The "old-timers Tour," the "past-their-prime Tour" and the "AARP Tour" are all names hung on the Champions Tour over the past decade. But that image of doddering golfers -- an image that the Champions Tour has long fought, by the way -- will take a serious beating this season with the addition of Fred Couples.
Certainly, fields featuring past major champions are nothing new to the Champions Tour. Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo and Tom Watson are just three of the Champions vets with some of golf's greatest titles to their names. Where Couples separates himself from the rest of the 50-and-up crowd, however, is that he still looks the part of a PGA Tour golfer, both in physical appearance and in game.
While most players on the Champions Tour can hold their own with the best in the world from 100 yards in, Couples can still run with the younger crowd off the tee. That's something that the Champions Tour has never witnessed. Plus, the fact that Couples, at the Champions minimum of 50 years old, doesn't show his age the way many others on the Champions Tour do certainly doesn't hurt his chances.
It's not overreaching to say that Couples, in effect, could have a Tiger-style effect on the Champions Tour. His advantage off the tee will not only lead to success on the Champions, it will also drive the curiosity of the average fan, just as it did with Tiger. Once again, it's the young buck against the seasoned veterans, and just like before, people will tune into see the "rookie" outdrive his fellow competitors by 50 yards.
You know the saying "drive for show, putt for dough." The show has been missing from the Champions Tour -- but Freddy's here to fill that void.