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Curtis withdraws from this weeks GHO

Ben Curtis, the surprise winner of last weekend's British Open, withdrew from the Greater Hartford Open on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old apologized in a statement for his withdrawal, saying he was disappointed to miss the GHO but wanted to spend time with his family and friends.

``The overwhelming experience of winning the Open championship last week has finally caught up with me and I am exhausted,'' Curtis said. ``Given my family wasn't in attendance at Royal St. George's, I am looking forward to sharing my Open championship victory with my family and friends at home.''

Curtis said he looks forward to playing the GHO in the future.

The tournament begins Thursday.

On Sunday, Curtis became the first player since 1913 to win a major golf championship on his first try. He shot a 2-under 69 in the final round at Royal St. George's, leaving him the only player to break par at 1-under 283. That was one shot better than Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh and two ahead of Tiger Woods and Davis Love III.

Before the historic victory, Curtis' best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for 13th at the Western Open two weeks earlier - which allowed him to qualify for the British Open. He spent the last two seasons on the Hooters Tour. He is a two-time Ohio Amateur champion, winning in 1999 and 2000. In 2000, he set a record when he won by 17 strokes.

The GHO has already drawn significant interest because of the presence of Suzy Whaley, a teaching pro in Avon. She qualified by winning the Connecticut PGA Sectional last fall and will join Annika Sorenstam as a woman playing in a PGA Tour event this year.

Sorenstam played in the Colonial in May.


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