Campbell Hopes to Stem Majors Slide

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipChad Campbell has a score to settle at the PGA Championship.
 
A year ago, the no-nonsense Texan contended down the stretch at Oak Hill, only to finish two shots behind when Shaun Micheel made a 25-foot birdie on the 16th and then nearly holed out his 7-iron on the 18th to clinch the title.
 
No matter. Everyone knew Campbell was ready to take off, just by watching his raw talent or listening to the pure sound of the ball coming off his irons. He shot 61 and won the Tour Championship to close out the year, then blew past the field at the Bay Hill Invitational to win by six shots and move into the top 10 in the world.
 
And then it was time for the majors.
 
'You only have four majors a year, so it's nice being able to test us those times,' Campbell said.
 
Trouble is, Campbell has flunked all three tests this year.
 
He shot 76-77 at the Masters and never came close to making the cut. What really stung was the U.S. Open, where he was in the middle of the pack until taking double bogey on his last two holes to miss the cut by one shot.
 
'I don't think I've ever been more upset after a round of golf than that day,' Campbell said.
 
At Royal Troon, he took a double bogey on the par-5 fourth, rallied with two birdies at the turn, but dropped a shot on the par-3 17th that he figured would give him an early starting time on Saturday. Instead, the wind died, scoring went down and Campbell missed another cut in the major by a single shot.
 
'No excuses,' Campbell said. 'I just didn't play well.'
 
He arrived at Whistling Straits with few complaints about his season. Campbell is 15th on the money list with over $2.1 million, and he is No. 13 in the world rankings. Best of all, the 30-year-old is seventh in the Ryder Cup standings and virtually a lock to make his first team.
 
But while the PGA Championship is where he had his first close call in a major, this is where Campbell is desperate to prove that the first three majors this year were a fluke.
 
'I was definitely anxious to get here,' Campbell said. 'I'm excited about getting to the PGA and looking forward to having a good major for a change.'
 
Campbell is not so spooked that he is changing his routine coming into the majors. He returned from a two-week break and tied for 19th at the International, flew to Milwaukee and played nine holes Monday morning.
 
It was his first look at Whistling Straits, and it didn't take Campbell long to realize he had his work cut out for him. On the 493-yard fourth hole, he blistered four drives (in pursuit of a driver), all of them starting out low and strong into the wind, and gently drawing toward the middle of the fairway. He still had a 2-iron left to the green.
 
The wind can be such a factor along the shores of Lake Michigan that Campbell had only a 7-iron into the green on the 507-yard eighth hole, one of three par 4s that measure 500 yards or longer.
 
'Should be a good test,' Campbell said.
 
That's putting it mildly. Lee Westwood of England arrived early and played a practice round Sunday, and all that did was confirm all the hype and hysteria he had heard about Pete Dye's latest creation.
 
At 7,514 yards, this is the longest course in major championship history. The previous record was Columbine Country Club in Colorado, which was 7,436 yards - although that was in mile-high air.
 
And get this: the PGA of America isn't even using all the length available at Whistling Straits.
 
'I've been told that there were 10 really difficult holes, and eight impossible ones,' Westwood said. 'I'm just trying to sort out which the 10 difficult holes here.'
 
Who does it favor?
 
'Probably a long, straight hitter with a good iron game and a great short game and a wonderful putter,' he said.
 
There was a time that used to define Tiger Woods, although he only has a couple of those categories working in his favor at any one time, and that has kept him from dominating the game like he once did.
 
Woods comes into the PGA Championship having been shut out of the last nine majors, and in jeopardy of losing his No. 1 ranking to Ernie Els (possible) or Vijay Singh (long shot).
 
Phil Mickelson, whose 1-2-3 run through the majors started with his breakthrough victory at the Masters, played three days last week to learn the nuances of Whistling Straits and to figure out where he can't afford to miss.
 
That's no small task. Trouble lurks everywhere on the course, although most of the 1,400 bunkers are more of an eyesore than a legitimate threat. That water hazard east of the course - Lake Michigan - makes for a stunning view, but it makes some of the greens look like they're about to topple into the water.
 
It reminds several players of an Irish links, and who better than Darren Clarke to weigh in on that.
 
'If you try and remember all of the most difficult holes of all the courses at home, put them all together and I think you'll have this one here,' Clarke said.
 
Indeed, it is shaping up as a strong test.
 
For Campbell, there is no better place to show that his game can stand up to it. He still draws on the positive vibes from last year at Oak Hill, where he was one of only three players to finish under par.
 
'It gave me confidence coming into this year,' Campbell said. 'Although it has not done me much good so far. I know it will in the future.'
 
Related Links:
  • Photo Gallery - Whistling Straits
  • Tee Times
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Course Tour - Whistling Straits
     
    Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.