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October 31, 2006

Ben Curtis


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Ben Curtis, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on earning your first berth in the TOUR Championship presented by Coca Cola, two wins and a recent birth in the family. Maybe talk about your season.

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, it was really good.

Q. Two first berths.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: And your football team is No. 1.

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, that's true. Everyone is going well right now.

Q. I didn't know Kent State was No. 1.

BEN CURTIS: Ohio State. But it was a great year from start to finish. Had a lot of solid tournaments, just didn't put anything together. And then halfway through the year got a victory, and then a few months later got another one. With little Liam coming along, it's been fun. This is my dream season.

Q. Looking ahead to next year to the FedEx Cup, pros and cons in your mind? That is obviously a pretty big change to the Tour that's had a pretty similar structure for 16 years or whatever it's been?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, it's going to be pretty exciting. There's going to be a lot of media attention, probably more so than there is now. Every week is an important week for especially the guys up top and the guys at the bottom. But yeah, I'm really looking forward to it.

I think the buzz that's going to be generated is that the FedEx Cup is going to be good. After the first couple years there will probably be some tweaks involved, but you've got to expect that with the new system.

Like I said, 60 years of doing this. Now it's time for the change, and they're going to have to make some changes over the course of the next few years.

Q. What have the past few weeks been like being a new father, just your experiences with that?

BEN CURTIS: It's been tiring.

Q. Sleep much?

BEN CURTIS: It's been good. He sleeps five hours at a time during the night. He's only getting us up between 3:00 and 4:00, so it's not too bad. He's a lot of fun. Obviously being really young he's not doing a whole lot, just sleep, eat, and poop. Changing a lot of diapers. But, yeah, he's been good and hasn't been sick or anything, so we've been lucky.

Q. In that order?


Q. How old?

BEN CURTIS: Six weeks.

Q. Has Candace been out at all? Is she here this week?

BEN CURTIS: She's here. She came out last week and then she's here this week.

Q. I'm just curious, Kapalua, what NFL team colors do you wear at Kapalua?

BEN CURTIS: I'll probably be wearing the Pro Bowl, whatever they play out there in Honolulu. I'll probably be wearing that, or Super Bowl, one of the two.

Q. Are you more confident with yourself how would you compare your confidence level now compared with after you won the Open?

BEN CURTIS: A lot more. I think getting thrown into the thick of things was maybe a little overwhelming. Probably at the time I thought, Ah, I can handle this. But I was still young. It was my rookie year on Tour. I think if that happened now, I think I'd be better prepared.

You know, I feel like I've made some changes, and I just felt like I needed to get more consistent. There were times that were way up and down. I had two bad weeks and then a good week, and then go back to those bad weeks and play bad for a couple months. Then you maybe throw in a good tournament here and there.

So it was good to get more consistent from tee to green, putting. If I'm putting good, I feel like I can contend every week. When I don't putt well, that's usually when I don't play well.

Q. Which win was more meaningful for you this year, given that both of them are off the schedule now, by the way?

BEN CURTIS: I think 84. You look at the golf course, and it doesn't suit me well. You know, it's a bomber's paradise, wide open fairways. So just to be able to win on a course that you wouldn't think you should be able to compete to win, that's a big thrill. That gives you a lot of confidence knowing especially like for the U.S. Open and The Masters, now they're such long golf courses that you need to hit it long and straight.

To be able to win on that, that type of course, even though the fairways are 60 yards wide, but at least it gives you confidence knowing that you can play well on a good long golf course.

Q. What are the guys saying in the locker room about Tiger and Phil not being here, and what are your thoughts on that?

BEN CURTIS: I haven't heard too much about it. They have their right to play in the tournaments they want to. You know, obviously for me to be here, I wouldn't miss it for the world. But they support golf throughout the whole world and they've done so many good things for the Tour, I don't see it being a big deal.

Q. If you don't mind a blunt question, to what degree or extent did you pick up on people referring to you as a fluke after St. Georges?

BEN CURTIS: I didn't really worry about it. I was probably a little blind to it, just didn't really pay attention to it. You hear more about it in the media than you do in your own locker room.

Q. I'm not suggesting it bothered you, but surely you were aware of it.

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I think you're aware of it more so through the media than you are through the players you're playing with.

Q. Do you have any sense at all that that's gone now because of what you've done this year, as you've mentioned not just Booz, but backing it up with another course where you shouldn't be contending based on style of play?

BEN CURTIS: Exactly. I think you can tell that there's a lot more respect maybe. But everybody out here is they're all good guys and we're all the same. We're out here to do one thing, and we all seem to be competing to get it to this level and to be at the top of your game, and it's good to be there.

Q. But you never got a return call from Letterman, either?

BEN CURTIS: No, I'll have to win another major.

Q. You and Jonathan Byrd are the only two Americans in their 20s with multiple wins. Have you got any theories on what's right or what's wrong with the U.S. pipeline? That everybody is looking at the Ryder Cup team, they had Casey and Donald and Sergio and those guys are all in their mid 20s and our guys are over 30?

BEN CURTIS: I don't know what the deal is. There's so many great young players out there. I think you look at Ryan Moore, he's probably the next young good player to he's going to win out here before long, next year or two. He's such a good player. He's so strong mentally. I don't know why there isn't more players.

You look at the Nationwide Tour, you've got Bryce Molder probably going to move up, and there's probably a lot of high expectations for him. It's hard to pinpoint why it is. I don't know if they got out on the European Tour early and then got up in the World Ranking points and then were able to

Q. Maybe they learned how to win over there?

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, exactly. You know, it's a great Tour over there, and there's a lot of great young players in Europe. I think a lot of them have come over here to play college golf, and that's helped them out a lot as well.

So there's no one or two things or one reason why there's not a lot of Americans out there. I don't know if it's just because the Tour is that difficult now where it's hard for them to get out here. But once they get out here, then they'll probably be all right.

Look at Troy Matteson, what he did in college and stuff like that. It took him 25 tournaments to get going. It's just there's not one reason why.

Q. You won your first tournament standing on, I guess, the clubhouse porch watching the other guys finish, and then the B.C. what, did you sleep on the lead five, six nights there?

BEN CURTIS: Five nights.

Q. Sorry, Booz, I meant D.C., not B.C. you couldn't have more polar extremes.

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, exactly.

Q. Being a marked man the whole week versus the British, you snuck in there and the other guys were still out there.

BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I was at least a couple shots from the lead at the British. Never got up to the lead and was never far behind. Obviously being a rookie, nobody knew who I was. But then I got off to a great start Sunday, was one of those magical days where everything you look at you make, especially the first 12 holes or so.

Luckily I hung on and won. But the Booz Allen was a totally different thing. I wasn't even that nervous until, what is it? Sunday night when I hit my last shot in the water, even though I still had a six , seven shot lead. It's not a good feeling when you hit your last shot in the water and they blow the horn and you've got to wait 12, 15 hours until you go back out there.

Then I hit one shot and I hit it about four feet and they blew the horn again. I was on a roll (laughter).

Q. It truly was one shot at a time, wasn't it?

BEN CURTIS: Exactly. That was one of those that just that was a marathon, it wasn't a sprint. 84 was more like a sprint it seemed like.

Q. Where couldn't you

BEN CURTIS: There was water, that's true.

Q. You mentioned Troy Matteson, who's had a phenomenal month really, and you could also make a case for someone like Brett Wetterich, who had a terrific May. Have you thought much about the fact that you won in June and in September? I mean, there's a lot of people out here that have their months and do their damage in a stretch. To have separated that over four months?

BEN CURTIS: Looking at my career, I mean, you could probably boil it down to ten tournaments. That's where you make all your money. That's how that's what it is for most guys out here. You've got two or three good tournaments a year keeps your card, or two or three solid tournaments a year gives you enough momentum to keep your card. That's what it is.

The money is so good and it's so top heavy. Plus you get on a roll like he did. He played three straight weeks and he just never let up. That's the way golf is, too. It could go bad like that for three weeks, as well. You could play well, go home for two, three weeks, come back out and can't find the golf course. I mean, that's just the way this game is.

You have to be on top of your game every week out here or you won't play well.

Q. What is your World Ranking, do you know? You don't know?

BEN CURTIS: Mid 60s probably. It was mid 60s before I came back out, I don't know. It was after the 84 Lumber. I haven't paid attention.

Q. You mentioned the 84 course. What type of course do you think more suits you, the doglegs and Colonials and Harbour Towns?

BEN CURTIS: Those are my style because you have to think more off the tee. 84 Lumber I don't think I hit 3 wood off any of the tees, you'd just step up and hit driver. I like to think around the golf course and where it's tighter trying to you know, I like to hit driver a lot, but also I feel confident if it's a 350 yard hole and everybody is hitting 4 or 5 iron off the tee, I can hit driver and get down there by the green. That's the confidence I have with my driver. So I'd like to see it maybe narrow up a little bit.

Like 84 you look out there and the fairways are (indicating five feet). Which is good. You've got to have your mixture of courses. You can't have them all the same.

Q. Your baby born in Orlando or Ohio or


Q. That was by design?

BEN CURTIS: By design.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Ben Curtis, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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