Hanging Out With a New Crowd - This Chads going to the PGA Tour
Three wins will get you the promotion, known on this tour as the 'Battlefield Promotion'. These days that's a rather sensitive issue on tour because of the country's current state with Afghanistan. But it seems rather perfect when talking about this accomplishment because of the venue on which Campbell made history. The Bayonet Course at Seaside,CA is part of the old military base at Fort Ord. Named after the 7th infantry division, the course is as tough a track as there is on the Buy.com Tour. In fact, it's the toughest this year to date!
The scoring average for the field hovered around 75 strokes all week on this 7117 yard par 72 layout filled with a mix of doglegs, disastrous rough and darned quick greens. That Campbell shot 8-under par is not only amazing, but also says a lot about the player he is.
The 27-year-old Texan showed up on this tour in January as a rookie who'd dominated on the Hooters Tour, earning player of the year honors in both 1998 and 2000. In fact, he won eight of the first 16 events on the schedule in 2000. Still, you earn respect at the next level by proving it, and Campbell didn't waste much time in sending a message!
In the first event of the year he finished second! In the eighth event of the year he won at Richmond, Va. Later he won at the Permian Basin Open and by then was threatening the top spot on this tour's money list.
He had something and somebody to shoot at as the year progressed. Heath Slocum was at the top of the coveted money list and with his third win at Omaha, Slocum was off the PGA Tour as only the second man in Buy.Com Tour history to earn the promotion by way of three wins. With Slocum departed, Campbell became 'the man' and had his own sights on the goal of 'three-wins and see ya'.
Edging Deane Pappas by a shot with birdie at the last, the two men were the only two in the field to play Bayonet at par or better for four days. Now, he's gone and I couldn't be happier for him. Neither could his fellow Buy.com Tour professionals.
Said Ty Armstrong, 'Yeah, I think he's proved everywhere he's played that he's a good player. I think he's got a good chance to play well out there.' Armstrong should know. He's been there and realizes its not that easy to play out there for any period of time.
Added Curt Byrum, 'How'd he shoot 8-under?!' Byrum, the television commentator and player sees a Campbell with a lot of talent. 'If he just quietly goes out there and does his thing, I think he'll do great. He's going out there with total confidence. Its tough to win three times.'
Campbell is a kid you can't help but root for. Young and talented. Quietly humble and a very hard worker who doesn't get caught up in himself. It's great to see the youth movement progress to the next level and have the ability to make an impact.
By the way, just to my left, down the hall is gate A-8 in the San Jose, Calif. airport. And standing in line with a ticket to Las Vegas, Nev. is Chad Campbell. The PGA Tour stops there next week, and Campbell is off to start making an impact at the next level!