Masters 2012: Why Fred Couples' Surprise Run Won't Last

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2012

Fred Couples leads his much-younger competition through two rounds of 2012 Masters' play.
Fred Couples leads his much-younger competition through two rounds of 2012 Masters' play.David Cannon/Getty Images

Fred Couples' miraculous lead in the 2012 Masters will not hold up. Couples is five-under through 36 holes, but he will crack down the stretch.

Couples has created a storyline golf fans will not forget no matter where he finishes. He is seeking his second green jacket, but won his first 20 years ago.

If he wins, Couples will be the oldest golfer to ever win a major. The Masters is not just any major. The Masters is the granddaddy of them all.

Couples' lead through 36 holes is not safe. Several very capable golfers are eagerly nipping at his heels.

His run has been admirable, but here is why his lead will not hold up.



A 52-year-old golfer has never won a major, let alone the Masters. Couples will not be the first golfer to break the mold.

Couples has the skills to compete until the bitter end; however, his endurance and focus will crack.

Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson are both four-under entering Round 3 on Saturday. Both are young golfers with tremendous upside and a fair amount of experience. Their youth will allow them to outlast Couples as we enter the tournament's final two rounds.

Every golf fan knows what Couples is trying to do. Don't think he doesn't, as well.

Couples knows his age, and knows that no one his age has ever managed to win a major. The stage is huge, the competition is rigorous and endurance favors the young.


The Senior PGA Tour exists for a reason. Most golfers Couples' age cannot compete with the spry, young golfers.

Couples has so far, but he will fade.


Playing with Fire

Fred Couples' putting will fail him in the 2012 Masters' final two rounds.

Couples has a vast understanding of Augusta. He has extraordinary experience and has used that to his advantage thus far.

Experience only gets you so far. The ability to drive the ball will play a role in the final two rounds. Couples has a capable game off the tee, but he does not stand up to others on the currently packed leaderboard.

Couples knows Augusta like the back of his hand. He has been masterful on the green and laid the ball up perfectly with his mid-range game.

Couples' putting will digress as the greens get faster in the tournament's final two rounds. Sooner or later, he will need to hit for distance.

Younger, stronger players will take over as Couples' crafty game falters.