x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Couples OK with missing Super Bowl to spend weekend at Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Seattle native willing to swap prime seat for two more days in Dubai

Fred Couples says he is OK with giving up prime seats at the Super Bowl to spend the weekend at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
Fred Couples says he is OK with giving up prime seats at the Super Bowl to spend the weekend at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

DUBAI // Fred Couples knew he was going to take some abuse, so he went ahead and fell on his sword.

A shot on the wrong side of the projected cut as he played the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Friday, Couples birdied the last two holes to make the weekend, thereby sabotaging some well-choreographed travel plans.

Couples had a pricey ticket on the 50-yard line for Sunday’s Super Bowl, which features his hometown team, the Seattle Seahawks, who are making their second appearance in the NFL’s grand showcase. He will pass it along to a friend, instead.

“I birdied the last two,” Couples said, shaking his head. “Please call me stupid.”

Couples got the ticket through a Seattle sports-radio host about six months ago, and as the Seahawks moved through the play-offs, things got more and more interesting.

A past champion in Dubai, he had committed to play in the 25th anniversary tournament on the same weekend, too.

If he made the weekend, that is. After he bogeyed the 16th, he came back with the two closing birdies to make the cut by two.

“I just couldn’t butcher enough holes,” Couples said, laughing. “I will watch it on TV, which is the next-best thing.”

Couples, 54, is tied for 44th place with Tiger Woods, among others. When it was rather forcefully insinuated that he could have quietly tanked the last couple of holes to make his flight to the game, the Hall of Famer said that was not an option.

“There’s no way I would ever not [try],” he said. “Really, I’m tickled pink.”

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