Ben Curtis’ stunning victory in the 2003 British Open actually made me famous — sort of.
I was on a camping trip that weekend, and heard the news while dropping my friend Andy Herchek off at his house in Randolph. His dad walked quickly toward my car as we arrived: ‘Ben Curtis won the British Open.’
I was floored.
I knew Ben had gotten off to a decent start, but then lost track of his progress – no internet connection on camping trips back in that day – and had sort of forgotten about it to be completely honest. Next thing I know I’m being contacted by BBC radio for an interview the following day.
I had interviewed Ben several times previously during his All-American career at Kent State, and told the BBC crew what I knew – great guy, down-to-earth as they come. I told them how everyone who had ever come into contact with Ben in our community felt like they ‘knew’ him — same as me — and that we were all thrilled for and incredibly proud of his monumental accomplishment.
I also had to throw in my personal golf career highlight. Thanks to veteran KSU golf coach Herb Page I was able to take part in a scramble as Ben’s teammate at Barrington Golf Club, and I holed out a shot from about 110 yards for eagle. Back then I was hitting my irons so terribly that my miraculous shot was actually a punched seven-iron, but bottom line: I played in a scramble with Ben Curtis, and we used one of my shots!
Had to share that fact with the fine folks of England. Just had to.