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January 7, 2006

Michael Campbell


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Michael, thank you for joining us. Another good round for you today. Put yourself in position to challenge Stuart tomorrow. Maybe some opening comments about a good day in blustery conditions.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I think the last three rounds is all about grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding. I turn a semi one today from a semi four to semi five. Holed about three 15-footers for pars. Just one of those days you've got to just grind. Today was a perfect example.

Made a slow start, bogeying 3 and 5, and then managed four birdies coming home. It was a nice finish.


Q. You talked yesterday a little bit about growing up playing golf in the wind. How much has that helped all week?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Oh, absolutely a lot. I mean, every single shot today was manufactured. You got to aim 40 yards right of the pin sometimes. A prime example was on 8 today. I aimed probably 40 yards right. With the wind direction and the contour of the green, it landed on the green and it went left probably about two feet.

It's one of those weeks where you hit a wedge about 30 feet away, it's a great shot. The greens are so firm, hard to get at some of the pins. You just got to be patient out there. Patience is the essence, I think, this week to succeed and lift that trophy tomorrow.

Q. How come the two guys in front are both from Down Under?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Why? Must be something in the water, I don't know.

Q. Water or the wind.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, Stuey is used to -- obviously he's won twice before, so he's on a high with confidence. But he's used to these conditions, too. We grew up playing in Australia, which is a few tournaments exposed to a lot of wind, around Australia, around New Zealand. We're used to these conditions. For us to hit a 4-iron 130 yards is sometimes normal for us. You just got to go out there and grind your butt out there to have a chance tomorrow.

Stuart and I are very good friends. We'll be shaking hands on the first tee as opponents, and then come the 18th green, we'll be shaking hands as friends again. That's how I'm going to treat tomorrow. In between that time of shaking hands, two guys competing, competing to win this tournament. I believe that I've got the tools to do well this week, and hopefully tomorrow will be my day.

It all depends on the others, what they do, their mindset, how they feel. Once again, it's just a tough grind. I'm looking forward to tomorrow as a nice little challenge for me.

Q. Two strokes back. That can probably go in one hole easily.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Very quickly. Two-shot swing on one hole, that's one right there. It's a tough golf course. You can't get too impatient. You got to try and make pars really, sink the occasional birdie. I think I'm leading in birdie stats this week. If you go back to Pinehurst, I was leading the birdie stat there, too. I make a lot of birdies every time I play. Sometimes too many mistakes. If I iron out the mistakes, I think I've got a very good chance tomorrow.

Q. We've talked to you a little bit about your 10-tournament limit out here. Does this week feel like you have to make hay a little bit more because you know opportunities are limited throughout your season on this TOUR?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Well, I think if I make more than 150th from last year, 125th, whatever it is, from last year's Order of Merit, I'm unlimited events. If I win tomorrow, I can play more than my 10 events, I think.

Q. Good goal?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Great goal (smiling).

Q. Does that fact add pressure tomorrow?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: No, no. I just take each shot as it comes. Just tee it up on the 1st hole and see what happens on the 1st hole, and fly another tee shot and hit my next shot and that sort of stuff.

Q. If you won tomorrow, would you think about playing Sony?


Q. Already home?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I'm going home. I've got a month off after this, a month off, so I'm looking forward to that.

Q. You're going to New Zealand?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: New Zealand, that's right.

Q. What is Stuart doing so well from what you've seen playing next to him today?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Every department of his game is very, very sound, very sharp. I think his putting was solid today. Around the greens. His iron play. His distance control with his irons, driving. Every department of his game this week is very sharp for what -- after a bit of a holiday from the game. His mind is pretty there, as well.

He'll be tough to beat tomorrow, but I believe I've got the tools to actually beat him. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. I think late last year you said you were pretty jaded, correct?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: (Nodding head.)

Q. Just having a few weeks off over Christmas freshened you up?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: It was perfect. Didn't even touch a golf club. First time I touched a golf club was on Tuesday here on the range. I had three weeks off or two and a half weeks off from Tiger's event to this week. It was fantastic. Boating, fishing, lots of drinking champagne, red wine, you name it, I did it.

Actually, I found it quite easy to get back in that mode of competing again on Thursday, the first tee here. Because, you know, it's only been a three-week break, it didn't really seem that long. It was easy to latch on to a more competitive mindset for Thursday.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Stuey is a good friend of mine. We're going to have some fun.

Q. When you left Tiger, the final round was a Sunday, December 10th or 11th, did you leave that following Monday and fly home?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Sunday, flew back. Obviously, with the date line, you lose a day.

Q. Got home Tuesday?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: It was exactly three weeks exactly to the day between drinks (smiling).

Q. You know two shots is nothing out here. Having seen Stuart today, do you feel like you need some help, you and the others, or do you feel this is something where you go out and get him?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I think we need to make lots of birdies tomorrow. He's going to be tough to beat. He'll be shooting 2-under, 3-under tomorrow. I can see that right now. We need to shoot, you know, 4-under, 5-under to have a chance of winning. When you try to push too hard, too quickly sometimes, you make mistakes, you make bogeys.

I'm just going to pace myself tomorrow, see what happens. Like a game of chess. Leave my prawns (sic) out first, my bishops and the queen can go out there later on and go in for the attack.

Q. Pawns.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Sorry, pawns (smiling). Prawns on the barbie, mate.

Q. How many guys do you think realistically have a chance tomorrow?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I reckon guys within five shots from Stuey.

Q. Everybody under par?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Yeah. Who is that? Vijay is there also.

Q. Sergio.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Garcia. Obviously Jim and myself. There's a bunch of guys who got a chance tomorrow. All depends on the wind conditions once again. Today was harder because it was gusty. Yesterday was more consistent, 30 knots, whatever it was. Today was gusty. It was tougher today than it was yesterday, I believe.

Q. Because yesterday was so steady?


Q. I read something that you didn't have that big of a problem with Tiger and Retief not playing this week.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: That's their business. They decided not to play this week because they needed rest. I can vouch for that. I had a busy season. I had five weeks in a row. I went from - I can't remember now - China, Japan, Hawaii, Australia, LA, five weeks in a row playing golf. I was pretty jaded. I think Tiger followed the same sort of suit, apart from Australia.

Q. His plane is bigger, I think.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: His plane is bigger, you're right. There's only, what, 10 people on that plane, too.

Q. Skins Game.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Once again, it's been a long season for him as well. I can't judge what he does. I can understand why he's taken this week off.

Q. What would be the difference of him and Retief and Phil missing this week compared with missing match play at Wentworth? Thought that was a bit of a blow.


Q. HSBC. You won, didn't you?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Seems so long ago (smiling). I can't remember what I did yesterday, let alone bloody six months ago.

Everyone makes their schedule the way they make it because they want to rest up. Obviously coming here is six hours or 10 hours from the East Coast, six hours from the West Coast of America. It's a long way to come. Most of us played until Sun City, as well as Tiger's event at the end of the year. Then you've got a two-week break.

During that two-week break there, it's Christmas. It's more stressful. You're rushing around, buying presents and stuff.

End of FastScripts.

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