SAN FRANCISCO -- If you were looking for some tense golf drama on Sunday, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship was not the place to be.
If you were looking for a leisurely up-close-and-personal stroll with golf great Fred Couples playing close to the top of his game, then TPC Harding Park was the ticket.
Couples, who entered the final round with a five-shot lead, wound up winning by six strokes and nobody came closer than four over the final 18 holes. He closed with a 2-under 69 for a 17-under 267 total.
Alas, the lopsided finish not only sucked the suspense out of the tournament but also the Schwab Cup season points climax and the $1 million annuity that went with winning it. Kenny Perry, part of a four-way tie for fifth, claimed that trophy by virtue of Couples' victory, because his only challenger, Bernhard Langer, needed to win the Harding event just to have a chance.
As it turned out, Langer tied for second with Mark O'Meara and Peter Senior, even though he never approached Couples.
"First of all, Fred, I'm going take you to Wendy's," Perry told Couples at the awards presentation. "Let's go get something to eat for helping win this for me."
Couples had his own choice one-liner later in his post-victory media session.
"If I'd shot 75, they'd still be out there and Kenny would be sweating like crazy," Couples said.
Couples, of course, is the man who never seems to sweat. It's what has made him so much more popular and seemingly more accomplished than players such as Perry and O'Meara, even though their achievements are pretty much on par with one another.
"Everybody just likes Fred Couples," Perry said. "He's so laid-back. It's funny how his personality just really brings everybody to him. He's really a neat guy, and people can relate to Fred Couples."
Couples easily had the largest galleries of the week, and that's customary wherever he plays on the Champions Tour, even though he hadn't had a victory since July 29, 2012, when he captured the Senior British Open.
In the wake of his win, Couples ruminated about his career mortality at age 54 and maintained that in 2014, he's at least thinking about making a major competitive push to win the Schwab Cup season title and not just its final event.
"I would like to have a year like Kenny had, and that's a goal," he said. "I don't usually set many goals, because on the regular tour they're so darn hard that the goal is to win. Out here it is to win the Schwab Cup, and I think that's doable if I play a lot and play well."
The play a lot part is the key element. There are 25 events on the tour schedule, and Couples played in only 15 but still finished third in points. Langer, by contrast, played in 24 and Perry 20.
"You know, we'll find out," said Couples, who earned $440,000 for the tournament win. "The Schwab Cup is never my goal, because I can't play 13-14 times and let them play 22 times and beat them. So I'm going to practice, I'm going to be ready."