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Ben Curtis to play in World Matchplay

Open champion Ben Curtis has confirmed he will compete for the £1million first prize in the HSBC World Matchplay Championship next month.

The £2.3million event has been hit by the withdrawal of world number one Tiger Woods, an absence of 'big name' stars, and features just one European in the shape of Open runner-up Thomas Bjorn.

US Open champion Jim Furyk, US Masters champion Mike Weir and USPGA winner Shaun Micheel are all doubtful.

But Curtis will definitely compete at Wentworth as he continues his hectic schedule since his shock victory at Royal St George's in July.

Curtis was ranked 396th in the world before holding off the likes of Woods, Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh and Bjorn at Sandwich to claim his first tournament win in his first major.

The 26-year-old, outside the top 1,000 in the world at the start of the year but now 37th, has been rushed off his feet since his Open triumph, but has found the time to enjoy a honeymoon with wife Candace after getting married after his third round of the NEC Invitational last month.

"It has been hectic, but a good hectic," said Curtis who will partner Colin Montgomerie and Justin Rose in the first two rounds of the 34th and final Lancome Trophy which starts today.

"I went to the White House the week after I won and also to New York to do a lot of interviews like the Late Show with David Letterman.

"It is a lot of fun but it wears you out quickly. I have not played as well as I liked but golf was secondary to the marriage and now that and the honeymoon is out of the way - we had four days in Monte Carlo before coming here on Monday - I can go out there and concentrate on golf.

"It has been a lot more travel, which is good. I want to explore the world and not just be stuck in America.

''Before the Open I was just trying to retain my card so I had a place to play next year but since then it has been good that I get to explore more options."


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