AUGUSTA, Ga. — The early part of the week at the Masters is usually where Fred Couples thrives. He plays with Tiger Woods, skips balls across the 16th-hole pond, gives interviews with plenty of color and candor and soaks in the love from the adoring patrons.
This week, Couples did more than that. After a first-round 1-under 71, Couples posted a 2-over 74 Saturday morning to finish at 1 over. That was enough for him to make the cut and, at 63 years old, become the oldest player to do so at the Masters.
“That’s why I come here,” Couples said. “The last four years have been really mediocre golf. Maybe one year I was semiclose to making the cut. But that’s my objective, and I did it.”
In his 38th Masters appearance, Couples hit 23 of 28 fairways during the first two rounds and averaged over 290 yards off the tee. As he explained, his familiarity with the place, combined with a good driving week, allows him to play well because of his strong iron play. Couples hit 72% of greens in regulation and has had a decent putting week, averaging 1.64 putts per hole, which ranks in the top half of the field.
“When I get pumped up, I can drive it far enough where it gets them all excited,” Couples said Thursday. “Last year I played […] I was popcorning it. This year I felt pretty good. So I got it within 20 yards of them a few times, which is good.”
The self-deprecating Couples, who won the Masters in 1992 as the top-ranked player in the world, hadn’t made the cut since 2018, when he finished tied for 38th. After making the cut this year, Couples now has 31 made cuts at the Masters, which puts him third all time.
“I can’t compete with Viktor Hovland or Jon Rahm or anybody, but I can compete with myself, and that’s really why I come,” Couples said. “That’s what I like to do is make the cut here at an older age.”
Couples, who plays on the Champions Tour, said Saturday he didn’t know about the record until finding out at a dinner Friday night, but that he’ll gladly take it. Even though the forecast calls for wind and rain throughout Saturday, Couples said he’s looking forward to playing all weekend.
“Am I going to look thrilled to play 18 holes in this this afternoon? No, I’m a wimp. I’m an old wimp, but I’m excited to play,” Couples said. “I love the place.”