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Hard to get: With Davis Love III already on board, SAS adds Fred Couples to field

Fred Couples will play next week’s SAS Championship in Cary for the first time since 2011.
Fred Couples will play next week’s SAS Championship in Cary for the first time since 2011.

With Davis Love III already committed to play, the SAS Championship has landed the other hard-to-get star in senior golf. The PGA Tour Champions event in Cary confirmed on Wednesday that Fred Couples will play next week as well.

That’s a big pair of commitments for the tournament, Oct. 11-13 at Prestonwood Country Club. The tournament already had defending champion Bernhard Langer, the tour’s dominant player, but with Love, Couples and the return of John Daly for a third straight year, it has the three most popular.

Couples has played SAS twice before but not since 2011, and the 59-year-old’s status for this tournament was questionable right up to this week’s deadline to commit, as always because of the back issues that have plagued him for decades. Love, the Charlotte native and UNC product who will be making his first appearance, committed to the tournament last month.

“It is great to get Freddy back to Cary,” tournament director Jeff Kleiber said in a statement. “I know Prestonwood is a course he likes and we are excited to have him join our field.”

The two major winners and World Golf Hall of Fame members are two of the most popular players on the tour, but also the two most hard to get. Love has played only five senior events so far this season and Couples 10. Only two tournaments this summer -- the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in upstate New York and the Boeing Classic in Seattle, both in August -- were able to land both.

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Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.