Bay Hill Soup for Campbells Golfing Soul


After four years of being crowned king of Bay Hill by The King of golf, Tiger Woods is now just a man of the people ' so to speak.
Chad Campbell currently sits in the throne Woods occupied for nearly half a decade.
Chad Campbell
Chad Campbell ended Tiger Woods' four-year reign at Bay Hill with his six-stroke victory a year ago.
Campbell, however, may not much feel like a man in control at the moment. The 30-year-old Texan hasnt won since he left Bay Hill. Hes had a couple of chances this year, but Mother Nature and Adam Scott conspired against him at the Nissan Open and he had no one but himself to blame at last weeks Honda Classic.
Campbell led after an opening-round 64 and was just three back after Round 2. But Saturday was cruel. He shot 80 on moving day and moved right out of contention. He eventually finished tied for 52nd.
Maybe a return trip to Orlando is the soup for Campbell's golfing soul. He won last years title ' his second on tour ' by shooting a final-round 66 to overcome a four-stroke deficit and win by six.
Stuart Appleby was the unfortunate victim. Appleby opened in 67-67-66, but came home in 76. It was a tough loss for the local, who lives in the nearby neighborhood of Isleworth.
Appleby drove his bright yellow Lamborghini to the course each day. This year, he may be driving something a little more practical. Thats because Appleby became a father just three days after successfully defending his title at the Mercedes Championships.
I'm learning. It's a fantastic process, Appleby said about fatherhood. But it's pretty cool. I love it. And thank God Ash (his wife) is doing most of the work, because I'm stuck out on the golf course for eight to ten hours a day. It certainly takes both of us, but Ashley is taking most of the burden ' and Ella is Daddy's little girl, that's for sure.
Once again Arnold Palmer has assembled a quality field in his host tournament. Even though Palmer wont be participating in the actual event for the first time since he founded it 26 years ago, several of todays golfing luminaries will be on hand.
Four-time champion and reigning world No. 1 Tiger Woods is joined by the man he recently deposed at the top, Vijay Singh, as well as 1998 champion and world No. 3 Ernie Els, and world No. 5 Retief Goosen.
World No. 4 Phil Mickelson, who won here in 1997 and finished runner-up in 2001, is skipping the event for the third straight year.
Els is the only player in the top four on the Official World Golf Ranking who hasnt won this season on the PGA Tour. But he may be the hottest player on the planet as he heads back to the States.
Els has won each of the last two weeks on the European Tour, completing the Middle East Sweep, by winning both the Dubai Desert Classic and the Qatar Masters.
I really feel good,' Els said after his most recent triumph. My rhythm feels really good at the moment and I'm in a good position at the top of the backswing. When that happens, I can freewheel it and go for the ball. My iron play was a lot better. I feel like my game is right there and I can't wait to get to America now.
Bay Hill is the third of four events that comprise the Florida Swing. Its the week before to the Players Championships, and just three tournaments before the Masters.
Loren Roberts is the only player outside of Woods to repeat as champion, doing so in 1994-95. Woods four-peat, from 2000-03, made him the first player since Gene Sarazen in 1930 to win the same tournament on four consecutive occasions.
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  • Full Coverage - Bay Hill Invitational