• The American has only missed two tournaments since 1983 debut
• Couples cited 'acute back issues' has his reason for withdrawing
FRED COUPLES | THE MASTERS
Fred Couples will miss his first Masters Tournament for more than 20 years after withdrawing citing ‘acute back issues’.
The 56-year-old, who won the Masters in 1992, has teed it up at Augusta National all bar twice (1987 and 1994) since making his debut back in 1983 and currently holds the record for the lowest 72-hole score posted by a senior (279 in 2010).
Couples has experienced back problems throughout a large chunk of his professional career, with the American undergoing experimental treatment in 2011. He was forced to withdraw from the US Senior Open last June having not played competitively since April 2015, with a clear sign that the issues which have plagued him aren’t going away.
And the 15-time PGA Tour winner will certainly be a miss. In recent times, he’s faired incredibly well at Augusta National, regularly appearing on the top page of the leaderboard with top 20 finishes in five consecutive years from 2010-14 before missing the cut last year.
He also holds the joint lowest career scoring average for those players who have played 100 rounds or more around the Georgia track, posting 71.98 alongside six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus.