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Masters 2012: Fred Couples Aims For 'Walk-off' Win At Augusta National

"It's a little bizarre," 52-year-old Fred Couples says about sharing the lead after the second round of the Masters.

Mar 31, 2012; Humble, TX, USA; Fred Couples smiles as he waits his turn between the third and fourth holes during the third round of the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club-The Tournament Course.  Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-US PRESSWIRE
Mar 31, 2012; Humble, TX, USA; Fred Couples smiles as he waits his turn between the third and fourth holes during the third round of the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club-The Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-US PRESSWIRE

Say it ain’t so, Freddy! Fred Couples, sharing the 36-hole lead at the Masters after firing a 5-under 67 on Friday, said a win this week at Augusta National would be his swan song to golf.

“You’ll probably never see me again,” Couples told reporters, according to several Twitter blasts. “It will be a walk off.”

Hard to believe he was serious, especially after the 52-year-old, who won the Masters 20 years ago, turned back the clock so convincingly on Friday when he posted seven birdies and two bogeys on his way to a tie at the top with 35-year-old Jason Dufner. For sure, Couples may never be ready to bid adieu to the course he called “my favorite place in the world to play.”

Still, what better way to end a storied career than with what Jim Nantz would, no doubt, call a win for the ages in a tradition unlike any other? There’s far too much golf between now and Sunday night to declare Couples the victor just yet -- especially with 20-somethings like Rory McIlroy (knotted with several others at 4-under), and old guys like Phil Mickelson (who rebounded with a 68 after Thursday’s 74 to sit three shots back) all within striking distance.

But judging by the reception he received on the course and the reaction on Twitter to Couples’ stellar round, many golf fans would like to see him become the oldest player ever to drape a green jacket around his shoulders.

Indeed, Couples may be old enough to be their father, but it really was no surprise that he was contending with the young guns bombing their way around Augusta National on Friday. After all, in the 27 years (2012 is his 28th) he’s played in the Masters, he’s figured a few things out about how to make his way around the cozy confines of Bobby Jones’ legendary track.

“I just wanted to hit it solid today,” Couples told ESPN. “I made a couple of great up and downs but it was a very manageable day.”

That’s what you get with Couples -- no tricks, no gimmicks (no f-bombs or tossed clubs); just one of golf’s most effortless swings and a position atop the leaderboard. What a curtain call it would be.