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March 16, 2006

Ben Curtis


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Ben Curtis at 5 under par 67 today. Obviously you played fairly well. Talk about your round out there.

BEN CURTIS: Just got lucky, as well. I hit it really well off the tee and when I missed the fairways, I was lucky enough to advance it towards the green. I think the big thing is last few weeks I haven't been able to hit a good iron shots and hit a lot of quality iron shots and made the putts. So just a lot of good things happened.

JOE CHEMYCZ: What do you mean, you "got lucky?"

BEN CURTIS: Just a few holes, like I missed the fairway on 1 and was able to advance up by the green and missed the fairway a couple other times and had good lies. The rough out here is pretty thick, so you can get some tough lies.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Guys have been talking about the conditions and the rough, the premium on hitting fairways this week.

BEN CURTIS: Exactly it's not an overly long golf course, so it's going to get firmer and faster as the week goes on and the greens are in good shape and you've just got to avoid the rough if you can.

Q. What did you do as far as your iron play?

BEN CURTIS: Went back to fundamentals and just kind of needed to work on a few things. I was just getting a little bit long in the swing and just flipping the hands up through it at impact, so just trying to extend through the ball and to keep the ball flight down a little bit. I had a tendency to hit it up in the air, especially in Miami, you can't do that with the wind.

Here a little bit today, it didn't blow that hard, but enough to affect the ball. So just need to get back to basics where I can control the shots.

Q. How much does it influence your attitude during the day when you're missing fairways here and there and you're drawing the good lies, a lot of times is that just the short of thing that can turn a day around?

BEN CURTIS: Exactly. You may miss three fairways the whole day but you can't advance it 30 or 40 yards. One of those days where I wasn't missing the fairway by much, so I felt pretty confident with the driver and just stepped up there and tried to make good swings. Yeah, hopefully everything just keeps going the good way.

Q. Are you far enough removed from St. George's where you feel like you're just kind of free to be Ben Curtis, the guy trying to make his way, rather than living up to all of the stuff?

BEN CURTIS: Well, obviously the first couple of years has been difficult. Every time I went out there, I tried to use that to my advantage instead of disadvantage. I think a lot of I did a lot of things that maybe I just wasn't preparing the right way. Maybe I thought I was and just wasn't.

So now this year, I'm kind of leaning towards focusing on the things I really need to work on instead of what I thought I needed to work on.

Q. What's the difference?

BEN CURTIS: Well, I think I got to just banging shots and just practicing just to be practicing instead of focusing on one thing. I could cut it in half, but as long as I work on what I need to work on instead of if I drove it good, there's no sense in going out there and hitting driver all day on the range. So just kind of work on the things you need to work on.

Q. Are you happier with your start this season compared to last year?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I think the West Coast, I never made much money and I think I made more this year than I had in the three previous years in total. You know, I got off to a good start, played really solid the first three weeks, and then went to L.A. and just struggled a little bit. Was fortunate enough to make the cut. I just didn't play well on the weekend, and then it kind of carried over to Miami. Just a few bad habits with the swing, like, you know, hitting iron shots, I just wasn't hitting them very good. So I just went back to working on that. Hopefully this will be a start of something good.

Q. Do you ever watch the tape of your British Open victory just for the heck of it to reminisce or do you not think about it?

BEN CURTIS: Well, I think about it. I try not to think about it in that way. I don't try to watch it. I haven't watched it since seen a few things here and there on TV with my parents and stuff, but I try to live off the memory I have on the course instead of trying to re live it that way.

Q. Is this a course that you feel comfortable on, or is it a tough fit for you; how do you look at this?

BEN CURTIS: Well, I like it. It's an old style golf course. You don't see too many golf courses like this in Florida. Mostly you have wide fairways, so just go out there and bomb it.

This is my fourth year hear, so that obviously helps. It's one of those things, it fits to your eye and I just enjoy the whole golf course. It's one of those if you hit it well and play well, you can shoot a good number. If not it's going to come up and bite you.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through if you would, birdie at 4.

BEN CURTIS: Just hit it in the fairway bunker and laid up to a nice wedge, 110 yards or so and hit it up there about 15 feet and made that for birdie.

6, I kind of hit it in the right rough and ended up to about 130 yards away, hit 9 iron in there to about five feet and made that.

9, I hit a 4 iron in there to about six, seven, eight feet somewhere in that range and made that.

13, shanked a 2 iron off the tee pretty much, stuck a 6 iron and made that.

14, I missed the green just short left in the rough and I had a difficult lie and just kind of nubbed it on the green. 2 putted about 30 feet.

17, I hit a 5 iron in there to just behind the hole about 15 feet or so down the hill and made that.

Then 18, I hit a 6 iron in there to about, I'd say, ten feet.

Q. You put a lot of distance on the field birdieing the last two holes; would you agree?

BEN CURTIS: You'd like to think so. I played here when I've had to hit 2 iron into 18 in the rain and stuff. You know today it was probably playing about as easy as it could. The greens are soft and receptive, so and I had good yardages on both holes and was able to step up there and hit it right at it.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Ben, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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