Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Curtis Enjoys Sandwich

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Curtis Enjoys Sandwich

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Garrod

You may not have heard the name before but get used to it - Ben Curtis is here to stay.

The 26-year-old's incredible Open championship victory from the depths of 396th in the world has opened more doors than he probably knew existed.

For a start Curtis is now eligible for every Open until he reaches the age of 66. That comes in the year 2043.

He can play in the next five Masters, United States Opens and US PGA championships as well - starting with next month's PGA in Rochester, New York, where he will play the first two rounds with Masters champion Mike Weir and US Open winner Jim Furyk.

But that's not all.

For Curtis can tee off in any event on the US Tour he chooses for the next five years.

He is also exempt from qualifying for the next 10 Players' Championships and this year's two remaining World Golf Championship events.

Heady stuff or a player who until last week had never even played in a major.

Curtis said: "I want to keep as normal as possible - I'm just a normal guy with a lot of talent.

"My life is going to change but I'm looking forward to it. A lot of great challenges lie ahead of me. It's going to be awesome."

Not that money means so much any more.

His career earnings on the US circuit at the start of this season amounted to 6,020 dollars but the man from Kent, Ohio, is pounds 700,000 richer for one week's work in Kent, England.

Then there is the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth in October.

He is also guaranteed a spot in that - and the winner from the elite 12-strong field will take home an astonishing pounds 1 million.

All because of what he did at Royal St George's over four days of drama-packed action - and what Thomas Bjorn did over the last four holes yesterday.

Bjorn looked set to give Europe its first major champion since Paul Lawrie in 1999 when he moved three ahead - courtesy of Curtis having four bogeys in six holes after grabbing six birdies in the first 11 to lead by two. …

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