Fred Couples makes return to Open at Muirfield

Fred Couples, right, and Slugger White during a practice round Tuesday for Open Championship at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland.

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Fred Couples hasn't played an Open Championship since 2006, when he missed the cut.

That will change this year at Muirfield as Couples, 53, tees it up in the Open Championship for the first time in seven years.

"It's great to have the chance to play in one more Open," Couples told TheSportsCampus in a story published on Monday.

Couples has nine top 10s in his career at the Open Championship, but no victories. His best Open finish is T-3, which he's achieved twice, in 1991 at Royal Birkdale and in 2005 at St. Andrews.

Of course, Couples isn't one of the favorites to win this week at Muirfield. But he will be the favorite next week at Royal Birkdale, where he will look to defend his Senior Open Championship title.

So forgive Couples if he isn't already thinking about his championship defense.

"For a while I thought about maybe not playing Muirfield because (Royal) Birkdale is so important to me," Couples said. "But then toward the end I thought that would be the dumbest thing ever not to play one of the top courses in the world."

Couples said his goal is to relax at Muirfield and "be ready to play well the week before defending." A good finish this week will certainly pay dividends at Royal Birkdale, but Couples knows solving Muirfield won't be that easy.

"If I can play well at Muirfield I think I can do well at (Royal) Birkdale, but it has been a while since I've played the Open," Couples said. "You can't just show up there and play."

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