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Fred Couples doesn’t expect Champions Dinner to be awkward after calling LIV guys nutbags and clowns

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Last month, Fred Couples called Phil Mickelson a “nutbag” and Sergio Garcia a “clown.” Despite those comments, Couples said he doesn’t expect Tuesday’s Champions Dinner, which will include both Mickelson and Garcia, to be awkward.

“I’m not expecting anything different. I sit in a great spot, so I’m down by all the beautiful people that I’ve sat with, and it’s not that the other ones aren’t, but I’m saying [Jack] Nicklaus, Tiger, [Raymond] Floyd, myself, Sandy Lyle, and then right to the head of the table,” Couples said Monday following a practice round with Woods, Rory McIlroy and Tom Kim.

Couples also clarified his thoughts on the players who joined LIV Golf, including Mickelson and Garcia.

“I call myself the same stuff I’m calling them, I just don’t think they should bash the PGA Tour, just go play golf,” Couples said. “Tomorrow night will be a great dinner, will be a lot of fun, and people have asked me, I would love to be paired with Phil. I mean, he’s one of the best players that ever played.”

Couples said the 18 LIV players who were qualified for this year’s Masters should have been given invitations to play and that he would be glad to talk with any of the players who joined the breakaway circuit.

“They don’t bother me. They really don’t. They’re golfers. I’m a golfer. I respect them all,” he said. “Sergio is one of the top 10 players I’ve ever seen hit a ball, but if he’s going to make comments about the tour that I play, I’m going to make a comment back, and if it’s offensive, I apologize, but they’re on another tour. Go play and have a good time. Brooks Koepka, I love; Dustin Johnson, absolutely love. … But I have no problem with anyone on the LIV tour.”