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August 23, 2006

Ben Curtis


CHRIS REIMER: Good to welcome Ben back. Good to be back, I assume?

BEN CURTIS: Oh, yeah. Any time you can stay in your own bed, that's a nice treat. You know, I'm looking forward to it.

Q. These are your colors this week?

BEN CURTIS: These are my colors this week.

Q. Every day?

BEN CURTIS: Every day, no question.

Q. No Bengals coming out this week?

BEN CURTIS: No Bengals, definitely no Steelers.

Q. Talk about the conditions of the course out there. How is it playing?

BEN CURTIS: It's playing good. There's a lot of rough. We've been getting a lot of rain this year, so this shouldn't be trouble getting the rough to go.

Q. Last time you were here you were getting married. You're getting a little more settled?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, no wedding this weekend.

Q. Just a pregnant wife?

BEN CURTIS: Well, she's in a wedding this weekend. She's like, Every time you play in this thing there's a wedding going on.

Q. Would you mind explaining the things that you've worked on with Hank Haney and how he's helped you and what your goal is through that?

BEN CURTIS: Well, we started last year, probably May of last year, and we just got in some bad habits on my back swing, so working on getting that back on plane. We seem to have gotten that taken care of and now just working on a few little things. Just a couple things on the follow through, trying to keep my wrists more solid through the impact stroke.

What you see Tiger doing, that's what we're trying to do, as well. I'm hitting the ball a little more solid. Just got to get the flat stick going.

Q. Do you trade notes with Tiger on what you're doing?

BEN CURTIS: No, not at all. I don't get to see him very much and everything. But Hank, we talk about it when I see him, we talk about what he's working on and how he's doing and what he does to maybe do some of the stuff that we do. Most of the time it's just between Hank and I.

Q. With the PGA over now, what kind of goals have you set for yourself the rest of the year?

BEN CURTIS: Obviously this was a big week. After I won, this is one of the tournaments I was really looking forward to. I've played here a few times this year, so I feel like if I can putt well, I feel like I can contend here. I'd like to try to contend for the title, but just have fun and enjoy it.

And with the baby coming, I just want to play as much as I can until that time and try to do the best I can and just enjoy it, try not to put pressure on myself. I don't want to have to feel like I have to go out there and do something special. My only goal is just to have fun and enjoy it.

Q. Baby is due on Ryder Cup Saturday or something?

BEN CURTIS: Monday actually.

Q. Will you play at all throughout the rest of the year?

BEN CURTIS: I don't know. It depends on where I stand on the Money List. You know, hopefully I can play good enough here where that would get me into the TOUR Championship and I wouldn't have to worry about it and just play there.

But we'll see. Obviously it depends on the health of the baby and everything like that, and see how we're doing at home, as well. So no guarantees.

Q. I've heard you had some really great practice rounds or just playing around here. Was putting the key when you really did well? Not maybe competitively, but just playing around Firestone?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, it's hard to play the South Course, there's so many people. So we go over and play the West Course. There's not a lot of people out there. Usually when I do when I'm home, I putt well it seems like. A couple times Herb and I came out and we tried to work on putting and I'd make everything (laughter).

I think I need to free myself up. When you start putting bad in tournaments, you start thinking about it a little bit more. This week I'm going to try to just putt it and not really think about much.

Q. What do you think of the FedEx Cup and how do you think you'll approach it next year?

BEN CURTIS: It won't be any different for me. I'll probably play a couple events more, but I think it's going to be good. It's going to bring a lot of excitement, that's for sure, a lot more than just the money and the majors. I think every week something drastic could happen, especially this time of the year next year is going to be really fun to see how it unfolds.

I mean, I'm sure it's going to be interesting. There's going to be some changes out there next year, but I think it's going to be exciting.

Q. Do you have any particular opinion as to things that might change?

BEN CURTIS: Well, I think it's hard to say. It's one of those things you're going to have to it's going to have to play out, and then we'll see. You might see guys that will play more not next year but the year after, or there might be a lot of guys that play next year and say you don't need to play as much as you think and then play less.

The whole idea is to get us to play more, and I think it will. But maybe in five years it may not be the case. Who knows.

Q. There are about 144 guys qualifying for the Championship Series. Does it seem like a lot to you?

BEN CURTIS: I think it's a fair number. You're all trying to play for your card. It would be hard to say we'll knock the field down to 80 guys or 70 guys or 100 guys. Then you've got the other 50 guys, and what are they going to try to do?

I think it's going to affect Q school the most. A lot of guys who got to play 20 events up to this point may only get to play 15 or 16 events. It's going to be tough on those guys more than anybody else.

Q. Being from such a football crazy state, when you first heard about this were you kind of skeptical about doing this during football season, the whole concept?

BEN CURTIS: Not really. It's a good idea. I think once the playoffs start and the football, once they get going in the middle of the year it is tough to compete with them, it's such a popular sport. I think they're doing the right thing. They might tweak it next year, might finish the season earlier or might go a little bit later, so we'll see.

Q. Next year this is the week before the PGA. Can you see some people not coming to this?

BEN CURTIS: No, they'll be here. It will be a great tune up for a major. It plays like one, long and narrow fairways, a lot of rough, fast greens. I mean, it could be good preparation. You might see guys get a little frustrated at the PGA playing two weeks, but it'll be fun.

Q. What did that victory at the Booz Allen do for you confidence wise? I'm sure you probably thought people are looking at me as the guy who won the British and never heard from me again. I'm just saying that's sometimes the vision of somebody who wins a major for the first time, then doesn't win. Was it something that got you over the hump mentally?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I think so. It's hard living with that monkey on your back saying you've only won once and it was a major. You'd like to go out there and solidify that first one and get that second win.

Yeah, confidence wise it's gone way up. I've played well this year, made a lot of cuts, just been a little streaky with the putter, and I felt like if I got that going especially I hit the ball really well at the U.S. Open but putted terrible, and then the greens weren't the best there. Then we went to Booz Allen and the greens were perfect, just got a little confidence with the putter. It was a lot of fun to be in contention again. I had a couple chances since I won and just maybe played poorly on Sunday and fell back and had a chance on Saturday and Sunday, maybe played poorly on Saturday and shot myself in the foot.

But obviously it does a lot, and I think now I know that if I get in that position again, I can hold onto the lead and win. I think after I won the British and I got into contention a few times, you get a little doubt, especially if you weren't playing your best.

Q. Do you think you're a lot better player than you were when you won the British?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I think so. I'm more patient. You know, when I went over to the British, it was one of those things, you don't expect anything. You just kind of went over there and took it all in and just played and had fun, and sometimes that's the way you should play golf. It's hard to do that after you win. It's hard to tell yourself just to go out there and play well, so you put a little more pressure on yourself than you need to.

Q. Did you ever figure out if you get an extra year exemption from winning the Booz? Because your manager didn't have a clue.

BEN CURTIS: It took us about an extra week, but we figured it out.

Q. What was the answer?

BEN CURTIS: Through '09, one extra year.

Q. Congratulations.

BEN CURTIS: Thank you.

Q. Can you see yourself under any circumstance playing any of the seven tournaments after the FedEx Cup next year?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I'll play a few. I think definitely Orlando, being at home, that will be nice down there. I haven't even seen the schedule. I know that probably Vegas is in there and Orlando I know, but I haven't seen the schedule yet.

I'm sure I'll play a few. You don't want to take that big break, especially if you haven't played your best. You'd like to definitely try and get in that Top 125 for sure. Hopefully I won't have to worry about it, but if I'm outside I'll want to try to play to get in there.

Q. Even if you finish, say, 40th in the FedEx Cup competition thing, you might go out and play Disney and Vegas just to keep going?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I think so, unless I won like six times or something and felt like I needed a break.

Q. Then you'll play Singapore?

BEN CURTIS: (Laughing) yeah, I'll play a few events.

Q. What was the best part of your day at Browns' camp?

BEN CURTIS: Making a 35 yard field goal. It took about five tries, but I made it.

Q. Had you ever kicked before?

BEN CURTIS: I did a long time ago, but it's a lot harder than it looks, that's for sure.

Q. Did you bring that up to Herbie?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I did. He says he can still make it from 40, but I don't believe him. He's too small (laughter).

Q. What do you think of the Browns' chances this year?

BEN CURTIS: We're always optimistic (laughter). You'll know on September 10th. Romey is a good coach. He's doing the right thing and he made the right acquisitions in the off season, so if it's not this season, maybe next year.

Q. What's more likely to happen, Browns going into the playoffs or the U.S. winning the Ryder Cup?

BEN CURTIS: U.S. winning the Ryder Cup.

Q. As well as Tiger is playing right now, is it even worse coming to a place where he's won so many times?

BEN CURTIS: No, I think he's human. I mean, hopefully he's a little tired this week and I feel a little energized and we can have some fun. Obviously he feels very comfortable here; he wins every year basically.

Yeah, it'll be fun to go out there and see what can happen. There's a lot of guys playing good right now. It just takes one of those two guys to get hot.

Q. Have you gained confidence in your own technique because Tiger struggled a little bit with it, with the transition to Hank's ideas. Does it validate it for you in any way? I know you're different people, but is it similar stuff you're working on?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, it's very similar. Yeah, I mean, it was obviously different, and it took a little while to get used to, especially last year. Not so much this year. This year I just had a couple weeks where I hit it bad, but the rest of the year I've hit it pretty good, wouldn't complain about the way I hit it.

It was tough to get used to at first, but I'm hitting the ball solid, and I seem to hit it a lot more solid now than I was in the past. I don't see it being a problem. I think I can contend here.

It's made me a lot more confident. As bad as I putted last week the first two days, even though I had to birdie the last to make the cut, I felt if I can get within tap in range, I felt like I could do it, and I did. It's one of those things, you get a weird feeling. Right now the last three months I've been swinging really well, I just needed the putter going.

Q. What was the most uncomfortable part mechanically that you needed to change?

BEN CURTIS: Well, the back swing was much different than what I was used to. I used to take it back all arms, and now he's got me setting it much earlier than what I was used to. For me that was very difficult to get. The timing became a big issue with that, and once I figured it out, it was okay.

Q. Would you just kind of address what it was like sitting around so long at the Booz, and then you had to worry about playing on Tuesday?

BEN CURTIS: I think Sunday night was a little more difficult. Sunday we didn't tee off until 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon, and then Sunday night, my last shot went in the water, and even though I had a seven or eight shot lead, it still wasn't a good feeling to have at the end of the day.

Yeah, it was frustrating. You know you're playing well, you just want to get out there and play because I was hitting it really well, I was putting good, and you always think, well, the more we sit around, the more the timing could disappear.

But I just continued it and I didn't really worry about what everybody else was doing, just focusing on what I needed to do to win. I think that was the biggest thing, just going out there and playing my game, and if someone shot 62 or 63 on the last day to catch me, I was trying not to worry about that.

Q. Did you talk to Danny Sahl after the Ohio Open?

BEN CURTIS: No. I saw he won. That was good.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Ben.

End of FastScripts.

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