Happy Couples; Fred Has Cornered the Market in His Laid Back Approach to Life and Love

By Stenson, Tony | The Mirror (London, England), December 9, 1996 | Go to article overview

Happy Couples; Fred Has Cornered the Market in His Laid Back Approach to Life and Love


Stenson, Tony, The Mirror (London, England)


Fred Couples once revealed he refused to answer the phone - "in case there was someone on the other end."

In fact, it was President Bush trying to get through at the time to offer his best wishes.

These days Couples is better. Not much, but better.

And America's favourite golfer has been taking a lot of calls lately as pals have been ringing to offer congratulations on his dramatic return to form.

Couples, drowning in a sea of indifference a while back, has emerged into the sunlight again.

And his rise in the world rankings has been dramatic. Now he is nudging Greg Norman, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo at the top, when at one stage he was disappearing faster than Seve Ballesteros.

Couples achieved his final leap by finishing one shot off winner Paul Stankowski in last month's Kapalua International golf tournament.

"It was fun, coming close," Couples said afterwards. "The good thing was I drove the ball well. But I didn't make the putts. The better guy won, but I felt like I did all right."

What Couples forgot to mention is that Stankowski had started the final day at 16 under par and needed only to play par golf to win.

But it's typical of him - rather than praise himself, Couples goes for the other guy.

He recognises the achievements in others and the weaknesses in himself, and there is no big deal made about either.

For some golfers, a dip in victories would signal panic. But Couples gives every impression of being more laid back. And golf folk love him for it.

In fact, a vox pop of golfers world wide would easily place Couples top of the list of golfers they would like as a playing partner.

Couples has cornered the market on the kind of laid back approach to life, love and the universe, that people across America pay fortunes to shrinks to achieve.

He is mom's apple pie, the regular, laid back, rocking-chair neighbour.

"Actually," he says, "I do get edgy." As coffee spills from your cup in disbelief, he adds: "I get edgy when I think people kind of invade my space. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I get scared to be around people every single day.

"I like to stay with my friends in case I say something I wished I hadn't.

"If you say you never go out and eat, then they think you are a recluse, and if you say you like going out to a party, then they think you're a drunk.

"I don't go out much and don't drink, so there's not a whole lot to talk about - except I like all sports and like to hang out at home. …

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