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April 15, 2004

Ben Curtis


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the MCI Heritage. Good round with the conditions. You're the first player we've had in this afternoon. Talk about the conditions going out, finishing up and a little bit on how you played.

BEN CURTIS: Well, the conditions weren't too bad out there. The trees block a lot of the wind, so you don't really feel it down there. But, you know, it's up there a little bit. And I was surprised coming down 17 and 18, it wasn't blowing harder. There's still a little wind up there, you just don't feel it down below. You see the flags flowing out there, but not as bad as I thought it was this morning. I'm pleased with the round. I had one bogey, and it was a 3 putt. But other than that I played pretty solid.

Q. What's with the visor, I don't remember you having Carolina's affiliation, did you?

BEN CURTIS: No, I don't. I have a deal with Reebok and the NFL, each week I wear a different one.

Q. Were conditions right for good scoring this afternoon, and how good was a 68?

BEN CURTIS: I don't know if they had some tough pins out there. You had to be very careful with your shots. I hit three or four fairways where I had to hook it or slice it around a tree just to get it on the green. You had to have a little imagination out there. 68 is a good score. I think if somebody shoots four 68s, they have a good chance this weekend. The fairways and greens are soft. If it gets firmer, it's going to make it tougher.

Q. Usually the low scores come in in the morning rather than the afternoon.

BEN CURTIS: Well, it depends, some weeks it could be blowing hard in the morning and really cold and have conditions that makes it tough. But today I think it just I don't know what it was like this morning at 7:00. I'll find out tomorrow morning. I'm sure it wasn't I'm sure it was cold. But for the most part when I got up at 8:00, it was pretty calm out there. We'll see tomorrow.

Q. Have you played in this tournament before?

BEN CURTIS: No, first time.

Q. What were your thoughts about Harbour Town as far as the golf course?

BEN CURTIS: It's a very good golf course. You've got to place your drives. Most courses you've got to worry about placing your second or third shot. But here you've it's your drive you have to be most careful with. The greens are relatively flat, they're small, so it makes it nice, so you've got to hit good shots. When you do, you have a chance to birdie, and that's what makes this golf course good. It doesn't have to be a lot of yards to be a good golf course, and this is a good example.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can we go over your birdies and bogeys, starting with No. 2.

BEN CURTIS: Birdied No. 2, got up and down out of the bunker, hit it to 10 or 12 feet and made that.

No. 5, I was hit it in the front fringe in 2 and chipped up to a couple of feet and tapped that in.

9, I hit a little pitching wedge to about three feet.

3 putted on 14.

17, the par 3, I hit it to two feet, and that was a nice, easy birdie. I hit a 6 iron.

Q. When did you get here and play some practice rounds?

BEN CURTIS: I got here Sunday night, we drove over from Augusta. I played 9 holes on Tuesday, and the Pro Am on Tuesday. I worked hard on putting Monday and Tuesday. That's where I've been struggling all year. And I've been working hard on it. Things are starting to turn around with that aspect. Hopefully it will continue and I'll do well this weekend.

Q. How much difference is the putting here and Augusta? I know the hills and everything, but besides that?

BEN CURTIS: Well, I think the biggest thing is the speed. The greens over there are so fast. I mean, there's so much slope in them, but they're so fast on top of that. And it makes it that much more difficult. It looks like it's going to break six inches and it breaks a foot. And it's one of those things here pretty much what you see there's a little grain, but what you see is what you get. It's not going to overbreak like it does there. I think for me it gives me a little confidence knowing that you don't have to give the hole away. You hit it left center and hit it hard and you have a chance.

Q. Is there an adjustment on the speed? Is it difficult to adjust to the speed?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah. But I've been here four days now, so I had a couple of light putts that weren't too good. But I've been hitting a lot of putts more solid. That had a lot to do with it. But for the most part the first couple of days I got the kinks out pretty well.

Q. Are you happy what you've done since the British Open or do you think you should have done a few more things?

BEN CURTIS: I'm not completely happy. I know it's been close. This year I missed a lot of cuts by one or two shots. If I was missing them by six or seven shots I think it would be a different story. But I'm missing them by one or two, I know it's real close to being something good. I feel like my golf swing has been there all year long. I've hit a lot of great shots. Maybe one or two golf swings a round really hurt me. But if you're putting well, it doesn't make that much of a difference. Maybe if you have a double in a round it may hurt you. But if you're putting good, you know, you have chances for birdie and have a chance to get those back. For the most part I'm not happy with it, but I'm not disappointed. Because I know I mean, it's still a learning experience for me. A lot of these courses I'm seeing for the first time still. So, you know, it's going to take a couple of years. I know it's not it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. I want to be out here for 15, 20 years, if not more. But I think for the most part I just want to take my time. And there's still a lot to learn out here. And not just with the golf course. So I think for the most part in a couple of years I think I'll be where I want to be.

Q. Was there at all, for lack of a better word, a hangover effect after the British Open, change in expectations, changes in the way people looked at you, maybe changes in the way you looked at yourself?

BEN CURTIS: I think people have thought that. But I haven't let it get to me. The first couple of months after I won was difficult to practice. But because I had a lot of other obligations , but now I've been able to work hard on the game. I've seen a lot of improvements in other areas other than just the certain areas I need to work on. But a lot of other parts of my game have gotten better. And I think that's I just need to keep improving and keep working hard. I don't really pay attention to the media or what people are saying and whatnot. But I just go out there and play golf and try to do the best I can.

Q. Did it make you think maybe that hey, I've arrived or I'm further along than I was a week ago or anything like that?

BEN CURTIS: Obviously winning I was a little bit surprised to see that happen that quickly, but it's just one of those things that if, you know, you work hard at your game, you plug it in every week, you're going to have a chance. You've just got to take care of those opportunities and maybe this might be my week or it may be six months down the road later this year. You just never know. When you get in that contention I think for me it felt good, because I hadn't been there in a while. Hopefully if I get that chance again it will be the same.

End of FastScripts.

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