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June 25, 2006

Ben Curtis


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome the leader at the time of suspense of play, Ben Curtis. It looks like you'll have to wait one more day to make a run at your second victory on a Tour event, sleep on it one more night.

Talk a little bit about the day, a long day, any time you have to sit through all those delays and then go out there and then stop again.

BEN CURTIS: It's always tough. One of the things you have to expect and know that you're going to go out there and play. It was easy to say that there's no way we can go out there and play, but I tried to keep my mind focused that we were going play and that I had to do well.

TODD BUDNICK: You made a really nice par save on 1 and birdied 2 and stretched the lead already.

BEN CURTIS: I just wanted to get off to a good start. I felt very comfortable, hitting the drive good on 1 and had that long, long putt for birdie. I just felt comfortable all day. And obviously the birdie on 2 helped. I just got in a comfortable zone and was swinging pretty good.

TODD BUDNICK: We'll take some questions.

Q. I guess last night you might have gone through the thoughts of "What do I do?" or "How do hold on?" Are you going to have those thoughts again tonight? And if so, what do you tell yourself?

BEN CURTIS: I'm going to tell myself I still have to play my game and just focus on hitting the fairways, hitting the greens, and giving myself a few chances. I don't want to go to sleep tonight like I've got it won because I still have six and a half holes to go. It's not going to go to be easy but I have to go to bed confident and know that I can do it.

Q. Maybe even more essential, how many alarm clocks and wake up calls are you going to leave so you don't miss your tee time?

BEN CURTIS: Probably a few, but every day is the same. You're always afraid something isn't going to work.

Q. But tomorrow I would think especially you wouldn't want to

BEN CURTIS: I try not to, because then you'll be thinking about it all night and not get any sleep. I'll just do what I normally do.

Q. What situation were you in when the horn sounded?

BEN CURTIS: I hit it in the water on 12, my second shot. I was trying to aim about 50 yards left and that was probably my problem. I probably aimed too far left and came out of it, probably steering it toward the hole a little bit. Made a bad swing, but hopefully I can get that up and down for bogey and move on. It shouldn't be too difficult of a chip. We'll see what happens.

Q. With rain delays, how do you stay in your routine? What did you actually do? Did you leave the course between this morning and 3:00? What did you do?

BEN CURTIS: I left, and then River Road was halfway a river so I thought I'm going back, just in case I can't get back to the golf course. You never know. You may think it's going to keep raining we're not going to play, and all of a sudden you're sitting in your hotel room and you have to rush back to the golf course.

I was just treating it like any other event, like I had already teed off and needed to stick around. I kept busy, drank plenty of water and watched the soccer game, or football game they say, watched that and kept myself busy.

Q. Maybe unfairly, some have you pegged as maybe not showing a lot of emotion on the course. I think I was on 5 that you were talking with Steve Stricker during a break and eating a banana. And then on 6 when you had your approach shot, it was about a few inches from the hole, you had a pretty good smile there. Comment on that. You seemed to be enjoying yourself.

BEN CURTIS: I feel comfortable with my game. There's nothing there that was alarming me this morning, so and last night, you know, be careful this and that. Everything felt good. I've known Steve a little while. He's a good person to play with, and so is Brett, a couple of good guys, so it's like playing a fun round of golf.

Q. You saw the soccer game. Did you have a rooting interest and have you been following the World Cup at all?

BEN CURTIS: A little bit. It's hard because of last week. We were playing Thursday through Sunday. And the same with this week. It's kind of hard to follow. I just enjoy watching it. My caddie is English so he's rooting for England all the time. He was probably happy with the rain delay.

Q. Not a good day for crowds with the rains, but have you picked up fans around here since you've lead all week, and have any of them said anything to you or rooted you on?

BEN CURTIS: Everywhere you go, since I wear NFL stuff, I kind of become the local favorite in a sense, and people are behind you all the way.

Q. How much experience do you have in this situation where you've been in contention or in the lead and now you've got to keep it going for a fifth day?

BEN CURTIS: It's not easy, but obviously I'm playing well so I feel pretty comfortable. I just know if I continue to hit fairways and greens I should be all right. It's not an easy thing to do, that's for sure. I tossed turned a little last night, but nothing major.

Q. Can you take us through 12? Where did you hit it exactly?

BEN CURTIS: I hit it right in the water on the second shot, just in the creek there right by the green. So I had about a 40 or 50 yard chip up to the green. So it should be not too difficult of a chip, but we'll see what's going to happen.

Q. Did you slip on the swing?

BEN CURTIS: No, it was one of those where you're aimed so far left just because of where it was, and it was in the rough, and where the pin is, it's close to the water, I think I was aimed a little too far left and I think halfway way down I steered it towards the hole and lost it. It's just a bad swing, really.

Q. What was the club?

BEN CURTIS: 4 iron.

Q. You're on the verge of maybe reviving your career another step, but you're doing it in a tournament that's also disappearing from the town it's in. Do you have any thoughts, maybe you don't, on those two things? A big up for you but a down for the town.

BEN CURTIS: Hopefully for me it's obviously a step in the right direction where I can dote on it and maybe get a few more wins. It's sad to see a tournament leave that's been here for so long, but that's the way it goes. I wish I could do something about it, but that's something the TOUR deals with. And let them do their jobs, they do a great job. Hopefully this will be the start of something good for me.

Q. How wet was the course and did it affect your round at all?

BEN CURTIS: It did affect me. Obviously it's pretty wet out there. It was playable, definitely not too much water. I would hate hopefully it doesn't rain too much tonight so we can get out there and play tomorrow and finish this. The course is playing good.

Q. You had a 10 footer for par on the first hole. How critical was it in your mind? If you bogey that hole, do you go into a different kind of mindset?

BEN CURTIS: Not really, just because I felt pretty good and I was very relaxed. I was a little nervous, but not too much. I wasn't trying to do too much. It was one of those mind sets, hit a good putt, if you miss it, move on, you can make birdie on the next hole.

Q. Quigley was in a bunker. Were you in any bunkers out there, and what do they look like? Do you need to stay away from them a little bit more because of the condition they're in?

BEN CURTIS: Yes, just because they have so much water in them. They're puddled in the bottom of them, in the flat area where your ball is rolling anyway. Obviously you want to try to avoid them if you could. But hopefully it doesn't rain any more tonight so they get them dried out, get them fixed. It's one of those things. Compared to last week, it doesn't seem too bad.

Q. I know you try to convince yourself it's not over. Deep down you have to think eight shots, seven holes. Do you allow yourself to think that at all?

BEN CURTIS: No. I mean, it's easy to get caught in that, but I'm not going to think that because somebody could birdie the last four holes and the next thing you know it's a four shot lead. It depends on what happens on 12. Make bogey or double, it's a whole new ball game.

I just have to go out there and play my game and not worry about what everyone else is doing and see what kind of score I can post.

End of FastScripts.

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