Kenda backs a winner in golfer Ben Curtis

July 22, 2003

When Kenda USA decided to help sponsor rookie golfer Ben Curtis on the PGA Tour, little did company officials know how soon they would get a return on their investment.

But over the weekend, the unheralded Curtis, from Stow, Ohio, won the British Open by one stroke over Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh and two strokes over Tiger Woods.

With the victory, he became the first male golfer since Francis Ouimet in 1913 to win the first of the so-called "major" golf tournaments he entered (there are four "major" golf tournaments -- The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA).

And with the victory, Curtis gave the company a lot of publicity. The Kenda logo was emblazoned on his golf shirts, and appeared on television and in newspaper photos around the world.

Kenda and Curtis maximized the publicity with an impromptu press conference at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport yesterday, complete with a Kenda tires banner in the background.

Curtis' family resides in Columbus, Ohio; Kenda is headquartered in nearby Reynoldsburg.