Just the second New Zealander to win a major, Michael Campbell became a national hero in 2005 when he came from nowhere to win the US Open at Pinehurst, holding off the great Tiger Woods to win by two strokes.
The 48-year-old retired from golf in 2015 and now concentrates on coaching the next generation of major winners through his Michael Campbell Golf Academy.
While visiting Dubai to play in today’s Swing Against Cancer Golf Series at Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE), Campbell ran the rule over the runners and riders at next month’s DP World Tour Championship.
Michael Campbell: I think it was because of a conversation I had with Jack Nicklaus about 12 years ago after winning the US Open. Jack said: “Michael, well done on winning your first major, but now as a major winner you are responsible for passing on your experience to the young kids and grow the game globally.”
So ever since that conversation the thought stuck in my mind and four years ago I got this wonderful opportunity to open up my first golf academy in Marbella, southern Spain, and it’s been a great success and I’ve really enjoyed it.
My path right now is passing what’s up here (taps his head) to these young kids, because they are like sponges. It’s incredible, but it’s been a lot of fun.
I’ve never played it and I haven’t got time to play it while I’m here. But I’ve heard lots about it, I’ve seen it on TV obviously. I’ve seen guys play it in the Race to Dubai.
It looks very challenging. I believe Greg Norman-designed it and it’s a tough golf course.
Tommy’s always been a great player. I first came across Tommy when he joined six or seven years ago and I always rated Tommy the way he strikes the ball. A great ball striker. He needed to mature as a player and obviously he has the last few years or so.
He’s become a fine player, came close at the US Open this year, and obviously he’s had a great season.
It didn’t surprise me to be honest. After playing with him when he first came out I thought, “Hmmm, this guy’s special”.
Funny enough, on the way here from Madrid I bumped into Grant Fox in the airport. We spoke about Ryan and it’s been great to see him mature as a player.
I played with him six years ago in the New Zealand Open and he is a wonderful talent. But his game management was very poor, obviously it’s improved over the last couple of years as it does.
He’s improved as a player and it showed the last couple (of years), especially this year, he’s had a great season.
He hits it such a long way, he still needs to work on his short game, and pitching as well, but apart from that he’s definitely got a big future in this game.
I think he’s been patient, and has had to be patient for such a long time. Sergio has been a great player for so many years, since he was 19-years-old and that shot from behind the tree back in 1999 (at the PGA Championship at Medinah).
He’s always been very, very talented, Sergio, he’s a great friend of mine and it’s great to see him win this year at Augusta and I think he also won just this week at Valderrama.
He’s had a stellar season this year. Hopefully he can win another major. He’s one of the best ball strikers in the world too.
His nemesis has really been his putting but it looks like he’s got that sorted out.
I think a player that’s a complete player. In other words a player who can putt, chip, wedge play, drive long and straight.
Their iron play has got to be precise, just as control wise with iron play. So the player that wins the DP World Tour has to have all his facets really in place to win.
Sergio is showing a lot good form, especially last week. Tommy’s going to be hard to beat. I think it will be out of those two – Sergio or Tommy.
* The DP World Tour Championship is once more a free entry event to attract a crowd of both golfers and non-golfers. To register for Free Fast Track Entry visit www.dpwtc.com.
Former US Open champion Michael Campbell has given a blunt appraisal of Tiger Woods‘ chances of ever winning another tournament.
“No,” said Campbell when asked about Woods’ prospects at a junior golf clinic at Jumeriah Golf Estate (JGE) in Dubai on Tuesday.
Woods posted a video on Monday night of him hitting his trademark “stinger” iron shot, the latest of a series of social media teases that he is ready to make a comeback in 2018 having not played since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic.
“I just saw him swing a few swings on Instagram and it looks okay but – he’s forty-something now (41), he’s been through four back surgeries, three knee surgeries. He hasn’t been out there for five or six years now, he’s so far behind.
“It’s like Tiger waiting at a train station and all these trains are passing by for the last six years, and that’s all these guys. Guys like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, DJ (Dustin Johnson), Jason Day, these guys weren’t around, when Tiger Woods was winning everything.
“All of a sudden all these young guys come along who hit it further, stronger. I think he’s going to struggle. It’s a real shame because I’d love to see him out there again.”
The 48-year-old Maori said Woods biggest problem is golf is now a different game from when he was in his prime from the mid-1990s until his much publicised off-course issues in 2008.
Woods’ last major victory was the 2007 PGA Championship while his most recent tournament win was
the WGC Bridgestone in 2013.
“It’s a different game, different ball, different equipment, they hit it further, (golfers are) more athletic,” added Campbell. “It’s the evolution of golf. You look at all the sports, whether it’s rugby or football or whatever. They’re fitter, stronger, faster – the same with golf.”
Campbell is in Dubai for the final of the Swing Against Cancer Golf Series, the Mike Clark Golf Day at JGE on Thursday. The event will raise funds for the Friends of Cancer Patients charity, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping patients and their families.
Individual entry for the evening event is only Dh395, and a table of 10, Dh3,500. For more information, call 056 442 1067 or email [email protected]
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority Media Team, skippered by England’s Steven Brown, produced a masterful display to seal a comprehensive six-shot victory in this week’s Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge Pro-Am.
Marshalled superbly round the Al Hamra Golf Club course by Brown – who sits a lofty eighth in the European Challenge Tour’s Race to Oman rankings – the RAKTDA Media quartet finished a collective 28-under par, six shots clear of nearest challengers the AGMC BMW 1 Team skippered by Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen, the runaway Race to Oman leader.
With the RAKTDA Media Team comprising Andy Mossack, a BBC journalist, Colin Baxter, Managing Director of Hydroturf, and Barry King, of Action Global Communications, Brown believes Pro-Am victory in the penultimate round of this year’s European Challenge Tour leaves him well-placed to build on five top-10 finishes in 21 Challenge Tour outings this year.
“The guys were very steady all the way round – they were a pleasure to play with,” said the Englishman, who heads into the Ras Al Khaimah tournament on the back of consecutive top-20 finishes in China.
“The relaxed atmosphere took all the pressure off and it was really good to get a competitive outing on the Al Hamra course ahead of the tournament; hopefully the Pro-Am experience converts into a winning formula for tournament week,” added Brown, ranked 293 in the word.
With 25 four-person teams contesting the Pro-Am, Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, the organiser of this week’s Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge, hailed the warm-up tournament a “magnificent success”.
“The Pro-Am was a great way to start tournament week and a magnificent success all round,” said Mattar. “The attention now rightly moves to the Challenge Tour stars vying for glory in the second annual Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge and I’m sure the drama will only intensify as we progress into the final two days over the weekend. We are very excited to see which emerging star shines brightest come the close of play on Saturday afternoon.”
This year’s Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge will be a true family affair. Alongside the golfing action, the tournament’s Fan Village will feature children’s activities, music, food trucks and a drinks garden, open from 4pm to 10pm from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 of October.
UAE residents making the trip to catch the stars in action can benefit from a special offer at the stunning Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. Located right next to Al Hamra Golf Club, the Waldorf Astoria is offering special rates throughout the tournament week.
The Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge has attracted a marquee line-up of sponsors for its second edition including Emirates Airline, the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Group, Al Hamra Golf Club, RAKEZ, AGMC and Hunt & Harris. For more information on the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge and The Road to Oman 2017 visit www.europeantour.com/challengetour.
For more information on hotel offers and the fan village visit: www.rasalkhaimah.ae.