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The Loop

Couples clarifies: Might, might not pick Tiger

June 01, 2011

DUBLIN, Ohio -- In an unequivocal equivocation of a fluid nature, Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples isn't backing away from using a precious captain's pick on Tiger Woods for the November matches at Royal Melbourne -- sort of. Cap'n Fred is completely on board, if that ship sails.

It is, in point of fact, every bit as clear as Woods' situation itself, which is, well, unsettled, in the event you haven't heard. In brief, if Woods is physically able to play, he probably will. If he's not, he'll tell us. "If I tell you today that if he just plays fairly well, I'm going to pick him, I can't imagine that's the dumbest thing anyone has ever said," Couples said of the 14-time major champion. "And if I sit here and say, if he continues to play like he is, in my mind, he will be the guy to say, 'No reason to take me over there.' He's not a difficult guy at all."

One thing Couples, who held a Presidents Cup meeting with roughly 20 players late Wednesday afternoon, will likely insist on is that his players enter a tournament the week before so that, even in November, his team will be tournament ready. "Does that mean Tiger is going to play the Australian Open?" he was jokingly asked, since Couples and Greg Norman will both be playing there. Yeah, sort of. Unless it was Singapore.

What is more disturbing to Couples are, as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would have called them, the unknown unknowns. "At Tiger's age, I'm more concerned about his body than his game," said Couples. "His game will come back. But it's hard to come back when you've got knee problems and hip problems and Achilles problems and all that stuff. If you're an older basketball player and you get thrown on a team that's pretty good and everyone is doing well and you win a championship, you say, 'Oh my God, I just won another championship.' But, in golf, when you're number one and then you start to slide and your mind keeps telling you, man, I remember a year ago I could do this and two years ago I did that -- that's the mentality -- that's the toughest thing you go through. There's no other guy who can pick you up but yourself."

-- Jim Moriarty