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November 2, 2004

Chad Campbell


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome defending champion Chad Campbell to the 2004 Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Chad, defending on a new course. Different for you?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, it'll be a little different. Today was the first time I've ever seen this course. It'll be a little different. I have special feelings for Champions, but this course is special in its own way. It's a great golf course and I really look forward to the week.

Q. You're 19th on the Money List. Two of the last three years you've finished in the Top 20. Is this something you thought you could have accomplished so soon after earning your card?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I didn't really think about it that much. Once I started playing well, last year I really got the confidence that I could really compete at a high level, and this year I felt like I started off the year really well, but then the last three or four months I feel like I haven't played as well as I've liked, so it would be nice to at least end in the Top 20 or maybe even in the Top 10.

Q. Aside with the unhappiness with the end, it's been a special year. You won at Bay Hill and played on your first Ryder Cup team. Talk about those things.

CHAD CAMPBELL: Winning at Bay Hill was pretty special. I played with Mr. Palmer the first two rounds, and playing with him in his own tournament is pretty awesome. That week was really special, it's always nice to win your second tournament. It's hard enough to win your first one, but then when you win your second one, it kind of validates the first one. It kind of proves that the first one was not a fluke, kind of just proving yourself a little bit more, I guess.

Then the Ryder Cup was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had in golf, just the whole atmosphere, the whole week. Obviously the outcome was not near what we wanted, but just the week in general was truly amazing, just everything everybody always talks about.

Q. Who do you think will be the next captain?

CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, I really don't know. I've heard talk about it. I heard Paul Azinger pulled his name out of it. Is that true?

Q. Yeah. I know the answer. I'm curious who you would think might be next.

CHAD CAMPBELL: I don't know, I've heard Larry Nelson.

Q. Strike two. Okay, well, foul ball.

CHAD CAMPBELL: Fred Couples maybe?

Q. It's Lehman apparently.

CHAD CAMPBELL: That's the one I was trying to think of.

Q. What do you think of that one?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I think it's good. I think he'll do a good job. I don't know him really well. Over the last probably two years I've talked to him a little bit. I don't think we've ever played together, but he seems like a great guy and I'm sure he'll do a great job.

Q. I don't want to take the focus away from Tour Championship talk, but give yourself a grade for the year. What's your report card?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Let's split the season. First half, I give the first half an A-minus, B-plus, and the last part D-ish, D-plus maybe. I don't know where that plus would be.

Q. Is the Ryder Cup captain matter? Is there that much button-pushing in there? I mean, we're asking a guy who has been through all of one installment of this, but do you think it really makes that much difference, whether it would be Lehman or O'Meara or whoever it might be?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Well, I think it can help. I think it all boils down to the players need to play, and that's what we didn't do this year. We didn't play that well, so we lost. It seems like the captain really doesn't have anything to gain in the past -- he's supposed to win, so if he loses, he just gets killed, and if he wins, it's no big deal. It's kind of hard on him. I know it's a tough job. Just being my first one, I know there's a lot of work that goes into being captain. It's really obviously a prestigious title to have.

Q. Not without its perils, though?

CHAD CAMPBELL: True. It comes with a lot of criticism and everything else.

Q. Let's go back to your report card. What do you attribute the back half of the season to? What frustrated you the most, I guess?

CHAD CAMPBELL: A little bit of everything really, maybe driving the ball, putting. I really didn't feel like I played that bad for the last part of the year, just haven't gotten to the hole fast enough I guess is the best way to put it. I had a couple bad holes here and there, missing putts, missing fairways at crucial times, just little things like that.

I wish I knew exactly what caused it or how to fix it, but I don't feel like it's been that bad, but the results is what I graded myself on.

Q. It sounds like you almost get to the end of a week and are a little bit surprised to see what's there.

CHAD CAMPBELL: As far as my score?

Q. Yeah.

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, you know, what's going on. I mean, obviously there's times when I drove it all over the place and I hit my irons terrible, but the majority of the times I've felt like I hadn't played that bad. It's just a hole that you're sitting in the middle of the fairway, 3-under on the 16th hole or something, instead of making another birdie, I make bogey or double somehow, just do something like that. Maybe it's a little bit tired, I don't know. That could be it.

Q. Last year when you won here or in Houston, was there a feeling like you were kind of sorry to see the year end?


Q. After you won, yeah.

CHAD CAMPBELL: A little bit, not really. I was actually needing a break last year, so it was a nice way to end the year. I played well the week before in Tampa, and then I came to Houston. It was nice to end the year on that and just kind of sit for a month and a half and think about that.

Q. If someone were to say that -- if they were to look at what you did Sunday at Bay Hill and Saturday at Champions last year, that you're the kind of guy that's streaky and can go low at any moment, is that a fair assessment, or is there more to you that people don't know?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I guess that's true. I mean, I'd like to think of myself as being a little bit more consistent. Yeah, every once in a while everybody is going to get hot and shoot those scores, and those are pretty rare. They don't happen too often, those 61s, 62s, 63s. Those are very common, especially on tougher golf courses. I'd like to think of myself as being more consistent than anything.

Q. One of the guys in the locker room saying about the way Vijay is playing? Are you guys easily awed?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I think everybody is kind of riding him a little bit. Like last week I was telling him to hang in there, things will turn around (laughter), keep working at it. You know, it's a pretty phenomenal year he's having, it really is. It's amazing.

Q. (Inaudible)?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Disney and Jackson.

Q. With Ryan winning at Disney and you coming up through sort of the same developmental system, Hooters, Nationwide, et cetera, how much -- Tight Lies, whatever, is it a shot a day difference between the guys out there and the guys out here? Is the gap tighter in terms of talent of players?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Are you talking Nationwide?

Q. How much separates the tiers? You won all those seven Hooters in a year that time. Obviously there's some guys out there that can play because they're still --

CHAD CAMPBELL: I know what you're saying. The whole deal -- out here there's so many guys that can win each week, and then you go to the Nationwide, I mean, it's deep but it's not as deep. You know, it seems like there's only X number of guys that can win. Then you go down to like a mini-Tour that if you play all year, the numbers are even lower there, I think.

You know, there's guys that occasionally jump up there and win, but there's a lot of good players everywhere. It's hard to -- I was watching a little bit of the Nationwide Tour last week, and there's a lot of good players. I know a lot of those guys out there and they're good players. There are a couple guys I went to school with and a couple guys I've played with along the road. Sometimes some of the guys just need a little break to get through Q-school or just something here or there. There's definitely a lot of good players.

Q. It's pretty amazing with Ryan. On the Tight Lies Tour there are guys that carry their own bag. It's truly class A ball and he's two and a half years removed from that basically.

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, kind of like me, I guess. That's what I did on Hooters, carried my own bag. I couldn't get through Tour school, through second stage, to get on the Nationwide Tour, to get on the PGA TOUR. I don't know what that is. I don't know if it's pressure, I don't know if it's just unlucky or what the deal is, but it's hard. It's hard to get through the school.

I went and looked at a few scores from the first days of Tour school, and a lot of my friends missed and they're great players. That just shows how deep it is. First stage, the whole five years I did it, it got harder every year, first stage. I don't know if it's because you keep doing it and keep doing it or because players keep getting better.

Q. You won your first three Nationwides in the span of how many months?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I won Richmond pretty early in the year, and then I won Monterey in August, wasn't it? Actually I won -- Odessa and Monterey probably within a month.

Q. And your seven Hooters, to coin a phrase --


Q. I'm just trying to draw any kind of parallel. Obviously the talent now is just a little bit different. If you at one point at least had an idea of how Vijay must feel, what you did in terms of controlling yourself on Sunday, regularity, how you showed up at the next tournament --

CHAD CAMPBELL: I won a lot of those -- I know I won three in a row at the first of the year. I think I won four out of the first six. I don't know how he does it. Even on that level, I always wore out. Just every week being out there, and he plays -- how many tournaments did he play this year?

Q. 28, plus Europe.

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, that's just amazing that you can keep doing it.

Q. What is it that wears you out?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I think it's just mentally grinding it out on the last day. Not physically, I don't think you really get tired, it's just you get -- I'd say you get a little lazy mentally and it seems like you hit bad shots, not because you're physically tired but because your mind is not all there, not focused as much.

Q. Did you feel like you had a presence about yourself when you started winning four out of six?


Q. Did you sense it when you got to a tournament, people looking at you?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I think if I was playing with the guys that had never won a tournament, we were paired together on the last day, I'm guessing I kind of already had a one-up on him.

Q. What's Vijay got right now? Do you think he's got -- do you think he's one up on Mickelson on the first tee?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I don't know, he's playing great. I mean, I don't know how -- it's better than Tiger's year three years ago, numbers-wise, isn't it?

TODD BUDNICK: Same wins, less majors.

CHAD CAMPBELL: It's kind of comparable. Yeah, Tiger's might still be -- I don't know, but they're very comparable. Both of them are amazing.

Maybe he's just got so much confidence right now he can't do anything wrong. Like I watched him the last week in Tampa. Tommy Armour made the putt on 16 and then he came back and made the par putt and made the par putt on 18 and a birdie putt on 18. What was that, three 15-footers in a row.

Q. He's a pretty cocky guy anyway. Is there a little extra swagger to him? Do you notice his chin is a little higher, shoulders up a little further? He's got every right to obviously. Any difference in the way he carries himself?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Not really. I haven't seen him that much lately, but he's always the same to me. He's always been nothing but nice to me.

Q. What's the biggest dig he ever took at you? I mean, he can dish it with the best of them.

CHAD CAMPBELL: I don't know if he ever has. I guess I'll be looking forward to that or something.

Q. Do you have any idea how to get to the level he's at right now?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Make more putts.

Q. Is that it?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Drive it in the fairway more, hit better iron shots. You know, it's just hard work. Once you start winning, I mean, obviously I don't know. At a lower level I do, but nothing like what he's doing right now. Once you start doing that, you don't feel like you can miss fairways, you don't feel like you can miss putts. All the bad things are out of your head and you can't do no wrong. I'm sure that's kind of what he's feeling right now.

Q. A couple years ago Carrie Webb said if she had to work as hard as Annika did to be No. 1, she wouldn't be willing to do that because there was too much sacrifice, too much lifting weights, too much sweating blood, and Vijay is working out twice a day six days a week and you see how much time he spends on the range. If you knew if you spent that amount of time that you could be No. 1, would you do it? Would you make that sacrifice, all those extra hours? It's a lot to give up.

CHAD CAMPBELL: It is. I don't know. That's a good question. I don't have an answer for you. I'll have to think about that one. You know, he works hard at it. It's not to say he doesn't deserve it. He's put in a lot of time. I've obviously noticed it the last two or three years. He deserves it.

Q. You've experienced the progression that you talked about from Hooters to Nationwide to here. Do you see luck playing in part of that, and is luck more part of winning at this level than it is at other levels because the fields aren't as strong?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I mean, I don't think luck is the right word. I think you've just got to get some good bounces to win tournaments. Maybe that's lucky, I don't know. I just don't like to say he got lucky to win that tournament. Obviously he's played phenomenal if he wins in the tournament anywhere.

Q. I'm not talking about Vijay; I'm talking in general.

CHAD CAMPBELL: I was talking general, too. You know, to win tournaments, you have to get good bounces and stuff has to go your way. You know, I've seen it playing with guys that end up winning a tournament or something. A ball doesn't go in the hazard or hits a tree and ends up in the fairway, things like that. It's kind of funny to see -- not saying anybody is lucky when they win tournaments. I'm not saying that you have to be lucky. I don't know if I really answered your question.

Q. But more than likely you're going to get a good bounce if you win.

CHAD CAMPBELL: You need good bounces. A lot of times the guys that don't win don't get the bounces.

TODD BUDNICK: All right, thank you, Chad.

End of FastScripts.

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