winner and the King of Cool on the PGA Tour, will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine May 6. His election was announced on Wednesday from the East Lake Golf Club, the site of this week's Tour Championship.

Couples received barely more than the minimum required on the PGA Tour ballot (he needed 50 percent of the vote and got 51 percent) and enters with 15 PGA Tour victories - the lowest among players elected off the PGA Tour ballot since Larry Nelson (10) in 2006 and the third-lowest since the Hall of Fame found its permanent home in St. Augustine.

Davis Love III of St. Simons Island, Ga., and Ken Venturi tied for second with 38 percent.

Couples admitted with self-deprecating humor, that his career wasn't up to the standards set by other Hall of Famers including two players he said he admired the most as a young pro, Tom Watson and Raymond Floyd.

"I guess I won a popularity vote," Couples said on a teleconference feed from his home near Los Angeles.

"For everyone who votes for this, I'd like to say I fooled you. For the people who voted for me, I want to say 'thank you.' But for the ones that didn't, I don't think you realized I have over 30 junior wins in Seattle, which may have put me over the top."

Couples said point-blank: "I don't consider myself to be a great player."

"To be in the Hall of Fame, you've got to be a very, very good player," said the 52-year-old. "I'm a good player. This is truly an honor ... and great timing. It will push me to play a couple more years and see how I can play."

Couples, one of the numerous Tour players to come out of the University of Houston, won his first Tour event at the age of 24 in 1983, then won his first Players Championship the following year.

Overpowering most players of his era off the tee with an easy, relaxed swing that resulted in prodigious drives, Couples has gone on to win 50 worldwide titles and this summer won his eighth Champions Tour title at the Senior British Open, when he birdied his last two holes to pull away from a tie with Gary Hallberg. …

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