24 April 2012
DUBAI. April 23 - A strong finish at the 2012 Omega Dubai Desert Classic lit the spark in his game and Ben Curtis made it count when the former British Open champion walked off the course to see his name atop the leaderboard on Sunday in the Texas Open.
Even more pleasing to him was to see his two-shot win - his fourth since joining the PGA Tour in 2003 - effectively putting his career back on track after a long barren stretch lasting over five years, 2,045 days to be precise.
The 2003 British Open champion, who was wearing the 'golf in DUBAi' logo on his shirt during the PGA event in San Antonio in a gesture to thank the promoters and organisers of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic for the hospitality extended to him during the European Tour event earlier this year, birdied the closing hole to see off a strong challenge from Matt Every and John Huh in a tense finish.
"It's been a tough couple of years, but all the hard work has finally paid off," said the 34-year-old American who needed to rely on European Tour events to revive his career after losing the PGA Tour card last season.
"The thinking was to play wherever I could and I am grateful to organizers like golf in DUBAi who made us feel at home," said Curtis, who finished tied for 13th place in Dubai earlier this year.
"Playing in Dubai really improved my game and restored confidence in my abilities. They (golf in DUBAi) always line up a strong field and it was great fun playing on the (Majlis) course. I do hope to return some time in the near future," said Curtis who now can play almost any event he wishes to on the PGA Tour for the first time since that breakthrough win at Royal St. George's 2003.
"I can't really say whether wearing the logo proved a good luck charm, but certainly it feels good to represent the people who care for you, who believe in you," said the American who was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year for 2003.
"It's nice to see Ben building on a good finish in Dubai to return to the winner's circle. The victory was long overdue and it's a tribute to his never-give-up attitude," complemented Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi.
"The presence of PGA players not only adds to the profile of the event, but also brings that extra bit to the competitive flavour.
"It gives us a good feeling when players like Ben talk highly of the event. I wish him the very best and hopes he keeps the momentum going during the season."
'golf in DUBAi' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Jumeirah, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi's drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.