Fred Couples says he feels best he has in years, will play in Boeing Classic
Seattle native says he feels much percent better this year, thanks to Anatabloc, a new anti-inflammatory pill he is taking. He also received treatment in Germany for his back.
Seattle Times staff
Less than a year ago, Fred Couples' back was so bad he took a break from golf and went to Germany for experimental treatment.
Today, the O'Dea High School graduate is feeling as well as he has in years, thanks to the treatment and new anti-inflammatory pills he is taking. He is already gearing up for the Masters in April and plans to play in the big Champions Tour events, including the Boeing Classic at the end of August at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge.
"First of all, it's home," Couples said of planning to play in the Boeing Classic for the third straight year. "I love the course, it's great for me — and the crowds are fantastic."
Couples, 52, has been busy the past couple of weeks. He finished tied for 33rd in the Dubai Desert Classic, a field that included many of the top players in the world. His back then held up for a 17-hour flight and he played in the PGA Tour event last week in Los Angeles at Riviera Country Club, one of his favorite courses.
Couples was leading at Riviera last year heading to the back nine before fading on the final day. This year, he got off to a great start with a 1-under 70 during tough afternoon conditions, but missed the cut by a shot after ballooning to a 76 on Friday.
"I know it sounds like a rookie mistake, but I wasn't mentally ready to play at 7:15 (a.m.) after having a late tee time the day before," said Couples, who was 7 over on his first eight holes.
At least the issue wasn't physical. When Couples went to Germany last year, he was told after blood work that his inflammation level was "off-the-chart" high. Last year, he began taking Anatabloc, an new anti-inflammatory pill. He liked it so much, he began recommending it to friends, and the company has become one of his sponsors.
"It's not going to help my back, but my hands felt better and the areas around the back where I've had hiccups in the past, I haven't had," said Couples, who said his inflammation level has come down. "I'm not going to tell you that it's a wonder drug, but I would say I feel 30 percent better. If I feel 70 percent on a bad day, instead of 50 percent, that's a pretty big deal for me."
Such a big deal that Couples believes he is capable of winning a second Masters. He was in contention last year through two rounds despite playing in severe pain.
"I honestly believe I can," said Couples, who won at Augusta National in 1992 and said his vast knowledge of the course is an advantage. "I am not planning to go there to show I can win, but I do think it's possible."
• Not only has 18-hole Carnation Golf Course closed, but the nearby 12-hole Tall Chief Golf Course also has gone out of business.
• Lights have been installed on the driving range at Bellevue Municipal Golf Course and the range will operate with lights for the first time Monday. Range hours will gradually be extended but the final bucket the first week will be sold at 7 p.m.
• Oakbrook Golf and Country Club in Lakewood is now a public course. It is a daily-fee course and also one of three courses in the new RMG Club (Ryan Moore Golf) that offers subscribers various discounts at The Classic outside Spanaway, McCormick Woods in Port Orchard and Oakbrook.
• Joe Louis Barrow, national CEO of First Tee, will speak at a March 21 fundraiser at the Washington Athletic Club to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of The First Tee of Greater Seattle. Barrow is the son of late boxing great Joe Louis.
Freelancer Craig Smith contributed to this report.