2012 PGA Tour: Who Is Ben Curtis and Where Did He Come From?

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIApril 25, 2012

Ben Curtis won the 2012 Valero Texas Open
Ben Curtis won the 2012 Valero Texas OpenDarren Carroll/Getty Images

Ben Curtis has won four times on the PGA Tour including the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s. He has made over 124 cuts and amassed over $11 million in career earnings.

Ben Curtis, John Cook and Arnold Palmer are the only three golfers who have won the Ohio Amateur two consecutive years. That’s not bad company to be mentioned in.

Ben grew up on the family-owned and operated Mill Creek Golf Club just north of Columbus, Ohio, and was a standout on the Kent State University golf team.

He turned professional in 2000 and knocked around the Hooters Tour for a couple of years without too much success. 

Ben earned his 2003 PGA Tour Card by finishing T-26 at the 2002 PGA Q-School. 

Here is where the fun begins.

In the first 12 events of his rookie season in 2003, he missed five cuts and did not finish higher than T-27. 

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His 13th event as a professional was the Western Open where he picked up a T-13, which qualified him to play in the 2003 Open Championship to be held the very next week.

Ben held off an impressive list of contenders, namely Davis Love, Thomas Bjorn, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods to collect the Claret Jug.

He became the first golfer since Francis Ouimet in the 1913 U. S. Open to win in his first major appearance.

PGA Tour Rookie Ben Curtis won the 2003 British Open
PGA Tour Rookie Ben Curtis won the 2003 British OpenAndrew Redington/Getty Images

The Open Championship win was his only top-10 finish in 2003, as he missed eight cuts in 21 starts. 

Still, with the $1.1 million first-place check from the British, he made a total of $1.4 million for his rookie year and picked up PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors.

In 2004 he missed 11 cuts in 20 events, only had one top 10, and only earned $500,818.

He had another poor year in 2005, with just two top 10s, missed 16 cuts, and earned $594,000.

After this two-year hiatus, Ben decided to go back to work and turned in a respectable 2006 season on the PGA Tour.  He won the Booz Allen Classic and the 84 Lumber Classic, made 17 cuts, and earned over $2.2 million.

He reverted back to his less-than-stellar play in 2007, had only two top-10s, and finished 114th in the FedEx Cup Standings.

2008 was Curtis' most consistent year. He made 18 cuts in 22 events, earned $2.6 million, finished ninth in the FedEx Cup, and made the Ryder Cup team.

2009 and 2010 were once again subpar years for Curtis, finishing 109th and 119th, respectively, in the FedEx Cup.

But 2011 was probably the low point of Ben’s career; he missed 13 cuts in 23 starts, only won $423,000, and finished 133rd on the FedEx Cup rankings.

Having no status on the PGA Tour for 2012, the Valero Texas Open was only his fourth start of the year.  He had missed cuts at Mayakoba and at Houston. In his only other event, he posted a T-14 in Puerto Rico.

The win in Texas will give the 34-year-old Curtis a two-year exemption on tour, make him eligible for the majors, and the lucrative WGC events. 

Ben Curtis’ roller coaster golf career is a perfect example of a golf professional that has a life outside of golf. He has a wife, two children, and enjoys being with them.

Kids, marriage, changing homes, travel and family sometimes get in the way of practice and mental commitment.   

Golf is just his job. 

When he works at it and applies himself, he is pretty good at it.


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