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The Loop

So is Couples a genius, too?

October 12, 2009

When Paul Azinger captained the U.S. to a five-point victory in the Ryder Cup in 2008, he was hailed as a genius in many quarters?

Now that Fred Couples has captained the U.S. to a five-point victory in the Presidents Cup, does he, too, warrant a label of genius?

Here's what I think: The role of the captain in these team events is over-rated. Either your players play well or they don't. Couples had the two best players in the world on his team and they went undefeated (Tiger Woods 5-0, Phil Mickelson 4-0-1).

"Fred Couples was never obsessed with having the perfect pairing for the U.S. team, confident that his players were so good they could win no matter who they played with or against.

"When he did make them, he said he found it a lot easier than what he thought. For Thursday's opening foursomes, he said he and assistant captain Jay Haas spent just a few minutes figuring out who would play where."

Couples himself acknowledged the limited role he played in the U.S. victory. "Basically, these guys played golf and did it all," Couples said. "I would like to say that I didn't have a whole lot to do with it."

-- John Strege