Fred Couples wasn’t trying to be cocky Wednesday when he said it: “There are some tournaments where I feel like people deserve to play and I feel like I deserve to be in this field."
Couples has won the Northern Trust twice in his career, in 1990 and 1992, and is an all-time fan favorite at Riviera Country Club.
Couples, 53, is making his 31st tournament appearance, more than any other player.
He is not here this time on his golfing merits, however, playing on a sponsor’s exemption.
You could easily argue: if anyone deserves one, it’s Couples.
But he also knows he is taking someone’s spot in the 144-player field and insists he’s not here as an ornament.
“There’s no reason just to play at L.A. to shoot a couple of 74s,” he said. “That’s a waste of everyone’s time.”
Couples still believes he can compete here, despite flaming out last year with a second-day 76.
He said a 7:09 start time in the second round didn’t help and he has played well at Riviera since he turned 50, finishing t-7 in the Northern Trust as recently as 2010.
Couples, paired with Bubba Watson and Lee Westwood, has a 7:22 a.m. start time Thursday.
“I’m going to have a different routine,” Couples said. “I might not play well but I’m going to get up a heck of a lot earlier and try to get ready.”