Ben Curtis’ out-of-nowhere triumph at the 2003 Open Championship was one of the greatest underdog stories in golf history. While Curtis has not been competitive on the PGA Tour in a decade now, his annual inclusion into the Open Championship field at least delivers some memories for those fans who appreciate the game’s history.
This year, however, those who want to take that trip down memory lane will need to visit Youtube. On Wednesday, Curtis pulled out of the tournament for an unknown reason, and will be replaced by the young long-bomber Tony Finau, who will be playing in his first major of the 2017 season.
- Curtis Out: 2003 Open Champion Ben Curtis withdrew from this year’s edition at Royal Birkdale. Curtis was not expected to be competitive at the tournament if he did make the trip, as he rarely plays in recent years. In eight events over the past two seasons, Curtis has made just one cut, finishing T47 at last year’s John Deere Classic.
- Poor Results: Curtis has made the Open cut just one in the last eight years, finishing T64 in 2013. His 2003 victory was one of four career wins on the PGA Tour, the most recent coming at the 2012 Valero Texas Open.
- Finau In: Curtis will be replaced in the Royal Birkdale field by 27-year-old Tony Finau.
- Fine Form: Finau is enjoying a solid year, having earned just under $2 million to date with five top 10s in 22 events, including a T7 at last week’s Greenbrier Classic.
- Second Open: This will be Finau’s second attempt at The Open Championship. He finished T18 last year at Royal Troon.
- Top Stats: Finau ranks 4th on Tour in both strokes gained: off-the-tee and greens in regulation. He ranks 8th on tour in driving distance (308.3), and finished third in that same statistic in 2016.
I don't know the circumstances behind Bens Withdrawal but I'm grateful to be playing in another @TheOpen ? https://t.co/aPson0JOYy
— Tony Finau Golf (@tonyfinaugolf) July 12, 2017