Inside the Ropes US Open Champion Michael Campbell


As the crowds gathered for the final Sunday round of the 105th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 all eyes were on Jason Gore, Retif Goosen, Olin Browne and Tiger Woods. Little attention was paid to the 36-year-old Kiwi from New Zealand, Michael Campbell. Goosen and Gore quickly fell out of contention as Sunday started to wind down. Holding off Woods and shooting even-par for the tournament at one of the toughest U.S. Open courses in recent memory solidified Campbells spot as the winner of the 2005 U.S. Open.
Thrilled, proud, overjoyed cannot begin to describe the feelings of the people of New Zealand who quickly named this New Zealands greatest sporting achievement after watching the Open. New Zealands government even delayed the start of its Cabinet meeting to watch Campbell win. He now joins Bob Charles, the 1963 British Open Champ as the only other Kiwi to win a Major.
Campbells road to success has been plagued the past 10 years with injuries and near misses. In 1995 he came close to winning the British Open, but ended the tournament finishing 3rd. Since that time he has been toiling away on the European Tour while living with his family in England. His opportunity at the Open arose when the USGA decided to run a qualifier for 9 spots in England.
Not only is Campbell the first Kiwi to win the U.S. Open, but he is also the first Maori to win a national golf tournament. In a nod to his cultural heritage Campbell wears shirts from a clothing line he started, Cambo Line that uses the designs of the Maori people whose intricate tattooing came from their unique wood carving techniques.
Wearing a shirt Sunday with the Maori symbol Kikikaha, meaning inner strength on the back, Michael Campbell showed the world what perseverance really is by becoming the 2005 U.S. Open Champion.