The last time Fred Couples found himself in possession of the trophy after a PGA Tour Champions event – back in October at the SAS Championship in North Carolina – he had the son of Steve Flesch on the bag. Although he occasionally caddies for his father, Griffin Flesch grew up with Couples, and the two have a certain comfort level that shines through quickly when they walk the course.
This week, Couples has the younger Flesch as his caddy again at the Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary, Alberta, and the magic appears to have resurfaced as the 14-time Champions winner used a birdie on the final hole of the day to post a solid 68, which put him in a tie for 13th place after the opening round.
But the couple’s demands on Griffin Flesch are different than when he caddies for his father.
Griffin said Couples simply wants a number for the flag when he’s in the heat of the game, but Flesch asks for front, back and sometimes drags him 20 yards in the rough for an accurate number.
“Well, I’m in it too. Don’t let him fool you, his dad hits the ball very, very clean,” Couples joked ahead of the opening round. “I’ve known Grif since he was young and we’ve had lunch and sat . I don’t even know how it worked, I said you want to caddy and he picked the right week. And then he’s going to caddy there again this year.
“I love the baby. We’re going to have fun.”
Flesch also played well in the opening round with an identical 68, and he said it’s a real pleasure to have his son there even as he searches for a competitor.
The win at SAS was special for the Flesch family, who for years have included Par in a group text chain that has mostly talked about other sports. At SAS, Couples didn’t start the round smoothly, but things got better as the week went on.
“I opened up with a double on the first hole and I’m like, ‘Hey, Grif, nice to have you out here,'” Par joked. “It ended up playing well. Then the second day played well and then the last day was just, you know. He did a phenomenal job. He gets every yardage, he reads a lot of putts. You know, I think and but it was easier for or both of us that I had a big head start, because when you´re only one and you don´t know the guy that well, you can bark at him a little to make yourself feel better.
“I didn’t really have to bark at Grif on the back nine because I birdied every hole.”
For Steve Flesch, who has three Champions titles under his belt, seeing his son enjoy success on the professional circuit was something special.
“Griffin has always had this crazy passion for all aspects of golf,” Steve Flesch said PGA Tour.com. after the victory last year. “He played in college at Xavier in Cincinnati, then he just lost it and transferred to Kentucky. He has now found his game again and is better than ever. He went through a mental meat grinder of emotions and has found the love of the game again.
“I think Fred’s texts and friendly banter with Griff about the Dodgers and Reds and golf played a big part in getting that passion back. Griffin looks up to him so much for his legacy in the game. I can’t think if anyone else he would drop everything to have this week. Well, hopefully me, maybe. Haha. Anyway, this was a bucket list in life for Griffin. I couldn’t be happier or prouder of my son. “