So nice to tune in at 12:30 Pacific and catch Fred Couples finishing up a 67 to stand as co-leader, at that point, after 36 holes of the Masters.
On Wednesday night in this space, I wrote of Phil Mickelson,” “No win here would be as popular with the galleries.”
That was an error of omission: A win by Couples at the Masters, where he won 20 years ago, would delight the masses at Augusta and around the golf universe.
Even his fellow pros would say, “If I can’t win, I sure wouldn’t mind if Freddy did.”
Couples, 52, will be the oldest man playing on the weekend, and if he were to close the deal, he would be the oldest Masters champion by six years. He’s the old guy here, but he’s still got the sweetest swing and the coolest cool.
When Couples finished, he was in a tie at 5-under with Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Jason Dufner. Garcia and McIlroy would soon thereafter drop a shot. Dufner? The definitive journeyman and quiet soul has made a recent habit of playing very well in majors — he lost in a playoff at the PGA last year, remember. He’s an easy guy to pull for, too.
They say Saturday is “moving day” in a 72-hole tournament, but Friday at the Masters there’s been a whole lot of moving going on, and it’s still early. Tiger Woods, for instance, is hovering around level par and has some ground to make up on the back nine if he wants to play in the final couple-three groups tomorrow with the likes of Couples, McIlroy, Garcia and Dufner. The TV people hope he gets it done.