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Ben Curtis intends to play both tours in 2010

American former Open champion Ben Curtis plans to play on both sides of the Atlantic next year, even if the European Tour make membership more stringent.

In a bid to force top players to play more in Europe to satisfy sponsors, a European Tour tournament committee meeting on Thursday is likely to carry through a vote to double the number of European-based events members must play. Currently it is two from a mandatory 12 tournaments.

Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion at Royal St George’s, is playing this week’s Portugal Masters, his fourth European-based event, and his 10th in all on the European Tour this season. While his commitment to Europe will depend on events in the United States, he says he is prepared for the new move.

“It could be more difficult but you can always find a way,” Curtis told Reuters on Wednesday. “I can appreciate the European Tour wanting to make the fields stronger by making this change. It could be difficult even for some of the European players playing in America.

“It will all depend on what’s going on in America next year.”

The major champion is trying to make his foray on the 2009 European Tour a lucrative one. This week he continues his bid for a place in the European Tour’s $15-million Dubai World Championship.

He lies 72nd in the money-list (Race to Dubai), with only the top 60 qualifying for the tour’s finale next month. This week Curtis could book his ticket to Dubai with a top result in Portugal.

“It’s (the Race to Dubai) a good challenge for me and it’s great fun playing both sides of the pond,” Curtis said. “I’ll definitely fulfil the 12. I haven’t figured out where I’ll play the extra tournament; I’ll just take it week by week.”

Curtis finds few problems playing both tours. “It’s the easiest thing to do to pick and choose where the best places are to play, try and go play when my game’s ready,” he said.

 

October 15, 2009




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