Campbell Holds Off Tiger for US Open Title

By Sports NetworkJune 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Michael Campbell of New Zealand overcame a four-shot deficit and a hard charge from world No. 1 Tiger Woods on Sunday to capture the 105th U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst No. 2.
'I snuck in there without anyone noticing,' admitted Campbell, who pocketed $1,170,000 for the win. 'Nobody took notice of this little kid from New Zealand until the last nine holes. There I was telling myself 20 times a hole to keep my focus and it worked.'
Michael Campbell
Michael Campbell is overcome with emotion after sinking a putt to win the 105th U.S. Open.
Campbell mixed four birdies and three bogeys for a one-under 69. He was the only one in the championship to finish at par or better with a four-round total of even-par 280.
It was Campbell's first major victory and first title in the United States. The win was Campbell's first PGA Tour victory and his seventh on the European Tour. The 36-year-old had not visited the winner's circle since 2003.
'It's amazing, just completely changed my whole career,' said Campbell. 'This is what I've practiced for and I can't believe I am holding this trophy. I knew if I could shoot two- or three-under I would have a chance of winning and things went my way.'
Woods' putter let him down late in the round. He missed par putts from inside five feet at the 16th and 17th holes, but drained a 12-footer for birdie at 18 to shoot a one-under 69. Woods, the reigning Masters champion, finished in second at two-over-par 282 for his second runner-up finish at a major. Woods came up just short against Rich Beem in the 2002 PGA Championship.
'I did not get the speed of putts,' said Woods, who took 128 putts in the championship. 'I thought I needed to get to even par and hopefully that would get me in a playoff. It was not easy out there. I hit the ball well, it was poor decision making.'
As solidly as Campbell played (one of four rounds under par on Sunday), he benefited from the rest of the field struggling badly.
Retief Goosen, who collected his second U.S. Open title last year, held a three-shot lead Sunday, but completely fell apart. He posted a six-over 41 on the front nine, then bogeyed five in a row on the back nine. All totaled, he shot an 11-over 81 and tied for 11th at plus-eight.
'It was disappointing,' admitted Goosen. 'This is nothing serious. Nobody died or anything. I had a great Father's Day with the kids. The family is a lot more important than playing 81 out here today.'
Jason Gore, the Nationwide Tour player who golfed with Goosen in the final group on Sunday, fared even worse. He carded a 14-over-par 84 and dropped all the way to a tie for 49th at plus-14.
Once Goosen collapsed with a double-bogey at two and a bogey at three, Campbell assumed the lead. Campbell drained a 10-foot birdie putt at the first, then his lead was extended when Goosen made two more bogeys.
At the eighth, Campbell's drive hit a spectator in the head and bounced into the rough. His approach from 174 yards out landed 50 feet right of the hole and he three-putted for a bogey.
Campbell did not get his game rolling until the back nine, but that's when Woods moved into the picture.
Woods, a two-time U.S. Open champion, was one-over on his front nine thanks to some mistakes with second shots at one and two. He found himself eight shots out of the lead, but thanks to most of the field going backward and steady play from Woods on the rest of the front nine, he was within striking distance.
Woods sank a six-foot birdie putt at 10 to move within two. He knocked his approach inside three feet to set up birdie at 11 and now the No. 1 player in the world was down one.
But Campbell rebounded at the par-five 10th. His second shot missed right of the green and the 36-year-old chipped 35 feet long of the stick. Campbell drained the long birdie putt to move to even par and take a two-stroke lead.
Campbell converted a nice par save at the 11th, then came up 25 feet short with his approach at 12. The Kiwi rolled in that birdie putt and found himself three ahead.
Woods ran home a six-footer for birdie at 15 which prompted a famous fist-pump from the nine-time major winner. The good feelings were quickly erased as Woods made a mistake at No. 16. His second came up short of the green and his pitch stopped five feet from the cup. Woods missed the par putt to fall three back again.
Woods put himself in a good spot for birdie at 17. He was 22 feet from the hole, but ran his putt four feet past the hole. Woods, normally one of the best in the world at short putts in pressure-packed situations, missed this putt and was now in serious trouble.
Campbell, four ahead, sank a clutch four-footer for par at 15, but drove in the rough at 16. He laid up his second shot, then hit his 98-yard third shot 40 feet left of the stick. Campbell two-putted for the bogey, but now only had a three-shot lead over Woods.
Campbell played safely at 17, stopping 20 feet short of the hole. He ran in yet another long birdie putt and was four clear of Woods, but the two-time U.S. Open champion birdied 18 to claw within three.
Armed with a three-shot cushion, Campbell missed the fairway and laid up into the fairway at 18. His third came to rest five feet from the hole, but he missed the par putt.
All that meant was that Campbell's first major victory would be a two-shot win, not three.
'I think I had three shots to play with on the last hole,' said Campbell. 'So sinking that birdie putt on 17 was a turning point.'
Campbell joined Bob Charles as the only players from New Zealand to win major championships. Charles captured the 1963 British Open, a tournament where Campbell had some history.
At the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews, Campbell took a two-shot lead into the final round. He shot a 76 on that Sunday and tied for third place.
But on this Sunday 10 years later, Campbell is a U.S. Open champion. It's almost a shock considering he almost did not play this week. He did not want to go through the qualifying, but his management talked him into it and Campbell got in at Walton Heath.
'I was at ease with the golf course,' said Campbell, who became the first qualifier to win since Steve Jones in 1996. 'It wasn't my turn in '95. I went through some ups and downs, but deep down inside, I knew had something in me to do something special.'
Sergio Garcia (70), Tim Clark (70) and Mark Hensby (74) shared third place at five-over-par 285. For Hensby, that is his second consecutive top-five in a major after a share of fifth at the Masters.
Davis Love III (69), Rocco Mediate (71) and Vijay Singh (72) tied for sixth at plus-six. Nick Price (72) and Arron Oberholser (73) shared ninth place at seven-over-par 287.
Related links:
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  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.