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But, Bissell added, it was clear to those close to Fred that the marriage was slowly deteriorating. In 1992, Fred was the PGA Tour Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Much was made of a fight the Coupleses had when Fred missed the cut at the British Open that year.Fred wanted his wife at more golf tournaments -- and with him afterward. He wanted to leave Scotland right away; she wanted to stay.Glenn Straub, owner of the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, also was surprised to hear of Couples' suicide.After watching her take on the male-dominated sport in the 1990s, Straub was impressed with Couples' toughness on the polo field, where she broke ribs and fingers, and sprained her neck."Babycakes, I luvya," Deborah cried out in '83, when she bolted onto the green and wrapped her legs around Fred at the Kemper, his first professional victory.
The snorting and the foam and the clinking, the battling ... Although they already owned homes in Palm Springs, Calif., and Newport Beach, she and Fred bought a house in Wellington, and Deborah -- already an accomplished equestrian -- began to play polo. She was extreme, boorish, unique -- a woman who played with the men, cursed like them, too, and changed out of her dirty, sweaty shirt right there on the field.There were choices made that are hard to understand. She had a history of depression and had been "severely depressed" during the two weeks before she died of suicide, said Scott Carrier, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office. That never changed -- from the day she jumped into her husband's arms after he won the 1983 Kemper Open to the afternoon in May when she leaped to her death from a chapel in Claremont, Calif. Police used Deborah's Florida driver's license -- issued in 1996 when she still had a home in Palm Beach County -- for the initial identification. Then again, Deborah Couples, the flamboyant fortysomething ex-wife of golfer Fred Couples, always did manage to make people wonder what she was thinking.A friend also reported Deborah was in pain -- two recent car accidents had exacerbated injuries from a collision a decade ago.