Riviera fans love to love Fred Couples.
It's not just because fans wanted to see the older guy win. Or because at 51, Couples won't have that many more opportunities for glory on the PGA Tour. The dark hair he sported when he won the Northern Trust Open in 1990 and 1992 has faded to gray, but Couples is still the same guy. Albeit with more aches, pains and soreness.
Couples has such a bad back he can't sleep or board a plane right now. And when he's driving, he has to make pit stops just to walk around and stretch.
Golf fans wanted to see him win the Northern Trust Open because they love Couples, and Couples loves being here. He's got personality. And isn't it fun to watch someone who enjoys what he does?
"Everyone loves Freddy," said Kevin Na, who played with Couples in the final round. "I love Freddy."
There's probably not a guy in the field who wouldn't have been grinning from ear to ear to see Couples win if he couldn't do it.
Couples can play blindfolded here, he said. He started Sunday's final round with three consecutive birdies, including a chip-in on the second hole.
After his birdie on No. 3, he owned a one-shot lead. All seemed destined for him to win at his favorite course, where he estimates he has played 150rounds.
He even skipped the Champions Tour stop in Naples, Fla., this week, an event he won as a 50-year-old rookie last year, so he could play at Riviera.