Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tour Notes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tour Notes

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits, Times-Union sports writer

GETTING TO KNOW CURTIS

British Open champion Ben Curtis (who before last week was known as Hooters Tour Myrtle Beach Open champion Ben Curtis) withdrew from this week's Greater Hartford Open, citing fatigue from all the celebration with family and friends after he shocked the golf world at Royal St. George's last week.

Can anyone blame him? Plus, he's getting married next month and likely has to scramble for more invitations and a bigger reception hall.

In the aftermath of his one-shot victory over Vijay Singh of Ponte Vedra Beach and Thomas Bjorn, the public learned this: Curtis is from Ohio (but didn't play at golf-factory Ohio State; rather, at Kent State); had won professionally only on the Hooters Tour (which came to the Ravines last year, when Curtis shot 7 under and picked up up a check for roughly .002 percent of the value of his British Open check); and he grew up on a public course owned by his grandfather and maintained by his father ("Hey, Dad . . . I don't like spinach and will you please get the Stimpmeter down to about nine or 10.")

Here are some more Curtis fun facts:

-- He jumped from 396th on the World Golf Rankings to 35th, the largest one-week jump since the rankings were created in 1986. But what's more amazing is that prior to the start of the 2003 season, Curtis was ranked 1,269th.

-- Curtis didn't always back into championships. When he won the second of his two Ohio State Amateurs, he blew away the runner-up by 17 shots.

-- When Curtis qualified for the PGA Tour last December at the National Qualifying Tournament at PGA West, he staggered home with a 75 in the sixth round, and got his card by only two shots.

-- Curtis was a member of the U.S. team that won the 2000 World Amateur Team championship, at the Berlin Sporting Club in Germany. He played with David Eger of Ponte Vedra Beach, Jeff Quinney and Bryce Molder, a foursome that beat Great Britain/Ireland by 16 shots. …

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