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May 27, 2009

Ben Curtis


RODDY WILLIAMS: Ben, thanks for coming in and joining us. Welcome to The European Open here at The London Golf Club in Kent. The last time you were playing competitively here in Kent, you made a pretty big impression do you know at Royal St. George's. Is it nice to be back in the same county.
BEN CURTIS: Of course. Don't really remember much at Kent, other than the course and where we stayed, but yeah, it's always good to be back in this part of the world, and it's always good to come to London and England to play golf.
RODDY WILLIAMS: That was some finish at Wentworth last week, you must have enjoyed that.
BEN CURTIS: It was. It was a bit of a frustrating round up to that point, but yeah, it turned around in a hurry, that's for sure. It was something that you only dream about, you don't really -- it doesn't really ever happen, and the way it happened was fantastic.
RODDY WILLIAMS: And obviously that will help you with a bit of confidence coming into this week no doubt.
BEN CURTIS: I hope so. I was playing pretty decent coming in here, or coming into last week, as well, and you know, each day, I just didn't play as good, and as the round went on but as the week went on, obviously the finish helped.

Q. Being a Kent man, going back to Royal St. George's, did you feel that because it was in Kent that perhaps this might be your time, looking back?
BEN CURTIS: Well, at the time I didn't even really think -- put two and two together when I was there, not until after this happened, that it became such a big deal that it kind of registered to me that playing golf at Kent State and Kent, Ohio and end up winning a major in the County of Kent.
So obviously at the time, you're just so focused when you're at an event, you sometimes don't even see those kind of things. I was just out having a good time playing golf, and a lot of times, that's when good things happens, when you're not expecting to do much.
So to answer your question, no, I didn't really put two and two together.

Q. In the immediate aftermath of winning The Open, did it make it very difficult for you for the next two or three years on Tour?
BEN CURTIS: Yes and no. I mean, it made it easier in some ways, but yeah, it was tough, because you know, obviously right after you win a big event like that, you think you can win every event. And to not get the results that you want, and to come up short a few times when I did have the chances, yeah, it takes a toll on you, and you want to go out there. You feel like you should win almost every week that you play.
But golf doesn't work that way. It just took a couple of years to realise that you've just got to go out there and be myself, play my game and not worry about what every else is doing. Just try to focus on my game, and if it's good enough, then it's good enough. But if not, it's a crazy game, because just when you think you've got to figured out, it comes back and bites you.
So you've just got to be careful and just always keep working hard, and that's what I've done the last couple of years. The results are starting to show.

Q. Sergio said yesterday that his form is slumped since he was dumped by his girlfriend in March and that was the reason; do you find that the state of your personal life has any bearing on how you play?
BEN CURTIS: Well, I think obviously the happier you are off the course, the happier you are on the course. Everybody deals with it differently. We just had our second child at the end of 2007, so all of last year played well even though it was quite tough on the road with them, week-in and week-out, just kind of wears on you.
But it was obviously for the better and we were happy doing it. Every week, taking two kids with you and just hearing your wife, you know, it makes you tired. But at the end, it's a reward, as well.
It's hard to say. It's always easy to blame it on something else, but at the end of the day, it's our jobs and we still have to go out there and perform. Sometimes it could be a relief to get away from it, too, just to get your mind off of that. When you're off the course, Sergio might be thinking about it quite a bit, but when he's on the course, it might be a good way for him to kind of put that in the back of his mind and think about it.

Q. You probably had your best year last year since winning The Open.
BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I enjoy it. We were talking about maybe possibly having a third and making it really too difficult for them to travel, so I'd rather have them out travelling, because when you're away from the course, it's a good way to get your mind off of it; you get two kids running around and it's quite fun. It's good stress relief, actually.

Q. How old is the oldest?
BEN CURTIS: 2 1/2.

Q. You had a great record last year in the majors for The Open and the PGA Championship; how do you approach a major event now with Turnberry coming up, what do you know about the course, and how much preparation would you do for something like that, in your mind?
BEN CURTIS: I just remember what I've seen on TV, but obviously that was '94. The course is probably going to change, and it's a lot different when you get there than when you see on TV, as well.
I don't really know much about Turnberry. As far as a major, to prepare mentally, you just try to prepare and just try to get your mind in the right set where you know if you shoot even par, you're not going to be losing ground; you're going to be graining ground, and that's the mind-set that I take in and that's the only thing I try to focus on. Especially at the U.S. Open at Bethpage, you start missing a few fairways and making a couple of bogeys, you kind of forget about it in the past and move on and just keep trying to make pars and giving yourself chances for birdies and try to make it as easy as possible on yourself without making it too stressful.
That's the only thing I really work on. I don't try to do certain shots. Obviously you probably work on your short game a little bit more, because it's that much more important in those events than the other events. Yeah, that's probably the only thing I really focus on. I try to go out there and hit a hundred different shots that you don't even know if you'll have anyway.

Q. As a golfer, does it excite you when you know you'll play a place like Turnberry, the history that goes with a course like that?
BEN CURTIS: Oh, definitely, any time you go to a new course, like this week playing here, it's a lot of fun to see the different courses. It takes a little time to get to know it.
Obviously Turnberry, I'll probably play it two or three times before the event starts, so I have a pretty good idea what I need to do. It's always interesting. I love links golf, you've got to hit every shot in the book, and that makes it fun.

Q. Phil Mickelson used to say he did practice specific shots that he thought he might use at the British Open. Do you approach it like that?
BEN CURTIS: No. I mean, it's quite weird, because you could be 20 yards off the green and have four different options; whereas at home you only have one option. And even if I practice those shots it doesn't reflect what it will do on a links course. So for me, it's kind of like why even really practice it. Maybe practice it more when I get there.

Q. If I could ask you a general question about your experience of Europe now, there's a widely-held view that The European Tour, the players socialise more and tend to mix at night. Have you found a great deal of difference between over here and what you experience on the PGA?
BEN CURTIS: Well, I mean, it's hard, these two weeks, got our family out and staying with my caddie this week, so it's quite different.
But yeah, overall, I think this tour is more of a guys' tour, the Europeans, that is more of a family tour. Everybody has got a base in either Florida, Texas or California, so everybody is kind of in their spots and it makes it easy, because we live in Florida half the year, and so for eight or nine events, we're real close to events. So it's easy for families to travel and a lot of guys do that. So they seem to travel more with their families.
Over here, because you play all over the world, it's tough for the families to go over week and the guys have a tendency to hang out and stay in the same hotel. But I guess the guys that are single probably think the same thing on our tour. It's just that I've never been really single on our tour, so it's hard to tell. Those guys probably hang out a lot more and think I'm crazy.
Overall I think on both tours, the guys are great and they just have a good time playing everywhere they can.

Q. In the immediate aftermath of you winning The Open people started staying, oh, because your results were not good, you were a one-hit wonder, and such good results proved that wasn't the case, but through that period you must have heard those kind of whispers. Is that damaging to your confidence and difficult to keep out of your head?
BEN CURTIS: No, not really, because I knew what kind of player I was, and what player I could be. So for me, I go to bed at night and sleep well knowing that I've put my best effort into it, and know that I deserve that victory. That's all that matters, and the people around me know that, too.
So that's all that mattered. Obviously it's a good motivational tool. I could use it as a tool.

Q. But then when you started to win on Tour and really kind of justify yourself in many respects, that must have made it doubly satisfying.
BEN CURTIS: Yes and no, because I didn't really pay attention to it to be honest with you.
I was just more worried about getting my game in shape where I could come back and play well and win again. It's a big learning curve, as well. I mean, that was my rookie year. You know, everybody that has been out here on Tour, has a year or two where they struggle. Even Tiger does, even though it's to a scale a lot different than mine and some of the other guys.
It's a big learning curve and you understand that you have to learn more about your game, as well, as you get older and you know what you need to do to prepare for each week. It just takes some time to figure that out.

Q. We saw some footage last week of Padraig Harrington practicing with a Happy Gilmore-style tee shot. Wondered whether you had any success with it if you tried it?
BEN CURTIS: I've tried it but the ball never moved off the tee. (Laughing) It's quite a talent to actually hit the ball to do it.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Ben, thanks very much indeed. Thanks for your time and good luck this week.

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