Campbells Decision - Europe It Is


The conventional wisdom the last few years has been this: foreign-born golfer wins major; foreign-born golfer takes about half an hour to decide to join the U.S. tour, thanks to his newly found earnings on the American tour; foreign-born golfer jumps right into the PGA Tour the beginning of the next season, to varying degrees of success.
Enter Michael Campbell. Michael has upset the whole process, it seems. Michael was born in New Zealand, lives now in England, plays primarily on the European Tour ' and has no intentions of leaving, thank you very much.
Michael Campbell
Michael Campbell will stick with the European Tour even after his emotional win at the U.S. Open.
Campbell, of course, was the gent who won the recent U.S Open. He was most appreciative of the money, humble in victory, polite as any Kiwi could possibly be while winning the event. But then he shook the rafters when he revealed that, while he certainly meant no harm to the host country, he would stay right where he is ' thank you.
Perhaps, he was saying, it would be different if this were three or four years ago. Back then, America was his dream, as it is most professional golfers. But now, hes married. He has two little sons -Thomas, born in 1998, and Jordan, born in 2000. Hes waist-deep in the intricacies of raising his family, and he and wife Julie have decided in the last couple of years to raise them in England. End of story.
The reason why isn't Michael Campbell coming to America? said Michael Campbell. I said I'm happy the way things are right now and the way my whole career is panning out. Why change things?
He has already tried the U.S., anyway. In 2002 he finished second at Bay Hill and jumped at the chance for tour membership. His $432,000 of Bay Hill money allowed him to take advantage of special temporary membership ' his earnings for the year was $614,259, more than No. 125s $515,445. Incidentally, he chipped in on the final hole at Bay Hill to finish second.
So he came to America with the brood ' wife and two infant sons in tow. He played in the U.S. for 12 straight weeks with that menagerie, living out of hotel rooms for all three months. He did miserably on the course, and his wife and babies did little more than just exist under the constantly changing conditions. He stood it as long as he could, then he went back to the European Tour, taking the family back to their own bedroom. That was the end of that experiment.
Now, hes not really tempted. A Kiwi with a Kiwi wife and children who were born in England, he just sees too many pitfalls ahead to try and change everyone again.
Its human nature to go over there and play full time in America, he explained, but it's not for me. My roots are here. I've been here for 12 years and I just enjoy being here and playing the European Tour.
And hopefully it's going to help guys like - you know, Darren Clarke and (Lee) Westwood and (Ian) Poulter and (Padraig) Harrington, (Colin) Montgomerie, (Paul) McGinley, (Graeme) McDowell - all of these great players who have won multiple times around the world to realize that if I can do it
In the final analysis, Campbell looked at the potential for vast earnings in the U.S. - or merely comfortable earnings in Europe. And he decided to go for the comfortable, with the young familys future at stake.
For Campbell, its an easy choice. And, after all, uprooting the family from England across the Atlantic to America isnt like moving from London to Liverpool. Its a life-influencing factor for the children, even more so than for him and Julie.
And, he believes hell settle down and play alongside Woosnam and Montgomerie, McGinley and McDowell.
These guys have seen me play for the last 12 years on this tour, he said. They have seen me miss cuts, lose my card, win golf tournaments and I have seen them do the same. We are all close.
There's a fine line between winning tournaments and winning majors. When you do win your first major, you think to yourself, it's a lot of hard work, but these guys are very close, too.
And so, he stays. Hell be back for the majors, for all the big tournaments. But as far as playing a circuit ' Michael Campbell has decided to remain with the family.
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