Fred Couples, an O’Dea High graduate who learned to play golf at Jefferson Park, earned induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame Wednesday — by the narrowest margin possible.
Seattle native Fred Couples, who has always described himself as a good player but not a great one, was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame Wednesday. Couples has 15 official PGA Tour victories, most notably the 1992 Masters and the Players Championship twice (1984, 1996). Couples has also earned $21.6 million in his career.
“There are other people in the Hall of Fame that are maybe good players, but good is a good thing,” Couples told The Associated Press from Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. “I’ve been good at it for a long time, and I hope to continue to play a few more years.”
Couples, plagued by back problems through much of his career, barely made the World Golf Hall. He was elected with a record-low 51 percent of the vote. The minimum for election is 65 percent, although there is a clause that says that when no nominee gets the minimum, the leading vote-getter is elected provided he has at least 50 percent of the vote. So Couples got in with one percent to spare.
Among the golfers who failed to get elected: David Love III (38 percent), Ken Venturi (38 percent) and Mark O’Meara (36 percent).
Couples will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame May 6, 2013, at the World Golf Village at St. Augustine, FL.
“I’ve won 15 times and a major and all that,” Couples said. “But I think one of the things I’ve done well is played for a long time. Sometimes that is meaningless. I think when you get in the Hall of Fame, it’s more about the finishes you’ve had, and I know a lot about the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I know a little bit about the Football Hall of Fame, and the way they talk about some people not getting in and waiting a long time. For me, at my age of 52, I think it’s certainly a great honor and great timing, because it will push me to play a couple more years and see how I can play.”
Couples grew up in Seattle, graduated from O’Dea High School and learned to play golf at Jefferson Park. He received a golf scholarship to the University of Houston and won his first event at the 1978 Washington State Open as an amateur. Couples scored his first PGA victory at the 1983 Kemper Open.
Couples has been the PGA Tour Player of the Year twice (1991 and 1992), has won the Vardon Trophy twice (1991, 1992) and has played on five Ryder Cup teams. In addition to his 15 PGA Tour wins, Couples is famous for his performances in the “postseason” Skins Game. He has won that event five times, accumulating $3.5 million in earnings.
Now a regular on the Champions (over 50) Tour, Couples scored his most recent victory at this year’s Senior British Open at Turnberry.