The Loop

The Loop

Acute back issues force Fred Couples to withdraw from the Masters

April 04, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The powers that be at Augusta National might want to consider hiring a full-time chiropractor to help out their past Masters champions.

With four-time winner Tiger Woods already forced to skip this year’s event as he recuperates from back surgery, the club announced Monday that 1992 champion Fred Couples has also withdrawn, citing “acute” back issues.

The 56-year-old has dealt with chronic back problems for much of his career, yet they have rarely gotten in the way of him playing in the year’s first major, much less contending on several occasions. In 31 Masters starts, Couples has made the cut 28 times, third most of any competitor in tournament history, while posting 11 top-10 finishes. He also made the cut in a record-tying 23 straight years from 1984-2007.

Age wasn’t slowing Couples down either; since turning 50, Couples has finished in the top 20 in five of six Masters starts, missing the cut only last April.

In 2016, Couples has played three times, missing the cut at the Northern Trust Open and finished T-6 and second in two PGA Tour Champions events. He hadn't made a start, however, since late February.

The last time Couples did not play in the Masters was 1994.