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June 27, 2006

Ben Curtis


THE MODERATOR: Welcome, Ben. Congratulations, sir. First Tuesday finish since 1980. Give us your thoughts. You're now, I believe Top 20 in the Ryder Cup rankings. And obviously, you've got two wins in your 20s, the most. You're tied with Vaughn Taylor now. Give us your general thoughts on your win.

BEN CURTIS: It's a fantastic week golf-wise. I mean, I played probably the best I've ever played for three rounds and 16 holes, and then the last two were a little bit of a struggle. It was just a great week of golf.

The course is in great shape and the greens were fabulous. It's hard to describe. It's one of those weeks where you kind of go crazy.

Q. Ben, talk about the two settings, the setting on Sunday at Royal St. Georges and the setting today. Obviously different than most golf tournaments.

BEN CURTIS: Royal St. Georges, there was probably 100,000 people around the 18th hole, and today there were a couple hundred people. It was a huge difference. It was just amazing that we got this done. It's a great feeling. I feel about as good as I did when I won the Open. Everything I've been through and all the hard work and everything. There, it was kind of unexpected. And here, I expected to win. It just took just took three years too long.

Q. You come here as the guy everybody has been waiting to win again. Now as you leave, all of a sudden there's always got to be more expectations. You're in the Top 20, only U.S. guy, another major, period. Is Ryder Cup now the next goal for you?

BEN CURTIS: I think so. It was a goal that I set for myself at the start of this year. I had a couple of good finishes last year, but the points doubled this year, I believe. I knew if I could get off to a good start and get Top 10s and a win I could jump right in there. It wasn't my primary goal. I think my primary goal was to play better again and to become more consistent. I've done that. I want to continue that.

But I'm not going to put any pressure on myself to make the Ryder Cup team. Obviously if I play well it will take care of itself. And hopefully I can continue.

Q. You alluded to it the other day. Do you think you're more prepared now to play well and win again than you were three years ago?

BEN CURTIS: I think so. There was a lot of pressure that comes with winning. I think I will deal with it a little bit better. If I get in the position to win again I think I will handle it even better. I did this week, hopefully. I mean, I handled myself great and I played extremely well under the pressure. Hopefully I can continue to do that when I get these opportunities, to play well on Sunday to give myself a chance to win.

Q. How much did you need to finish this final round just for your -- some tournaments have been shortened to 54 holes and just called it. How important was it to finish it or did you just say, hey, I'll take the trophy and the check now?

BEN CURTIS: I wanted to finish. Anyone that plays this game, they don't want to be 54-hole winner. Obviously you'll take it, you won't complain about it, but I think if you have a choice to play 72 holes, you want to play 72 holes. It's only fair to the rest of the field. It tests you mentally and how tough you are playing down the stretch with the lead. I wanted to do that.

Obviously, weather permitting, we can only do so much. It was just one of those things, as a golfer you want to see how you do under pressure.

Q. What's next? Are you still going to Hartford or are you going to take some time off and relax now?

BEN CURTIS: I'm going to play the next two weeks. I'm planning on playing and I'll head up to Hartford today.

Q. (No microphone.)

BEN CURTIS: I haven't been there. I'll get there the Sunday before and I'll see it on Monday.

Q. Talk about the particulars of today, how different it was. Did anything specific stand out as far as the fact that there were only 33 people on the 17th green or the fact that -- just as far as it being so barren, did anything stand out, like, wow, this is the last two holes of a PGA Tour event and there is under a hundred people around me?

BEN CURTIS: It's strange because it's Tuesday. I think it's just one of those things, people stuck around yesterday to see what would happen and we got rained out. It's tough.

I was surprised we were going to get out there this morning after the rain last night. I mean, it's all hard to say. I think we got in the mode we just want to get the tournament over with and move on to next week.

Q. You mentioned Tuesday, it being a Tuesday and that would be kind of weird. What would you normally be doing in your routine on a Tuesday?

BEN CURTIS: Probably right now I would just be rolling out of bed and heading to the course and playing a practice round. It's kind of crazy that I'm 300 miles away from the next tournament and it's Tuesday.

Q. Did you learn anything this week, aside from not wearing Ravens' gear on a Thursday?

BEN CURTIS: I learned a lot about myself. I handled myself really well. It was a lot of fun to wear the Redskins this week and get the Baltimore out early and keep those in the closet and wear all the Redskins.

Q. Ben, can you identify your family members who are joining you this week?

BEN CURTIS: I've got my mom and dad. Obviously my wife, she is here, 6-month pregnant, Candace. My mom and dad, Bob and Janice. And Candace's parents, Jeff and Diane.

Q. Where is everybody from? They're obviously not local.

BEN CURTIS: My parents are from Ostrander, Ohio, which is just outside of Columbus. And then Candace and her parents are from Kent, Ohio. I met her in college.

Q. And they have been here since Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday?

BEN CURTIS: Friday. They got in Saturday. And they were Friday.

Q. Saturday, 2:00 a.m. stat? Was that a call you made?

BEN CURTIS: They made that call on themselves.

Q. It's probably a little premature, but if this event continues as a fall event next year, would you come back to defend it?

BEN CURTIS: Yes, I'll be back. Hopefully we'll be playing here next year.

Q. You guys took a bow and put your arms up. I want to get a sense of what was going through your head right there when that short putt went in on 18?

BEN CURTIS: I just wanted to make it, finish with a good note. It was just a big relief to get it done and to finally get this win. I've been waiting three years for it and it finally came. And we bowed to the superintendents because they did a wonderful job of getting the course ready. They've worked harder than we have getting this tournament done. So while we're sitting in the clubhouse feeding our stomachs, they're out there doing the work.

End of FastScripts.

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