April 2 2013
By Tim Price, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN ANTONIO -- Maybe winning the British Open didn’t make Ben Curtis a recognizable star 10 years ago -- even if he did hit golf balls off roof tops in Manhattan to celebrate during a taping of “Late Night With David Letterman.”
Curtis tried his best to remind everyone last year when he won the Valero Texas Open. But even that didn’t work.
“We went up to the sports bar up here at the hotel (next to the golf course at TPC San Antonio),” Curtis said, “We sat there for four hours and no one -- not even one person -- came up to us the whole time we were sitting there.”
Curtis had to really shake his head when, just a few feet away, the Golf Channel was beaming highlights of his victory earlier that day.
The low-key Curtis is not one to complain about a lack of the limelight, though. Getting his game back on track is more important.
That win in San Antonio was his first in six years, his last since winning twice in 2006 at the Booz Allen Classic and the 84 LUMBER Classic. It truly marked a career revival when, after winning in Texas, he finished fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship and tied for second at THE PLAYERS Championship two shots back of Matt Kuchar.
The best he’s done in a full-field event this year came recently when he was 21st at Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
“I haven’t played great this year,” Curtis said. “I’ve had a couple of decent finishes, but just trying to get the snow off from home (in Kent, Ohio). It seems like I was playing nicely (before missing the cut at the Shell Houston Open), then the last four holes the driver just disappeared. I hit two of the worst drives I’ve hit all year and it cost me four shots.”
His game last year fit well at the demanding TPC San Antonio.
For the entire season Curtis was fifth in driving accuracy (70 percent of fairways hit), 12th in greens in regulation (69 percent) and 12th in strokes gained putting. He’ll need a return to form to do well this week: he’s 144th in driving accuracy (56 percent), 128th in greens in regulation (65 percent) and 130th in strokes gained-putting.
“I’ve been working real hard the last couple of days to get the timing of my swing down,” he said. “I know if I can get the timing down with (the driver), I’ll be fine."