As we get older, we have a tendency to look in different ways and places for the Fountain of Youth. And even if we cannot find it ourselves, the quest is so dear to our hearts that we take great pleasure in those who are able to do so. Like Freddie Couples whenever he comes to Augusta National.
Now 52, Couples plays like a man half his age in the Masters. Two years ago, when he was a fairly new member of the 50-and-over set, he fired a first-round 66 on his way to a sixth-place finish. Then, in 2011, Couples went low again with a second-round 68 and ended the Tournament tied for 15th. And this year, in his 28th Masters, “Boom Boom” did it again. His first-round 72 was accomplishment enough on a course playing long and hard and capable of breaking even the stoutest golfing souls. But he wasn’t done, and on Friday he turned in a sizzling 67, 5-under par. It got people talking about another Freddie win, and it got them cheering when he stepped to the first tee the next day. Heck, patrons were even applauding his putts on the practice green beforehand. That’s how stoked they were.
Couples was stoked, too. But alas, he was not able to win. He did manage, however, a tie for 12th, securing for the third year in a row an invite back for his actual play as well as for being a former champion.
But as anyone who watched this year’s Masters knows, it is not only Freddie’s play that makes him seem like Ponce de Leon. It is also his attitude and air, his saunter and style, his sense of having fun and of being happy. Perhaps no one said it better than Rory McIlroy when he opined after Couples stunning second round: “He’s just so cool … I hope I am that cool when I am 52.”
So do we all.
Freddie Couples. Forever young.