Son of former Colonial champ honored to follow in his footsteps in Fort Worth

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA Sports

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 11:09 PM

FORT WORTH -- Jeff Curl isn't playing in the Colonial if his dad didn't win here 40 years ago.

"You know, I ain't ask for a favor in 40 years," said Rod Curl, just off the 6th green on Friday after his son birdied. "So I say, 'Hey, will you please vote for my son?'"

Rod Curl won this tournament in 1974, and he campaigned to have his son voted in as one of the two "champion's choices."

"The past champions that voted me in -- I can't thank them enough," Jeff Curl said. "It's an opportunity for me to be here on such a special week for my family."

Curl turned pro in 2001, and this is only his fifth career start on the PGA tour. He needed his dad's help to make the field, but not to make the cut -- a 69 in the 2nd round took care of that. But it wasn't easy.

"If you asked the people I was playing with the first 27 holes, the fact I made the cut is pretty miraculous," Curl said.

After struggling through his first 27 holes, Curl had four birdies on his final nine. And it started on hole No. 1 (his 10th of the day), where his dad's name is forever immortalized at Colonial on the Wall of Champions.

"My dad gave me a great tip last night. I smiled at him on 1; I hit a good tee shot," said Curl, who followed up that good tee shot with a 240-yard 3-iron to within seven feet. "I smiled because it was the first time all day I felt it again."

Rod Curl's win in 1974 was the only one of his career, and one of the very few ever for a Native American. That's something else Curls are proud of.

"Other than my dad, Notah Begay, and myself, and I can't think of too many others playing at this level," Curl said.

"I was the best - basically - Native American in the world," Rod Curl said. "Then Notah was, and now Jeff Curl, and my son, Rod Junior, is a pro in Florida. Basically three of the four are my family."

With his win in '74, Rod Curl's forever a part of Colonial history. Right now, his son is just happy to be a part of Colonial weekend.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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