Defending Champ Curtis Misses Cut

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- Hardly anyone knew Ben Curtis when he won the British Open a year ago.
And few noticed his early exit Friday from Royal Troon.
Curtis shot 74 in the second round to miss the cut by four shots, joining a long line of former champions who won't be around this weekend.
'It just didn't seem like I got any good breaks this week,' said Curtis, who became the first defending champion to miss the cut since Paul Lawrie - another long shot - four years ago at St. Andrews.
'That's just the way it goes. There's always next year, next time around and next week.'
Curtis played with three-time British Open champion Nick Faldo, who will celebrate his 47th birthday on Sunday somewhere other than Royal Troon. Faldo shot 77, done in by two double bogeys on the back nine.
Asked if he was disappointed, Faldo snapped back: 'Are you kidding? It's eating me up.'
Two-time champion Greg Norman bowed out with 73-76, the first time in 24 years he missed the British Open cut.
'From my perspective, my putting was just very, very pathetic - and everything else,' said the 49-year-old Australian. 'I just couldn't get anything going. End of story.'
Former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, who tied for fourth at Royal Troon in 1997, missed the cut for the fourth straight year at the British Open.
And then there's Chad Campbell.
Considered one of rising stars on the PGA Tour, Campbell dropped three shots on the back nine to miss the cut by one. The 30-year-old Texan has missed the cut in every major this year, the last two by one stroke.
Other former British Open winners on the way home included Tom Lehman ('96), John Daly ('95), and 61-year-old Tom Weiskopf, who won his only major 31 years ago at Troon but shot back-to-back 80s.
Padraig Harrington, the strongest hope for Europe, bogeyed the last two holes to miss the cut by one shot. Sergio Garcia needed a birdie on the last hole, but instead took double bogey and will not play on the weekend. That ends a streak of three straight top 10s in the British Open.
With double points available at a major, the cut became crucial for some Ryder Cup hopefuls.
Steve Flesch, No. 8 in the U.S. standings, eagled the 16th hole and made the cut on the number with a 70. Jerry Kelly (No. 11) also made the cut at 145, while the next four players - Jay Haas, Tim Herron, Chris Riley and Jonathan Kaye - won't be around to collect precious points.
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