FRED COUPLES has been voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013.
The popular 52 year old American golfer accepted news of the honour in his usual laid-back style.
“What a great day for me,” the former world number one told reporters at East Lake Golf Club on the eve of this week’s Tour Championship. “I guess I won a popularity vote here.”
“For me, it’s truly an honour. I hope a lot of people – I don’t want to say respect my game – but understand that to be in the Hall of Fame you’ve got to be a very, very good player.
“I don’t consider myself to be a great player, but I think I’ve been a very good player. I’ve played great at times.”
Couples, known for his silky smooth swing and his prodigious length off the tee, won his only major title at the 1992 Masters.
He was the first American player to reach number one in the official world rankings and amongst his 15 US PGA Tour victories clinched the prestigious Players Championship in 1984 and 1996, an event widely regarded as golf’s unofficial fifth major.
A veteran of five Ryder Cups, Couples captained the triumphant U.S. Presidents Cup teams in 2009 and at Royal Melbourne in 2011, where he proved hugely popular with Australian golf fans.
Couples also has eight wins in his continuing career on the US Champions Tour, with his appearances these days dependent on the state of his troublesome back.
“Fred Couples is one of those unique players whose talent and accomplishments are Hall-of-Fame calibre, as are his personality and popularity,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
“He has been a fan favourite for decades, thanks to not only his significant achievements on the golf course, but also because of his relatable, friendly demeanour that has connected him to fans around the world.”
The Hall of Fame is due to announce further inductees into the Class of 2013 in coming months.