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Couples Hopes for Successful 2014 Campaign
Fred Couples really enjoyed his victory Sunday in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Though carding his high round of the tournament, a 2-under 69, the 54-year-old from Seattle still cruised, finishing at 17-under 267 for a six-stroke triumph over Bernhard Langer, Peter Senior and Mark O'Meara.
Finishing atop the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points' race was Kenny Perry, who ended up tied for fifth place Sunday, seven shots behind Couples. Thanks to three titles - including two major championships - on the season, the 53-year-old Kentuckian concluded the season 412 points ahead of Langer and took home the $1 million annuity that goes to the overall Cup winner.
After accepting the winner's check of $440,000, Couples expressed how he felt about his first victory since the Senior British Open in July 2012. "It's great to win. It seems like four years ago," he said in reference to his title at Turnberry in Scotland. "Now I have 60 days to lose all my momentum."
Couples only played 15 tournaments on the Champions Tour this year due to various problems with his chronic bad back as well as the time devoted as captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team (they won by a score of 18½ to 15½ at Muirfield Village in Ohio, the third straight time a Couples-led American squad won the biennial Ryder Cup-style competition).
But Couples hopes he can play more, or at least consistently better, in 2014 and have a stab at duplicating Perry's feat. "This tour, to win the Schwab Cup, I'll play a lot and I hope to play well," Couples said Sunday. "I'd like to have the kind of year Kenny had. The goal is to win the Cup. The goal is to play.
"This year, I wouldn't call it a waste, but it was a waste as far as not winning," he added. "This week was different. I did not miss many shots. I got the lead and I kept it. I'm not a fierce competitor, but I love the competition. Just winning, even if it's a club championship, you're thrilled."
The Champions Tour and its members - including Perry -would certainly like to have the popular Couples entered in more events in 2014. "Everybody likes Fred Couples," Perry said Sunday. "He's so laid-back. It's funny how his personality just really brings everybody to him. He's really a neat guy, and people can relate to Fred Couples."
"I don't usually set many goals, because on the regular tour they're so darn hard that the goal is to win. Out here it is to win the Schwab Cup, and I think that's doable if I play a lot and play well," Couples said.
"You know, we'll find out," Couples contemplated aloud about playing more next year. "The Schwab Cup is never my goal, because I can't play 13-14 times and let them play 22 times and beat them (in the points). So I'm going to practice, I'm going to be ready."