New Zealanders Riveted by Campbells Win

By Associated PressJune 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Prime Minister Helen Clark joined a national celebration Monday of New Zealander Michael Campbell's two-stroke victory at the U.S. Golf Open.
Clark's Cabinet, the decision-making body of New Zealand's parliamentary government, delayed its weekly meeting to join many of this country's four million residents in watching the last holes of the tournament.
'His win is a triumph of immense skill, determination and perseverance, along with great modesty and humility,' Clark said. 'It is one of New Zealand's greatest sporting achievements and his place as one of New Zealand's sporting greats is cemented.'
Campbell's win was the first in a major championship by a New Zealander since left-hander Bob Charles won the 1963 British Open.
Clark said the triumph was the crowning moment of Campbell's career.
'We have watched his highs, and we have watched him in more troubled times. Nobody deserves such an immense victory more than Michael,' she said. 'All New Zealand will join with me in sending our congratulations to Michael, and to his family. He has done his family, his community and New Zealand proud.'
The government ministers returned to business after watching Campbell receive his trophy.
It was shortly before 10.45 a.m. New Zealand time when Campbell sank the putt that clinched his two-shot victory. Work in factories, shops and offices around New Zealand ceased as staff gathered around television sets to watch the crucial final holes.
More than 50 of the 300 members of the nine-hole Titahi Bay Golf Club -- where Campbell was introduced to golf by his father, Tom Campbell, at the age of 10 -- gathered from 7.30 a.m. to follow progress of the final round.
Campbell's parents, Tom and Maria, were among those who crowded the tiny clubrooms in this downscale suburb 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of the capital Wellington to sip champagne and cheer on their son.
'This is an event he's ... been dreaming about since he was young so I'm glad he's been able to fulfill that dream,' Tom Campbell told National Radio.
'The way Michael has been playing I couldn't see anyone catching up to him. He played really well over the whole three days previously -- so there was no reason for him to buckle.
'He is a confidence person ... that's the type of player he is. He's been down a couple of times but he has the fortitude to come back again.'
The Titahi Bay golf club opened its kitchens to serve a champagne breakfast.
'A few drifted off to work but they came back,' said club member Liz Pokia.
Campbell holds the course record at the club and holds life membership, as does his father.
'We're the cheapest club in town,' said Pokia of the Titahi Bay club, which charges 300 New Zealand dollars ($215) for full membership.
'Everywhere you look around here it's Michael Campbell,' Pokia said. 'He won all the junior championships, he won the hole in one trophy, he holds the course record, he won the club championship.
'All over the walls there are photographs of him. He still sponsors the club. He pays for junior tournaments and coaching programs. He's a ... big part of club life.'
The New Zealand state betting agency, the Totalisator Agency Board, had little faith in Campbell's Open chances, reportedly starting him at pre-tournament odds of 150-1.
Tom Campbell regretted he didn't bet on his son.
'I could have got him at 150 [to one] ... A couple of mates of mine got him at that,' he said, laughing.
In golf, New Zealanders have taken vicarious pleasure in recent years at Tiger Woods' success because New Zealand-born caddie Steve Williams has been working with Tiger. Williams was among the first to hug Campbell after his fellow Kiwi secured the title.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.