Fred Couples

Fred Couples

Fred Couples: A Brief Biography

Fred Couples
Fred Couples Image Source: Getty Images

Fred Couples's Early Life and Background

Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Fred Couples grew up in a close-knit family. His parents, Tom and Violet (née Sobich), raised him alongside his brother Tom Jr. and sister Cindy. Interestingly, his Italian-rooted family name was originally "Coppola" but their ancestors opted for a less ethnic-sounding "Couples." While his mother's heritage stemmed from Croatia, Fred's love for golf blossomed thanks to his father's job as a groundskeeper at a nearby course. Witnessing older kids play, young Fred developed his signature swing – a loose and rhythmic style – to compete with their distance. Notably, he achieved this feat entirely on his own, without formal lessons or coaching. After graduating from O'Dea High School in 1977, Fred Couples embarked on his golfing journey.

Fred Couples's Amateur Career

In 1977, Fred Couples received a golf scholarship to attend the University of Houston. During his time there, he roomed with Blaine McCallister, who would also become a PGA Tour player, and Jim Nantz, who became a well-known CBS television broadcaster.

At 19, Couples, still an amateur, won the 1978 Washington Open after beating Don Bies, a PGA Tour veteran and a fellow native of Seattle, in a playoff. The event took place at the Glendale Country Club located in Bellevue.

Fred Couples's Professional Career

Couples started his PGA Tour-winning journey in 1983 at the Kemper Open. In a dramatic finish, he tied for first place after a playoff birdie, even though his final rounds weren't spectacular. This victory was just the beginning, as Couples went on to win 14 more PGA Tour titles. These included two Players Championships and the prestigious 1992 Masters Tournament.

His dominance was undeniable. Couples was named PGA Tour Player of the Year twice and clinched the Vardon Trophy for having the lowest scoring average in those years. He was also a valuable asset to the U.S. Ryder Cup team, participating five times.

1992 was a phenomenal year for Couples. He became the first American to reach the top spot in the world golf rankings, holding onto it for an impressive 16 weeks. This achievement came after a scorching start to the season, where he secured two victories and two runner-up finishes in just five weeks leading up to the Masters.

At Augusta, Couples continued his hot streak, shooting under 70 for the first three rounds. Despite a shaky start on the final day, he didn't give up. Clutch birdie putts and a par save on a difficult hole kept him in the game. Finally, with nerves of steel, Couples held off his opponent and conquered Augusta's challenging back nine to win his first major championship.

Fred Couples' golfing legacy extends far beyond his iconic Masters victory. He earned the nickname "Mr. Skins" for his dominance in the Skins Game, racking up five wins and over $3.5 million. This off-season success, along with his triumphs in other non-PGA Tour events, also led to the playful title "King of the Silly Season."

Couples' talents weren't confined to American soil. He achieved international acclaim with nine top-10 finishes at The Open Championship and victories in prestigious European Tour events. His ability to compete at the highest level globally solidified his reputation as a world-class golfer.

However, back injuries became a significant hurdle for Couples starting in 1994. Despite the challenges his swing technique presented to his back, he persevered. His unwavering determination was evident in his 2003 victory at the Shell Houston Open, his first win in five years.

Couples' competitive fire continued to burn brightly. In 2006, at the age of 46, he nearly pulled off a historic feat – a second Masters title. Though he ultimately finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson, this near win showcased his enduring talent and fighting spirit.

Beyond individual wins, Couples was a strong team player. He contributed significantly to the USA's 1993 Dunhill Cup victory by winning all five of his matches. His overall record in this team event is impressive: 12 wins and only 4 losses in 16 matches. He continued this success in the 2004 Dunhill Links Championship, winning the Team Event alongside amateur Craig Heatley.

Couples' clutch putting came into play in the 2005 Presidents Cup. He defeated the International team's star player, Vijay Singh, with a crucial putt, securing a pivotal victory for the USA. This win extended Couples' undefeated record against Singh in Presidents Cup match play to 3-0.

While injuries sidelined Couples for most of 2007, he remained dedicated to the Masters, making the cut for a record-tying 23rd consecutive year. However, he missed the cut in the following two years.

Despite limitations, Couples continued to show flashes of brilliance. In 2009, he narrowly missed victories at several tournaments, including the Northern Trust Open and the Shell Houston Open. He also displayed resilience, recovering from a back injury to make the cut at the PGA Championship and perform well later in the season.

Couples' leadership skills were recognized in 2008 when he was chosen to captain the victorious 2009 U.S. Presidents Cup team. He nearly achieved another milestone in 2012, co-leading the Masters after the first two rounds at the age of 52.

Fred Couples' legacy extends well beyond his PGA Tour wins. He transitioned smoothly to the Champions Tour in 2010, nearly winning his debut event. This strong start continued as Couples went on a historic three-tournament winning streak, solidifying his dominance on the Champions Tour. Although he didn't win the 2010 Masters that year, he secured a commendable 6th-place finish.

Challenges arose again in 2010 with a couple of runner-up finishes, but Couples' competitive spirit wouldn't be deterred. In 2011, he claimed his first major Champions Tour title with a playoff victory at the Senior Players Championship. The following year, Couples etched his name further in Champions Tour history by winning The Senior Open Championship with a dramatic birdie putt on the last hole.

Beyond his playing career, Fred Couples has a successful business portfolio.

  • Course Design: He partners with Gene D. Bates to co-design golf courses. Their firm, Couples Bates Golf Design (now Bates Golf Design Group), has created over 20 award-winning championship courses worldwide, established in 1992.

  • Brand Endorsements: Couples leverages his golfing image for endorsements. He currently represents Anatabloc, an anti-inflammatory supplement, and wears their logo on his golf shirts.

  • Video Games: In 1994, Couples even lent his name to two video games published by Sega - "Fred Couples Golf" and "Golf Magazine: 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples."

Fred Couples's Playing Style

A southpaw, despite being right-handed, Couples utilizes a unique open stance where both his feet and shoulders aim slightly left of the target. This creates a distinct swing path that separates him from most golfers.

But power isn't everything for Couples. His swing is known for its rhythmic slowness, starkly contrasting the powerful hitters dominating the modern game. This deliberate tempo allows him to achieve exceptional ball striking, a cornerstone of his accuracy and consistency. Feel reigns supreme over raw power for Couples—his focus on precision and timing results in shots that consistently find their mark.

While his smooth swing might suggest otherwise, Couples earned the nickname "Boom Boom" early on for his ability to generate impressive distance with his long irons and driver. This power likely stems from efficient swing mechanics and a strong core.

Fred Couples's Caddie

Early on, information regarding Couples' first caddies is limited. Like many young golfers, he probably relied on fellow players or experienced caddies to gain knowledge and experience.

The LaCava Era is the most defining partnership in Couples' career, and it was with Joe LaCava. LaCava's calm demeanour and strategic mind perfectly complemented Couples' creative style, leading to numerous victories, including Couples' 1992 Masters win. This collaboration lasted for over two decades.

In recent years, Couples have opted for a more flexible approach, using different caddies temporarily. This could be due to LaCava's move to caddie for Tiger Woods or Couples' preference.

At the 2022 SAS Championship, Couples demonstrated his adaptability by securing a surprise win with Griffin Flesch, son of a PGA Tour player, on the bag. This highlights Couples' ability to adapt and succeed with different caddies.

Fred Couples's Golf Journey

Fred Couples is a golf legend with a storied career. Early on, he battled financial constraints but persevered, relying on fellow players and even sneaking onto courses to hone his skills. His raw talent shone through, and his swing was a marvel. The late 1980s saw a turning point, with Joe LaCava becoming his caddie. Their complementary styles led to a dominant partnership and numerous victories, including the prestigious 1992 Masters win. Couples has also battled back injuries throughout his career. Despite this, he has shown remarkable resilience, winning Champions Tour events well into his 60s.

Fred Couples's Achievements

Fred Couples' professional career is a tapestry woven with impressive wins. Here's a glimpse into his trophy cabinet:

Early Career: Couples' first PGA Tour victory came in 1983 at the Kemper Open, overcoming a tight finish with a clutch birdie on the second playoff hole.

Players Championship: He wasn't a one-hit wonder. Couples conquered the prestigious Players Championship twice, in 1984 and 1996, showcasing his all-around game.

The Masters: 1992 marked a pinnacle moment. Couples donned the coveted green jacket after a thrilling Masters victory, etching his name in golfing history.

Beyond the Majors: His success was more comprehensive than the biggest stages. Couples secured fourteen other PGA Tour titles, including wins at marquee events like the Shell Houston Open.

Senior Tour Triumphs: Couples' competitive spirit burned bright even after battling injuries. He continued to rack up wins on the Champions Tour, adding two senior major championships, the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, and The Senior Open Championship, to his impressive resume.

Fred Couples’ PGA Tour Wins

Fred Couples's Awards and Honours

  • Inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

  • Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May 2013.

  • Inaugurated in the Croatian-American Sports Hall of Fame in October 2022.

Fred Couples's Majors

Master’s TournamentWon (1992)
U.S. OpenT3 (1991)
The Open ChampionshipT3 (2005)
PGA Championship2nd (1990)

Fred Couples's Net Worth

Fred Couples has competed in numerous events and won fifteen PGA Tour titles. In addition to his success as a golfer, Couples has also made a name for himself in the course design field, having worked on some of the most renowned golf courses in America and abroad. As of April 2023, Forbes estimates his net worth to be $120 million.

Couples' salaries and income vary yearly, depending on their performance on the PGA Tour and other golfing events. In 2023, he earned $10 million from the PGA Tour, which ranked him as the 147th highest earner of the season. According to Forbes, Couples also generate additional income from endorsements, business ventures, and appearances.

Fred Couples's Ventures

Fred Couples enjoyed a successful career on both the PGA and Champions tours. He has been associated with several endorsement deals with big companies such as Nike, Bridgestone, and Ashworth.

One of his most notable endorsement deals was with Nike. Fred Couples was one of the first professional golfers to sign with Nike when they entered the golf market in the 1990s. He was known for wearing Nike golf apparel and shoes, and his signature Nike hat became a recognizable part of his on-course style.

Couples has also endorsed Bridgestone golf balls, exclusively using them in his tournament plays. He has been a spokesperson for the brand, appearing in advertisements promoting Bridgestone's golf equipment and technology.

Aside from Nike and Bridgestone, Couples has also had endorsement deals with golf brands such as Ashworth and Titleist. He has been a part of several advertising campaigns for these companies, promoting their golf apparel and equipment.

Overall, Fred Couples has been a highly sought-after endorser in the golf industry, recognized for his on-course success and unique style.

Fred Couples's Assets

Couples currently reside in Newport Beach, California, according to Forbes. They may have invested in various businesses, real estate, or other ventures that could generate additional income.

Fred Couples's Family

Fred Couples had parents named Tom Couples and Violet Couples (née Sobich). Tom Couples was a retired employee of the Seattle Parks Department who battled leukemia for eight years before passing away in 1997 at the age of 74. Violet Couples was of Croatian descent, but further details about her background are not readily available. She passed away in 1994. Fred Couples has a brother named Tom Jr. and a sister named Cindy Sparks.

Fred Couples's Wife

Fred Couples is currently married to Suzanne Hannemann. They tied the knot in February 2022 in an extravagant Palm Springs, California ceremony. Details about Suzanne's personal life and profession are relatively private. No public information is available regarding her age, occupation, or whether they have children together.

Couples have been married three times throughout his life:

Deborah Couples (1981-1993): His first marriage ended in divorce in 1993. Sadly, Deborah passed away in 2001.

This Baker (1998-2009): They married in 1998 but had no biological children together. This may have had children from a previous relationship. Their marriage ended tragically in 2009 when Thais passed away from breast cancer.

Fred Couples's Cars

Fred Couples was an ambassador for Jaguar and has several Jaguar cars in his collection.

FAQ's On Fred Couples

A. Fred Couples has 15 PGA Tour victories, including two Players Championships (1984, 1996) and the prestigious 1992 Masters Tournament.

A. Yes, although he doesn't play on the PGA Tour regularly anymore, Fred Couples is still active on the Champions Tour. He continues to compete in senior events.

A. Couples missed the 2016 Masters Tournament for the first time since 1994 due to ongoing back problems, which have plagued him throughout his career.

App download animated image Get the free App now