Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 3/28/12
HUMBLE, Texas Fred Couples is here to see old friends as much as anything. That's what he says anyway. It has been 20 years since Couples won The Masters and was ranked No. 1 in the world, and at age 52 his prime is fading like a Polaroid on the dashboard. But he is playing in the Shell Houston Open this weekend at The Tournament Course at Redstone. He attended the University of Houston, he has played the tournament many times, and he likes to come back. That's about it. His last win on the PGA Tour came in 2003 in Houston, and he doesn't expect that to change. "As far as me thinking I can compete on this tour," he said. "I just do it to come out and see everyone." And yet there is recent evidence Couples is not finished as a competitive PGA golfer. Just days ago he won a Champions Tour event, the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, shooting 14-under. That, coupled with his recovery from a back injury that cost him most of the 2011 season, has created a sense heading into this week's tuneup for next week's Master's that Couples may have one last run in him. A strong showing in Houston would inflate that bubble. Couples sees a bubble of a different variety. "It's like winning your conference as Vermont," he said, "and then going in there and beating Duke." Couples says he is no longer good enough to win The Masters, and doesn't think he's good enough to win it's the Houston Open either. Might as well forget about that big win in Mississippi, he says. "Now I'm playing with the big boys," he said. For most of two decades, Couples was one of the biggest, and typically he has played well in Houston, where he was on the golf team at the University of Houston in the late 70s. He finished fourth in the Houston Open in 2008 and third in 2009. That year he felt particularly good about the way he had been playing, and, thus, about his chances the next week at Augusta. And then The Masters came. "It was the only time I've ever missed the cut there," Couples said. That remains his last big run in golf. He joined the Champions Tour in 2010 and thinks it's the perfect place for him. The players are good, just not as young, and the courses are challenging, just not as long. Nonetheless, Couples still wants to get ready for The Masters and considers Redstone a fine place to do so. "Really it's a good course for guys to picture shots," he said. "You try and cut a few tee shots, you try and draw a few. It's a very long course, it's got a lot of water, it's got a lot of holes you can have a disaster on, too." So yes, Couples is using this weekend to prepare for next weekend. He still thinks he can play. His back feels good. He likes to see all his old buddies. But the photo of Fred Couples as Master's champion gets a little more sunfaded with each passing year. "If I go out and play really, really well here," he said, "I maybe can finish up in the top 20, 25."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL owners pushing for Ezekiel Elliott suspension?

Report: Derrick Rose in ‘serious talks’ to join Cavs

Giants co-owner: Kaepernick is not being blackballed

Report: Lakers wanted to sign D-Wade if Bulls bought him out

Report: Bell has no plans to miss regular season games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

OJ Simpson could cash in on signing autographs if paroled

Report: If Rockets land Melo, LeBron could join him in 2018

Le'Veon Bell wants to be paid like 'a No. 1 RB and No. 2 WR'

Three Wimbledon matches have reportedly raised suspicions about match-fixing

Report: Giants will sign Pablo Sandoval

BIG3 explains why Allen Iverson didn’t play at Philadelphia tour stop

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Box Score 7/20: Nothing but Nolan

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

Every MLB team's biggest need at the trade deadline

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Box Score 7/19: The shadow of the trade deadline begins to fall over baseball

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

Box Score 7/18: Burying a glove is fine until you have a zombie glove in the outfield

The 'Youth in baseball is cyclical' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

The 'Youth in baseball is cyclical' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

Getaway Day: Class is back in session

The 'Safeties in numbers' quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: Are McGregor and Mayweather money?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker