One for the aged: Couples oldest to make cut at the Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Fred Couples had played mediocre golf by his standards the past four years, and while the 1992 champion had come close to making the cut at the Masters on one occasion, he hadn’t played the weekend since 2018.

Well, Couples got to play Saturday. Then keep playing when he finally made the cut.

The 63-year-old fan favorite had to finish his second round, which was suspended Friday because of the weather, and ended up 1 over for the championship. That was good enough to make the cut, which came at 3 over, and for Couples to break the mark for oldest player at the Masters set by Bernhard Langer during the 2020 tournament.

“That was my objective, and I did it,” Couples said, before adding: “It’s not like, ‘Ha, ha, ha. Now I can screw around and play 36 holes for fun.’ I’m going to try and compete. Play a good pairing with some younger guys and watch them play.”

Couples has made 31 cuts at the Masters, trailing only the 37 that Jack Nicklaus made during his career. At one point, he made 23 straight to tie the record set by Gary Player, and which was equaled by Tiger Woods later Saturday.

“I feel like here I can compete with myself to make the cut,” said Couples, who had fallen to 4 over with nine holes to play in his third round when play was suspended for the day Saturday. “I can’t compete with Viktor Hovland or Jon Rahm or anybody, but I can compete with myself, and that’s really why I come. That’s what I like to do is make the cut here.”


The Masters announced Saturday that its total purse this year will be $18 million, an increase from $15 million a year ago, and the winner will get $3,240,000. That’s more than the entire Masters purse of $3.2 million at the Masters 25 years ago.

None of the majors has matched the PGA Tour’s $20 million purse for elevated events, and The Players Championship has a $25 million purse. The next major is the PGA Championship, and PGA of America officials have been waiting to see what the Masters would do with its purse. The PGA Championship also was at $15 million last year.

The U.S. Open purse last year was $17.5 million. The British Open purse was $14 million.

Meanwhile, the individual purses for Saudi-backed LIV Golf events are $20 million.


Twelve of the 18 players from the LIV Golf circuit made the cut at the Masters, led by four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, who was leading at 13 under when the third round was suspended due to heavy rains and standing water.

Three-time champion Phil Mickelson and Joaquin Niemann were at 4 under and tied for eighth, while Patrick Reed was at 2 under and Cameron Smith at 1 under. That means five were among the top 23 and ties when play was halted.

The others making the cut were 2020 champion Dustin Johnson, 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel, Talor Gooch, Abraham Ancer, Mito Pereira, Harold Vaner III and Thomas Pieters.

“For sure,” Smith said, “I’d love to see one of us guys get up to the top of the leaderboard and really give it a nice shot.”


Two former champions bid farewell to the Masters as competitors Saturday when Sandy Lyle and Larry Mize completed their second rounds in the cold, driving rain. Lyle was on the 18th hole and Mize another hole back when play was suspended, and both decided they would rather come out to hit a few more shots than withdraw.

“Yeah, that was very special for Sandy to come out and greet me there,” Mize said. “Sandy’s a good friend, a great champion, and to finish off with him is pretty cool. Yeah, I liked that.”

The 65-year-old Lyle won his green jacket in 1988, the year after the 64-year-old Mize chipped in for birdie in a playoff with Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman to become the first Augusta native to win the Masters.

Knowing they would have just a few shots left as competitors, how did Lyles choose to spend Friday night?

“A lot of tequila,” the Scotsman said, “and a bit of whiskey tasting at about 1 o’clock this morning.”


AP golf: and

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