Not a master, but a Major

Not a master, but a Major

He backs Australia's Adam Scott to defend his US Masters title at Augusta National this week, and also does not discount the likes of Rory Mcllroy and last year's runner-up, Angel Cabrera.

Former US Open champion Michael Campbell believes the trio of gifted golfers have the confidence to survive what he describes as "one of the toughest courses in the world".

"You don't choose to win the Masters," explained Campbell.

"It chooses you."

The New Zealander's feelings about Augusta probably stems from his experience of playing there. The 45-year-old has played 10 times at the Masters, but has never made the cut.

Campbell stunned the golfing world in 2005 when he beat world No. 1 Tiger Woods to lift the US Open title at Pinehurst, becoming only the second Kiwi to win a Major (after Bob Charles), and also the first winner of the tournament since Steve Jones in 1996 who had entered the event via sectional qualifying.

He went on to tie for sixth at the PGA Championship and was later named the 2005 European Tour Player of the Year.

But, his Major triumph has often been derided, with some describing him as a "one-tournament wonder".

Campbell was even ranked by CBS Sports as among "the worst golfers to win a Major in the last half-century".

It is a criticism he takes in his stride.

HARD WORKs

"You don't win something by fluke, it takes hard work and also luck, yes, but not by fluke," he told The New Paper yesterday.

"I went into the 2005 US Open as the underdog, but that sort of inspired me.

"Tiger coming in second (after me) is probably the sweetest thing about that memory."

Once ranked as high as world No. 16, Campbell has plummeted to No. 346 in his 20th year as a professional.

After the success in 2005, Campbell made the decision to change his coach and his swing.

He admitted it was the wrong move.

"It wasn't very good for the ego, but it's one of those things I had to go through. I soldiered on though. I never give up," he said.

Campbell hasn't played competitively for the past five months owing to an ankle injury, and has been busy opening up a golf academy in Spain.

Using his lifetime membership on the European Tour, Campbell has targeted a comeback next month at the BMW Championship in England.

"I've been lucky in my golf career. If I walk away from the sport tomorrow, I'll be satisfied," he said.

"But, in golfing terms, I'm still young. I still want to soldier on."

This article was published on April 9 in The New Paper.

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