Fred Couples says he’d like to serve as Ryder Cup captain, but he may be too late

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Fred Couples has been the winning captain for three U.S. Presidents Cup teams and has been a Ryder Cup vice-captain twice, including two weeks ago at Whistling Straits where the U.S. routed Europe 19-9.

So when will Couples get his chance to captain the Ryder Cup?

Perhaps never, he said on Wednesday.

“Now I’m a little old for the system,” the two-time Players champion said after warming up for the Wednesday pro-am in the PGA Tour Champions Furyk & Friends. “I mean, would I like to be Ryder Cup captain? Of course, but that’s probably not going to happen.”

The Ryder Cup is run by the PGA of America and the Presidents Cup by the PGA Tour.

Speculation is that the 61-year-old Couples might have a chance in 2023 in Rome because of his Italian ancestry. His paternal grandparents came to the U.S. from Italy and changed their name from Coppola to Couples.

Couples said his main strength as a Presidents Cup captain and assistant Ryder Cup captain is sensing a player’s mood and state of his game just by having a conversation.

“I can just see in their eye something’s going on,” he said. “And it’s easy. Golf is kind of secondary for me. I was a good player and I knew my game, but I can feel out other people’s games pretty easily, I just have a knack for saying ‘what’s going on?’ and I enjoy that.”

Couples had one reason for the U.S. team’s victory this year.

“I’ve never seen people not nervous in my life,” he said of the demeanor shown by a young American team. “There was something going, I don’t quite get it. They’re all better players than probably I’ve ever been, but there was just — there wasn’t much nerves.”

Couples was in charge of a “pod” with Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay. That foursome combined to go 14-1-2.