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Posted April 7, 2021, 5:10 pm
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Fred Couples' driver joins legacy of donated clubs from past Masters winners

  • Article Photos
    Photos description

    1992 Masters winner Fred Couples is helped into his green jacket by Ian Woosnam.
    [Margaret Sellers/The Augusta Chronicle]

Fred Couples missed the memo or wasn’t asked, he’s not sure which, to donate a club from his Masters Tournament victory to be displayed at Augusta National Golf Club.

Couples, who won the Masters in 1992, found out late last month that he was the only champion, starting with the inaugural tournament in 1934, not to donate a club.

“To be honest with you, just seven or eight days ago, ten days ago, there was an email out all about Augusta, the great things about it, and one of the things was my name was mentioned as the only guy to not give a club to Augusta National,” Couples said on Wednesday after a nine-hole practice round. “I had no clue. No clue at all.”

He ended up finding the driver – a MacGregor Eye 85 which had a persimmon wood head – that he used that year. 

He knows it was the driver because it was in a bin with a gold-plated Ping putter that the company gave to him after he won the 1992 Masters.

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Photos: Wednesday practice round

“I do know that was my driver because I had it in a very safe place,” Couples said.

He brought the club with him this week and showed it off on the driving range on Wednesday morning before giving it Augusta National.

“There were a few guys laughing,” Couples said. “I think they were laughing because I think maybe they thought I won in 1970 instead of 1992.”

Couples said he continued to use that driver the rest of that season. He was asked if he – or anyone else – tried to hit the driver on the range.

“No, not me,” he said. “I haven't hit a wooden driver since, but they all laughed at it. I mean, it's the size of this microphone. Now my driver is this big and I can barely hit it.”

In 1993, he said he started hitting a metal-headed driver.

“I lost a bet to a TaylorMade guy, so I used his driver, and then I continued to use a metal wood from then on,” Couples said.

En route to victory in 1992, Couples’ tee shot on the par-3 12th hole miraculously hung up on the bank instead of rolling back into Rae’s Creek. He chipped, saved par and ended up winning by two shots.

“The wedge that I chipped on 12, I don't remember what kind that was,” Couples said. “I think it was an old Wilson, and I have that, but I didn't want to bring that because I wasn't sure. The driver is the one I used.”

Fred Couples Masters Record

Year Place Score 1 2 3 4 Earnings
2020 T81 +6 77 73     $10,000
2019 T73 +5 78 71     $10,000
2018 T38 +3 72 74 73 72 $46,200
2017 T18 +1 73 70 74 72 $148,500
2015 T89 +9 79 74     $10,000
2014 T20 +2 71 71 73 75 $101,160
2013 T13 -1 68 71 77 71 $145,600
2012 T12 -2 72 67 75 72 $156,800
2011 T15 -4 71 68 72 73 $128,000
2010 6 -9 66 75 68 70 $270,000
2009 T51 +2 73 73     $10,000
2008 T46 +4 76 72     $10,000
2007 T30 +13 76 76 78 71 $43,085
2006 T3 -4 71 70 72 71 $315,700
2005 T39 +7 75 71 77 72 $32,200
2004 T6 -2 73 69 74 70 $189,893
2003 T28 +6 73 75 69 77 $43,500
2002 T36 +6 73 73 76 72 $26,950
2001 26 -2 74 71 73 68 $44,800
2000 T11 E 76 72 70 70 $105,800
1999 T27 +4 74 71 76 71 $29,000
1998 T2 -8 69 70 71 70 $281,600
1997 T7 -2 72 69 73 72 $78,570
1996 T15 E 78 68 71 71 $43,750
1995 T10 -6 71 69 67 75 $57,200
1993 T20 E 72 70 74 72 $17,000
1992 1 -13 69 67 69 70 $270,000
1991 T33 -1 67 73 72 75 $6,371
1990 5 -4 74 69 72 69 $50,000
1989 T11 +1 72 76 74 67 $25,567
1988 T5 -3 75 68 71 71 $36,500
1986 T31 +3 72 77 70 72 $4,875
1985 T10 -1 75 73 69 70 $16,800
1984 10 -5 71 73 67 72 $16,200
1983 T32 +7 73 68 81 73 $2,900

Couples said if he knew the club would like a club after his victory, he “probably would have” given them the wedge since it is the club he used for his most famous shot.

Some champions give replicas or backup clubs that look like the ones they used in their victory. Not Larry Mize, the 1987 champion who chipped in on the 11th hole – the second hole of sudden death – to beat Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros.

"For me at least, because of the circumstances of my victory and the chip, I thought it was important for me to give them the club," he said. "They have the real deal. That's the club I chipped in with."