Blog Number 40 - 8/1/10


Langer's day
On Saturday, while Fred Couples was shooting a superlative bogey-free 65 at Sahalee Country Club, hundreds of vocal football fans were ten miles away getting their first sight of this season’s Seattle Seahawks at their spiffy new training facility south of downtown. It was obvious from the volume with which today’s gallery cheered on Couples that many of them had forsaken the Hawks’ second camp in favor of the golf.
Their conspicuous enthusiasm couldn’t quite carry the day, however.
Couples, the returning hometown hero who won the 1978 Washington Open wearing tennis shoes, went out in Sunday’s final round tied on five -under-par with Germany’s Bernhard Langer, the winner of last week’s Senior British Open at Carnoustie. The distinguished pair had never fought tooth and nail down the stretch before, but with a five-shot gap between them and the two players tied for third - Tom Kite and Chien Soon Lu - it was really all about the final twosome.
The crowd didn’t need encouraging, but when Couples birdied the 1st to take a slender lead a near deafening noise went up and reverberated around Sahalee’s stately cedars for quite a while.
The delirium didn’t last long, however. At the Par 5 2nd, the only hole that played under its par all week, Couples made an excruciating triple-bogey eight after making what he described as a mental blunder in laying up. ‘If I could walk out there tomorrow, I’d go for the green, no matter where I hit it,’ he said. ‘I think I would beat eight, that’s for sure.’
With Langer making birdie, Couples was now three back and playing catch up. Trouble is, Langer is a very hard man to catch up and, not surprisingly, Couples never caught up. ‘He birdied the hardest hole, No. 6 and from then on just kept hitting it where he was supposed to,’ said Couples. ‘They were all quality shots and he played great.’
Despite becoming the first man since Tom Watson in 2003 to win back-to-back majors on the Champions Tour, Langer dismissed speculation that Colin Montgomerie should now consider him for the European Ryder Cup team, saying there was just too much good young talent on the European Tour. He did agree, however, that Couples should now feature prominently in Corey Pavin’s plans. ‘He would definitely be on my short list,’ Langer said. ‘His putting is very solid now and he’s certainly one of the best ball-strikers in America.’
They are fine qualities in a golfer for sure, but sadly for Couples and Seattle’s passionate golf fans, not sufficient against a player like Langer playing at his determined and resolute best.


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