We're looking at a November Masters following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic - and former champion Fred Couples suggests this could make Augusta National "crazy long".
November Masters Could Be “Crazy Long” Suggests Fred Couples
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted sport across the globe, but the golf world is hoping a November Masters will provide a fascinating end to the year – and one former champion cannot wait.
Fans’ favourite Fred Couples, who triumphed at the famous venue in 1992, has fond memories of playing Augusta National in November, although he has a warning for those who have serious designs on pulling on the coveted Green Jacket.
“I hit a driver and a 2-iron, and then the second day it was like 40 degrees and windy and I hit a rescue into the first green,” Couples recalls of his one November visit to Augusta.
“It happened to be the year they built a lot of new tees and it was crazy how long it played.”
In the space of just a few months, both the PGA Tour and European Tour schedules have been blown apart with cancellations and postponements occurring on a regular basis.
However, the Masters has been rescheduled for November 12-15.
And despite having to push the opening Major of the season back seven months, Couples doesn’t expect anything but a pristine Augusta, even if the fairways were “a little thin” from what he remembers the last time he was there late in the year.
“I will say this: the greens were unreal,” he says.
“We’re talking Augusta, so usually it’s 11 out of a 10 every year you play. I’m sure with the right weather and extra overseed and all that it’ll be outstanding.”
Couples, who also finished runner-up at the Masters in 1998, hopes the sun will make an appearance, although he’s not betting on it.
“I’m not really sure what the weather is going to be like early November,” he says.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be 15 to 20 degrees warmer [than when he played in November], but I don’t think it’ll touch 70 degrees in November, so the course will play extremely long.
“But, you know, it’s Augusta, it’s a Major as they say – you’ve got to play in any weather. It will be a unique situation.”
A Hybrid Revolution
Adjusting attire for a November Masters will be of no concern for one of the most stylish golfers ever to have graced the fairways.
Ten years ago, at Augusta, Couples set tongues wagging when he famously wore the original Ecco Golf Street shoes.
“Everyone started screaming, ‘How do I get these Ecco shoes? How do I get these Ecco shoes?’ and it was kind of comical because I was playing pretty well,” says Couples, who has been wearing Ecco shoes since 2006.
“I’m trying to play the golf tournament and everyone was worried about the shoes I was wearing.”
The Danish shoe maker Ecco recently unveiled the Street 10, a model that pays homage to the 10-year anniversary of the hybrid revolution sparked by Couples.
And the American is already looking forward to getting his hands – and feet – on the new footwear, not least because he’s amazed by the comfort levels they offer.
“Anyone who really, really knows me, at the end of a round 15 years ago I would not really want many conversations with anyone,” he admits.
“You’re standing there in these nails of spikes on concrete, and I can tell you these shoes have prolonged how I feel playing golf.
“I think these 10-year anniversary Street shoes are a really cool way to look.”
Related: Ecco Street 10 Shoe Unveiled
Couples will be 61 come the 2020 Masters, but the man they call ‘Boom Boom’ – for his long and straight driving – will be in Georgia to contend, even if Augusta does end up playing like more of a beast.
“I don’t just want to go there to play golf,” says Couples, who boasts ten more Masters top-10 finishes on top of his ’92 victory, the last of which came in 2010 when he finished sixth.
“I want to be ready. I’m already trying to figure out a schedule for October.
“I don’t know how much we’ll be playing in October but I need to play and be ready, especially for Augusta.”