Ben Curtis was the first player to register for The Open at Royal St George’s in 2003 and the only player to visit the pro shop to ask the club professional about the course.
The local knowledge was vital for a links first-timer. Curtis was 26, from Ohio, and ranked 396th in the world. He had played just 13 events in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR and gained an exemption for The Open by finishing 13th in the Western Open two weeks previously.
On a bouncy links that caused even the best numerous problems, Curtis came home in 32 in the third round, went out in 32 in the final round and led by two with seven to play before making four bogeys in the next six holes.
But others also struggled, Thomas Bjorn taking three to escape a bunker at the 16th, and he beat Bjorn and Vijay Singh by one and Tiger Woods and Davis Love by two.