Masters could alter Couples' legacy

"It's a really, really hard course," Couples explained about his weekend fades. "And when you panic and then try to do a couple of things because, 'Oh god, I was tied for the lead or in second, now I'm in 12th place,' you try and hit a shot and it doesn't work out. And you go to 18th place. You can't do that."

Especially when you're 54, your back hurts and you haven't won a Tour event since the Shell Houston Open in 2003.

"I'm not here just to play golf and think that I can't compete on this course," Couples said. "I can't compete with these guys over a year, but over one week I can compete, and I have to do it [Saturday]."

Couples will need more than his fair share of magic to pull this off. But then again, his cherished Seattle Seahawks won it all this year. But then again, the short tee shot at No. 12 that somehow didn't roll into Rae's Creek in 1992 -- much to Floyd's dismay - somehow stayed out of the creek again Friday (although this time Couples failed to make par).

Freddie bogeyed the 17th hole and missed a point-blank birdie opportunity at the 18th, or else he'd be tied for second at 4 under. Afterward, he said he was fine with the 71 on a brutal course with greens, Couples said, like concrete.

"I know anytime he plays here he can win this golf tournament," said his caddie, Mark Chaney. "I don't think anyone plays golf any better or feels more comfortable here than he does."

A newbie with Couples, Chaney said that he gives his man reads on yardages and wind, but that he rarely needs to offer advice on club selection. Couples is so at peace with Augusta National, the caddie continued, that he sometimes replaces his own divots and does what he did Friday at 17 -- help tear down some fairway ropes for his shot out of the trees.

Chaney also said that Couples' bad back "is fine." If true, Freddie would be the only one of the record six 50-somethings to make the Masters cut with a legitimate chance to take this tournament.

"I won't talk my way out of it," Couples said.

He shouldn't. The same Freddie who made a cottage industry out of cashing in during silly season, at this Skins Game or that one, can win something of real substance here.

That underachieving career record? The Hall of Fame induction without the Hall of Fame credentials?

Over the weekend, Boom Boom can make all that go bye-bye.

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