The bigger surprise would have been if Fred Couples was actually on the grounds at the Players Championship, not that he had withdrawn. But the official word from the PGA Tour on Wednesday was that the 50-year-old Couples, coming off a very un-Fred Couples-like six-straight weeks on the road, would not be making the trip to Ponte Vedra, where he won both in 1984 and 1996.
Couples had won three of his first four starts on the Champions Tour, and was in contention over the weekend at the Masters. But after missing the cut at Quail Hollow last Friday, he made clear was not to play the Players.
Anthony Kim and Steve Stricker were the other two marquee players who have withdrawn from the field this week.
-- *Sam Weinman *