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Old 12-17-2003, 08:07 PM
alysheba88 alysheba88 is offline
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Default Great move by Ben Curtis

Curtis Surprises Again by Going European
Tue Dec 16, 3:51 PM ET

By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Ben Curtis is full of surprises. First, he stunned the golf world by winning the British Open in his first major. Ranked 396th in the world, he beat an intimidating collection of stars, including Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh.



A month later, Curtis refused to let a $6 million World Golf Championship get in the way of his wedding, so he got married between the third and final rounds.


Next up for Curtis might be the most unusual step of all: The 26-year-old from Ohio is joining the European tour.


"Why?" Tiger Woods wondered when told of the decision.


Curtis can expect that kind of reaction.


Winning the British Open put a silver claret jug in his trophy case, $1.1 million in the bank and a five-year PGA Tour exemption in his pocket.


That means he can play his choice of $5 million tournaments on perfectly manicured courses, with the best practice facilities, and compete against the best players in the world.


Why play anywhere else?


"I just feel like it's something I should do as the Open champion," Curtis said. "It's such a worldwide event, not to say the other ones aren't. But this is more of one because of the history. I have a right to travel around and play in other parts of the world."


For most guys in his position, that PGA Tour exemption is the best perk that comes with winning a major.


But the triumph at Royal St. George's opened Curtis' eyes to a world Curtis never really knew existed.


He went to Monte Carlo for a brief honeymoon in September before playing at the Lancome Trophy in France, and a month later he returned to England for the World Match Play Championship. Hearing himself introduced as the Open champion — and the ovations he received — gave him a sense of obligation.


That's when he sat down with his agent, Peter Malik, and tossed out the idea of holding dual memberships on the PGA and European tours.


"It surprised me that he was thinking about it," Malik said. "He said, 'What would be the consequences of joining the European tour? Is that something I could do?' He feels the responsibility of an Open champion is supporting that tour."


Curtis is not abandoning the PGA Tour; he still plans to play 18-20 events.


Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Darren Clarke and Sergio Garcia are among those who are members of both tours, although the list contains precious few Americans — John Daly last year, and now Curtis.


Sometimes, Americans take up European tour membership when their game's not yet good enough for the PGA Tour. Bob May, Gary Nicklaus and Glen Day are among those who started in Europe.





But rarely does a guy who's exempt for five years even bother with anything but the PGA Tour.

"I think it's fantastic," Clarke said. "I think it will be good for his game. All you've got to do is look at Tiger. He plays around the world — Ernie, too. Europe has a lot to offer."

British Open champions receive a 10-year exemption on the European tour, where membership requires $160 in dues and a minimum of 11 tournaments. The four majors and World Golf Championships count toward that number (Curtis is exempt only for the Accenture Match Play Championship).

It sounds as if (news - web sites) Curtis will see more of Els than Woods the first part of the year.

He will start his season with two PGA Tour events in Hawaii, then head to Thailand for the Johnnie Walker Classic. Another tournament in Australia or South Africa is a possibility.

He probably will play six or seven regular European tour events, bunching them together to limit the number of flights over the ocean.

It might not make sense to most people, but it does to Curtis.

He is newly married with no children, an opportune time to see the world with his wife, Candace. He also believes it will help his game, not only testing himself under a variety of conditions, but perhaps getting into contention more often against fields that aren't nearly as strong top-to-bottom as they are in the United States.

Plus, he's treated like a major champion overseas, and not a one-hit wonder that some suspect he is.

"He doesn't get the respect he deserves," Clarke said. "He's the Open champion."

Still, it's a decision that will raise eyebrows.

Global travel, especially coming off a major championship, smacks of appearance money.

That isn't the case with Curtis.

While his European schedule has not been released, three of the tournaments on his itinerary don't pay for playing. And even those that do won't be giving him anywhere near what Els or Garcia might command.

Including the British Open, Woods has scheduled at least three overseas trips each year since 1997. While he was curious about Curtis' decision, he believes it will make him a better player.

"You have to deal with different weather conditions, grasses, different environments," Woods said. "I love playing around the world. You learn so much about yourself and your game."


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Old 12-18-2003, 02:22 PM
BuzzRavanaugh BuzzRavanaugh is offline
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The most amazing thing is Tiger asks "Why?". He figures once you win a major you can lay off and reduce your schedule.

This is a great move by Curtis. Not only will he improve his confidence and be a contender in Europe his game will improve. I think if he stayed on the PGA Tour full time he might disappear and become one of those "fluke" major winners. This way he will get some good ink and when his game improves he will be a factor over here.

I really don't understand why some US players don't play more in Europe. The courses have become very good (except the British Open courses) and the countries are amazing. Why a guy wouldn't want to play in Spain and Ireland is beyond me. Plus the fans truly appreciate the tour over there.
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Buzz, I dont go to games. I buy all the Directv packages and watch them from the comfort of my own home! I dont like listening to all the fans nonsense at games! I pay for blonde women to come over and have sex with my hispanic hottie maid, and sometimes I get involved to make it a threesome! I like to lay in my pool during the day sipping on drinks that have umbrellas!

Luke M
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Old 12-18-2003, 05:59 PM
valueman valueman is offline
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Do you know anything about Golf to knock the British open courses - Golf is not about manicured courses, pristine bunkers, beautiful water features and magnolia bushes it's about testing your game against tough courses and all the elements including wind & rain which you hardly see on the PGA Tour.

Curtis will improve for the experience and good luck to him - Mickleson should do it as well - learn some more shots - it might take him to another level.
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Old 12-22-2003, 04:55 AM
BuzzRavanaugh BuzzRavanaugh is offline
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Valueman I have forgotten more about golf than you will ever know.

The British Open is a joke of a major and its because of the rinky dink conditions and the goat ranch golf courses.
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Buzz, I dont go to games. I buy all the Directv packages and watch them from the comfort of my own home! I dont like listening to all the fans nonsense at games! I pay for blonde women to come over and have sex with my hispanic hottie maid, and sometimes I get involved to make it a threesome! I like to lay in my pool during the day sipping on drinks that have umbrellas!

Luke M
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Old 12-24-2003, 06:06 PM
vega007 vega007 is offline
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Sorry Buzz, you must have forgotten the conditions at the last tourney in Augusta
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Old 12-27-2003, 09:22 AM
valueman valueman is offline
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Buzz - You are totally clueless!
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Old 12-30-2003, 01:41 PM
alysheba88 alysheba88 is offline
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I respect Buzz's opinions on golf, but disagree about the Open. Simply the best major of them all.
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Old 12-31-2003, 03:44 AM
valueman valueman is offline
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Nice to hear some one has value for the origins of Golf and courses that respect the traditions of Golf and the true test required to be recognised a major winner.

Buzz - In future when you make a stupid comment, have the decency to admit you are wrong and move on.
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Old 12-31-2003, 01:02 PM
alysheba88 alysheba88 is offline
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valueman, there is no right or wrong answer to the best major question. All comes down to personal preference. I think the Open is head and shoulders above the rest. Others think the Masters or the US Open. I even know someone who swears the PGA is the best.
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Old 01-01-2004, 05:12 PM
valueman valueman is offline
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I've not said that the British open is the best major but take offence to it being called "rinky dink conditions and the goat ranch golf courses'.

It is different and more varied test of a golfer's skills and for someone who thinks thet know anything about Golf to suggest otherwise shows complete ignorance for the sport. Personally i don't like courses that end up -23 winning which none of the majors are.
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Old 01-02-2004, 06:34 PM
BuzzRavanaugh BuzzRavanaugh is offline
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valueman- I don't believe -23 has ever won a major in the United States. I have always felt that the courses on the British Open are a joke and I have played them all but Troon. I have also felt that the field for the British Open is horrible though that is changing due to them having a United States qualifier for the past couple of years. The US players that go over seem to really like the tourney.

I would respect the R and A more if they brought some of the lakeside courses into the rotation. They are beautiful courses and very modern.

The R and A needs to take a page from the USGA and realize golf is an everchanging game. The most positive thing that was ever done was having the US Open at Bethpage in New York. A glorious layout that they pumped 20 million (which all the links style courses need to do) and after the tournament allow the public player to play the same course at a very reasonable rate. Though in my experience all the courses in England and Scotland are very accessible to most players which is good.
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Buzz, I dont go to games. I buy all the Directv packages and watch them from the comfort of my own home! I dont like listening to all the fans nonsense at games! I pay for blonde women to come over and have sex with my hispanic hottie maid, and sometimes I get involved to make it a threesome! I like to lay in my pool during the day sipping on drinks that have umbrellas!

Luke M
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Old 01-03-2004, 01:48 AM
valueman valueman is offline
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So courses like Turnberry and St Andrews are a joke? They are very different to the US parkland courses but that is the essence of golf being able to play under all condtions - winds, pot bunkers and undulating fairways. Sure sometimes it seems unfair when a tee shot hits a mound on the fairway and goes into trouble in the rough but that evens itself out over four rounds. The different shots a player has to use in windy conditions on UK links courses really is a test that is a challenge that golf pros should relish and not shy away from dismissing it as pot luck - it certainly isn't! Take Tiger Woods performance at Muirfield 2002 - 81 in round 3 - now by his own admission he could not handle the conditions that day and certainly that is probably his only weakness but the course and conditions found him out - NOT MANY MAJORS TEST A PLAYER TO THAT DEGREE and that's why i say you cannot dismiss the British Open as a joke.
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Old 01-05-2004, 04:15 AM
BuzzRavanaugh BuzzRavanaugh is offline
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valueman-

I have tremendous respect for the game. You can't ignore the British Open because they R and A have done a good job and insured they get maybe the best field of the majors.

You are absolutely correct that you are forced to every kind of shot in every kind of weather. NOBODY realizes the conditions, the weather is often hideous and you get some very random bounces. But as you say that is golf. I just argue with the intent of the founders of the game that said its okay to have bunkers be so penalizing that a player can make 10 on that hole, if you hit a great shot that lands in the middle of the fairway and takes a random bounce into the rough or the bunker should you punished so much that it may take you out of competition.

I don't think you are a complete player unless you have won a British Open like Tiger, Duval, Watson, Player and Nicklaus- their careers are complete with that achievement. Seve made his career in the British OPen because he was so creative and the best shot maker ever. Winning the British Open speaks volumes on a players career.

I apologize if I offended you at all in this thread and in the future will soften my position on this matter. It sounds like you are a true golf fan and will be a great participant in this forum.

The first PGA event is less than four days a way. Good luck.
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Buzz, I dont go to games. I buy all the Directv packages and watch them from the comfort of my own home! I dont like listening to all the fans nonsense at games! I pay for blonde women to come over and have sex with my hispanic hottie maid, and sometimes I get involved to make it a threesome! I like to lay in my pool during the day sipping on drinks that have umbrellas!

Luke M
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