The New Best Hope

Fred Couples brings his magical swing to the Champions Tour and fires up the over-50 competition and its spectators

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Price is also advocating changes in the tour to make it more interesting. "I just think we have too many 54-hole stroke play tournaments and they can get boring," says Price. "I think we ought to have some more team events like the Legends of Golf. I think it would be neat to team up with the LPGA for a team event. There are things we can do to change things up and going forward I think we need to do that. We can't stand still and just hope people come out to see us."
Just how long fans will be able to see Couples play is guesswork. His chronically bad back can go out on him at any time. Last fall he stopped playing because of back issues. He was the captain of the Americans' victorious Presidents Cup team. He turned 50 last October and was eligible for two Champions Tour events, but chose to skip them in favor of rest and recuperation and his captaincy.
"My time is pretty much on the Champions Tour and I think I can compete here," says Couples. "Now I have got to figure out for how long. And if it's for three or four years, I think that's great, if I can last that long."
Even if Couples' competitive career is that short, it just might be enough time for the Champions Tour to gain traction. As Dick's Sports Goods director Karedes said: "Fred will sell tickets. People will drive to see Freddie."
Jeff Williams is a Cigar Aficionado contributing editor.
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