ORLANDO, Fla. – Ben Curtis was looking for answers in the Isleworth dirt, not an impromptu spot in the most sought-after two-ball since Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were in their primes.
In the ultimate case of being in the right place at the right time, Curtis was hitting range balls on the Isleworth practice tee March 10 when he was asked by Tiger Woods if he wanted to go 18 holes with him.
Curtis said the world No. 1 was not going “full speed” during their round, but looked good considering it was Woods’ first 18-hole round.
“I don’t know if the guy even has rust,” Curtis said after his second round at Bay Hill. “Someone asked me, ‘How’d he play?’ I’d love to play like him.”
Curtis – whose swing coach, Steve Johnson, is a disciple of Hank Haney, Woods’ longtime coach – said he saw Woods on the Isleworth range a week later and he was “hitting it much better.”
As for Woods’ chances next month when he ends his competitive hiatus at Augusta National Curtis said he expects to see the old Tiger.
“I’d be surprised if he didn’t top 10,” Curtis said. “Every time he is doubted he comes back and wins.”