Ben Curtis wins the Valero Texas Open

Ben Curtis wins the Valero Texas Open

Posted in the New York Forum

Since: Oct 12

New York, NY

#1 Nov 27, 2012
The American had tumbled down the rankings after a lean few years and had lost his full playing privileges on the PGA Tour, but he has given himself some security now after winning an event for the first time since the Lumber Classic in 2006.

The 34-year-old now has the rest of this season on Tour and a further two-year playing exemption, as well as the princely sum of $1.1million lining his pocket. He'll think all his Christmases have come at once.

I wasn't confident Curtis was going to see off the likes of Matt Every and John Huh during the final round in San Antonio, though.

He looked very shaky on the back nine, hit some off-key putts with his discount golf clubs and began to feel the heat, which is understandable considering his lack of form over the last few years. In the end, however, no-one else really came at him and he did just enough to win.

What's commendable is that when the golfing gods weren't shining on Curtis over recent times he kept going and believed that at some point things would fall right for him.

He played over in the Middle East, looking to keep his game going and at the Texas Open, albeit with a weaker field, got a start.

Ben has always been a good player and lest we forget that he wins the 2003 Open Champion with his fabulous taylormade rocketballz irons.

People will say he only won that major at Sandwich by default when Tiger Woods and Thomas Bjorn blundered, but he still went around the course that week in the fewest shots.

He had won two other times on the PGA Tour prior to Sunday's triumph, too; that's a good career and something a lot of players won't achieve.

When Curtis plays with confidence and gets on a venue where the greens are very good, he putts beautifully. He can also be a very steady hitter and last week at Texas was the best I've ever seen him swing the club.

Ben's problem is that that he is not a dynamic player and doesn't have the power to dominate a golf course, while I also think he may have struggled to cope with being a major champion.

If you're ready to win a major early in your career with your taylormade burner 2.0 irons, as Rory McIlroy was, it can only boost you but there are a whole slew of players - Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton, Sean Micheel, Rich Beem - who weren't major-type players but got their hands on one.

Expectation levels then went through the roof and those guys were unable to deal with it; their greatest victory acted as somewhat of a curse.

Ben is one of a whole bunch of players who can win on the PGA Tour occasionally and have a nice life. That hasn't happened recently but now he can relax and get back to it.

Targets now for Ben include qualifying for the Tour Championship at the end of the year which means being in the top 30 of the Fed-Ex Cup points in the autumn. It's very doable.

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