Pinehurst Director of GCM Bob Farren (second from left), is flanked by No. 2 Assistant Superintendent John Jeffreys (far left), No. 2 Assistant Superintendent Alan Owen (second from right) and No. 2 Superintendent Kevin Robinson (far right). (Photo by John Gessner)
Michael Campbell kisses the trophy after winning 105th US Open finishing even par and two strokes ahead of Tiger Woods. (Photo By Bob Donnan)
Michael Campbell, who stunned the world when he emerged from sectional qualifying to hold off a furious charge by Tiger Woods and win the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, will not return to No. 2 to defend his title in June.
I have had some problems with a tendon in my left ankle that stopped me from playing for 2 to 3 months. The good news is that I am back swinging and now managing to play 18 holes.
On a personal note, I have some sad news. Unfortunately Julie and I have separated. Our children remain our number one focus as we move forwards – as parents first and foremost while remaining both friends and business partners.
As I do not feel that I am either fully physically or mentally ready to play tournament golf at the highest level, after much deliberation, I have decided not to play in the BMW PGA Championship, the US Open or the events in between. I want to get back to my best and I believe this is the best strategy to achieve this.
Michael Campbell reacts after winning the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. (Photo By Bob Donnan)
Casual fans outside the ropes and in the grandstands may have hoped for a different outcome at the time – and may still. It’s likely they felt Campbell had come out of nowhere. If it couldn’t have been Tiger, at least it might’ve been Retief Goosen, who seemed destined following Saturday’s third round to enjoy a coronation walk to his third U.S. Open championship.
But Campbell’s career has indeed slumped since ’05, despite flickers of a resurgence with two Top 10s and two other Top 25s in 2013.
Still, Campbell has played in every U.S. Open since, albeit only making the cut in 2007. At Merion a year ago, he was eagerly anticipating a return to the site of the greatest week of his career. (Our interview with Campbell is below.)
“It changed my world (winning at Pinehurst) – for the good, of course,” he told us. “Next year, for me, personally, will be a huge week. I’m looking forward to it.”
How great is Ko’s laugh? Even better, how great is her ability to laugh at herself and not feel embarrassed over not knowing what to call the wire grass? (For the record, Hunter Mahan didn’t know what to call it, either.) If you’re not immediately a fan of Ko after these 15 seconds, you may never be.
But she is still 17, and in the clip above, she’s sure enough of herself to show it. She’s looking for autographs, just like any other kid. (Her access, though, will be much, MUCH better than most autograph hounds.)
What’s great to see and hear is how Ko can navigate from elite major championship contender to a regular teenager in the matter of a single sentence or thought.
For example, a few seconds before this clip, she spoke about the back-to-back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst, and the chance she’ll get to watch the men play first and scout a little. “I’ll be able to see, ‘Oh, maybe I shouldn’t end up there or I should go there.” Veteran savvy, there.
But a few seconds before that, she tells us, “I’ve actually never watched a men’s (pro) tour event before…and actually be on the other side of the ropes.”
Honest, forthcoming, sincere, confident and yet humble.
Barely 40 days before the U.S. Women’s Open, Ko spent three days and three rounds of golf on Pinehurst No. 2 to prepare for her third Open appearance – and first as a significant favorite. She chats about No. 2’s famed turtleback greens, and the prospect of attending a men’s professional tournament for the first time – the weekend of the U.S. Open Championship, one week before the Women’s Open.
“Hopefully I’ll get some autographs,” she says, earnestly.