FRED COUPLES is a welcome addition to the 2009 Australian Open field and the charismatic former World No 1 golfer has provided an instant extra interest in the Sydney event.
Yes, he may not be Tiger Woods and for many his recruitment will not cover the disappointment of losing Greg Norman to injury, but the 50 year old is a hugely popular figure with lots and lots of long time golf fans.
Many will be fascinated to see in person how that renowned slinky smooth golf swing is standing the test of time.
It certainly hasn’t served the American badly this year with four top ten finishes on the US PGA Tour.
His seemingly perennial sun tan and laid back demeanour were also prominent in his role as captain of this year’s winning US Presidents Cup team. To me, Couples has always seemed like he had life on a rope.
Couples, who has 46 professional career victories, five Ryder Cup and four Presidents Cup representative appearances, last played in the Australian Open in 1998 at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.
“I am very much looking forward to playing in the Australian Open and in particular the New South Wales Golf Club which is known as one of the most beautiful links courses in the world,” Couples said this week.
“I haven’t been to Sydney for some time and look forward to visiting this magnificent city once again”.
Announcing the news this week, Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said he was thrilled to welcome the US Presidents Cup captain to Sydney.
“It’s fantastic that Fred is able to join us at the Australian Open for the first time in more than a decade and make a welcome return to Sydney,” Pitt said.
“Fred is one of the world’s most popular and charismatic golfers and is a joy to watch. He is playing very well and fans will jump at the chance to see him play the spectacular NSW Golf Course at La Perouse (December 3 -6).”
Couples will join fellow Americans John Daly, Steve Marino, Kevin Stadler and Bryce Molder.
The Australian contingent includes Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, James Nitties, Greg Chalmers, Stuart Appleby, Michael Sim, Marc Leishman and Mathew Goggin.