Next year, in a sense, he’ll be coming back for good.
Couples, who also won the 1992 Masters and was the first American ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, was named this week as the first member of the Class of 2013 in the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum in St. Augustine.
The Hall of Fame is about 25 miles southwest of TPC Sawgrass. This year’s class included Peter Alliss, golf writer Dan Jenkins and Couples’ contemporary on the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson.
“Obviously to see Phil Mickelson become a Hall of Famer was truly fun, and now it will be my turn next May during the TPC week,” Couples said.
“But for everyone who votes for this thing, I'd like to say I fooled you, but it's been a long career, 31 years of playing.”
Over his career, few players have been as universally loved as Couples. He swings unhurriedly, yet "Boom Boom" was one of the longest players in his PGA Tour prime and is now the same on the Champions Tour. He has an easygoing demeanor to match the swing, and men and women equally have followed him in droves over those 31 years.
Couples will be inducted on May 6, 2013, and have a display of artifacts of his choosing; what might he lend to the Hall of Fame? In addition to his 15 PGA Tour wins, he played on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams and four Presidents Cup teams and captained two victorious Presidents Cup teams. He attended the University of Houston with Blaine McCallister, who went on to play on Tour, and Jim Nantz, who went on to become a CBS sportscaster.