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Fred Couples’ Latest LIV Roast Targets Tour Critics Greg Norman

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Fred Couples is not in love with LIV Golf.

Images: getty

If you were to compile a list of the most popular golfers of the past 40 years, Fred Couples would be somewhere near the top. Fans enjoy her silky swing, movie-star good looks, and sweet, eerie demeanor. His propensity to play well at the most-watched tournament of the year, the Masters, hasn’t hurt his appeal either. Then there’s the name, Freddie. It works.

But although Couples has donned a green jacket, signed his share of visors and helped turn heads on the PGA Tour, he has no overblown illusions about his impact on the professional game beyond that.

“I’ve done a lot of great things in golf, maybe I got people to watch the game, but I’m not changing the game,” he said the other day during the PGA Tour Champions event in Calgary.

Couples was answering a question about the rise of LIV Golf, which, with its nightclub vibe, “Golf, but louder” slogan and 54-hole events, positions itself as what Uber has been for the taxi industry: a bold -disruptive face. Couples don’t see it. In fact, he sees little merit in the Saudi-backed league. A few weeks ago, the Hall of Famer shared his feelings about the new tour with GOLF.com, but last week, in remarks to reporters at the Shaw Charity Classic, he added even more color.

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“All these guys think they’re changing the game and to me it’s comical, it’s really comical,” Couples said. “To have music on every tee and people drinking beers and thinking it’s cool.” He added, “I never thought the cast and crew doing this would be the guys doing it.”

Among that group are players Couples has grown closer to over the years through not just on-court schmooze sessions, but also his many captains and alternate captains of the U.S. Ryder Cup and President teams. Cup. Guys like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka. “One of my favorite players of all time,” Couples said of DJ, who you could say is the Freddie of his generation: a hugely talented bomber who never seems too pissed off.

“And now they’re after us,” Couples said.

Well, Johnson and Koepka are not. But 11 other former PGA Tour players are, as revealed last week in a 105-page complaint in which the plaintiffs presented a case, in great detail, for their right to play on the PGA Tour, which they are currently on. suspended.

“Whether they win or lose, I don’t care,” Couples said. “I’m 62, playing the Champions Tour, but it’s a bit heartbreaking. Go do what you do. To continue the Tour, 11 guys when there are probably 200 guys on the Tour, I find that really, really weird.

“And I have a funny feeling, I know where it’s coming from and it’s coming from their leader, who no one has liked in 25 years. And it’s not mean, it’s just – it’s the truth. He’s not a friend of mine, but he never would be because we don’t get along. But he’s doing a tour that he thinks is amazing.

Different times: Fred Couples and Greg Norman at the 2011 Presidents Cup.

Images: getty

Couples was referring to LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman. Twenty-five years ago, you were roughly back to the time when Norman first tried to challenge the PGA Tour by starting a breakaway world league. Touring devotees like Couples weren’t impressed with Norman’s vision at the time, and they still aren’t all these years later. The lawsuit, filed last week in a northern California court, has only added fuel to the fire. The PGA Tour is a member-based organization, which means LIV players, as Justin Thomas pointed out recently, are actually suing their former colleagues.

“I listened to everyone, Davis Love and Justin Thomas,” Couples continued. “We text every night. They’re really chasing us, you know, and JT finally has that picture. … Now he understands that they’re suing him, and that’s offensive.

When Couples talks about LIV, you can hear the disdain in his voice, but it’s also clear that he reserves most of his resentment for LIV players who shout about their cause and air grievances about the PGA Tour. It has more tolerance for players who simply took the money and ran away.

“I love that Charl Schwartzel won, I love it [Branden] Grace won,” Couples said of two of LIV’s first three winners, “because they’re very quiet guys there. Brooks is the same. The couples added some of the Tour’s most vocal critics: ‘I’m glad they’re gone, but stop trashing the PGA Tour. If you don’t want to be part of it, you sue it? Go and earn your millions and play golf like I’m going to this week.

When Couples spoke to GOLF.com, some of his sharpest comments were aimed at LIV signee Pat Perez, who didn’t shy away from pressuring critics on the PGA Tour.

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Perez said in June: “It’s heartbreaking that the players weren’t even lucky enough to have Jay [Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner] take a meeting and at least have something to bring to the players and say it was offered. Why is it up to him to make the decision? I think that’s why a lot of players are angry.

Of Perez’s turmoil, Couples told GOLF.com, “It’s a grain of sand in this Tour. He should be sweet and kind, but he raises his voice. I’m done with it.”

Last week, Couples said Perez didn’t appreciate his dig.

“What I don’t have respect for is that I texted Pat Perez for 20 years about his golf game,” Couples said. “I don’t know Pat very well, but I’ve always tried to help him, and in a comment I said Pat shouldn’t be one of the guys, he’s like a grain of sand on this tour, and the text he wrote back to me, it looks like I put him in jail. So, it’s offensive, it’s offensive. I don’t mind. I still really like Pat Perez. I’m glad he’s making money there, because that’s what he chose to do and it makes him happy, but for me personally, I appreciate the guys who stand up for the PGA Tour more. because I invested 42 years.

Couples isn’t the only player feeling this. Many Tour loyalists have said they don’t mind that much that players have taken huge sums to sign with LIV – they just want those players to be honest about Why they fled, that is, for paydays.

At the very least, Couples and others added, don’t cast shade on the PGA Tour by stepping out, as Sergio Garcia did in May.

At the Wells Fargo Championship, Garcia showed his LIV hand when a rules official gave Garcia what the Spaniard interpreted as an unfavorable ruling on a lost ball search. “I can’t wait to get off this tour,” Garcia could be heard saying on the tour’s live stream. “I can’t wait to get out of here. A few more weeks before I no longer have to take care of you.

This episode did not go well with Couples. “Don’t just sit there on TV because he hits a ball out of bounds, I can’t wait to get off of that,” Couples said. “It’s corny, it’s kind of childish.”

Bouncing from stop to stop on the low-key senior circuit, Couples has been shielded somewhat from the LIV drama, other than what he reads and hears, or sees in the texts of his young Tour buddies. It’s a good life there. A few days in Western Canada last week followed by a home game this week at the Boeing Classic, about 30 miles west of Seattle. Earnings for couples this season: $219,851. It’s not money that changes lives, but it’s not to be sniffed at either.

“I’m happy to be here in Calgary,” Couples said. “I will say this, there is no Saudi money on the Champions Tour. We won’t take it, we won’t accept it.

alan bastable

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As Editor-in-Chief of GOLF.com, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of gaming’s most respected and trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats – editing, writing, ideation, development, daydreaming breaking 80 – and feeling privileged to work with such an incredibly talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before taking the reins of GOLF.com, he was editor of GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

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