The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will enshrine Seattle native Fred Couples as the first member of the Class of 2013. Couples will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at its Induction Ceremony on Monday, May 6, 2013, at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The ceremony will once again kick off The Players Championship week. It will be fitting for Couples, who won the 1984 and 1996 Players Championships.
“I am honored by my selection to the World Golf Hall of Fame,” Couples said. “It is humbling to have received the votes and to be included in a group of such legendary players. “I love competing, and I was in a great era of playing with the young Phil Mickelsons and the older Greg Normans, and the (Nick) Prices,” said Couples, who received 51 percent of the vote. “What a great day for me.”
Couples is one of the game’s most popular players and is revered for his picturesque golf swing. It carried him to the top of the game, when he won the 1992 Masters Tournament. He dominated in the early 1990s, winning PGA TOUR Player of the Year and the Vardon Trophy in 1991 and 1992.
Couples grew up in Seattle, and attended O’Dea High School. His amateur career in the Pacific Northwest is legendary. He won the 1976 PNGA Junior Amateur, the 1977 Washington Junior Golf Association championship, the 1978 Washington State Amateur, the 1978 Washington Open, the 1978 BC Amateur, was the Low Amateur at the 1979 U.S. Open and Medalist at the 1980 U.S. Amateur, and won the 1988 and ’90 Northwest Opens. In 1999 he received the PNGA Lifetime Achievement Award.
A winner of 15 PGA TOUR events, he is also a fixture for the United States in team competitions. He played on five Ryder Cup teams, helping the Americans to victories in 1991 and 1993.
“He’s a fan and media favorite,” said Davis Love III, one of Couples’ closest friends who finished second in the Hall of Fame balloting, and who chose Couples to be his assistant captain at next week’s Ryder Cup. “He made it look so easy but he always tried. I know he will be thrilled and it is much deserved.” At the induction ceremony, Couples, one of the game’s most-entertaining and sometimes confounding speakers promises to be a highlight of the festivities. “It will be a fun speech. It might be the first Hall of Fame dinner I go to,” Love said.
Couples has also been a large part of the American success at The Presidents Cup. He played on four U.S. Teams, with three emerging victorious. He also captained the winning U.S. Presidents Cup teams in 2009 and 2011 and will once again lead the Americans at the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village.
Couples has won five times internationally, and since turning 50 in 2009, he has won eight times on the Champions Tour, including major championships at the 2011 Constellation Senior Players Championship and the 2012 British Senior Open Championship.
The Hall of Fame will round out the Class of 2013 by announcing inductees from the International Ballot and Veterans and Lifetime Achievement categories in the coming months.
For more information on the Induction Ceremony and the World Golf Hall of Fame, visit www.worldgolfhalloffame.org.
(World Golf Hall of Fame contributed to this article.)