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October 5, 2005

Michael Campbell


RODDY WILLIAMS: Michael, thanks very much for coming in and joining us. Well, first of all, give us your thoughts on the week ahead and the course, how it's shaping up, how your game is.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: It's a great little golf course. It's a California gem, I think. It's nice to see some old trees. It's got the history behind this golf course, and it's nice to see that the general public plays for cheap as chips, really. I think it's 45 bucks to play on a weekend, so it's great for the local public to get out and play, as well.

The course itself, it's not long but long enough. I think the golf course is a good test of golf. And come the next four days, it all depends on the weather, if it blows here it'll be tough. The greens are firm and fast, so I think it's going to be a good little tournament.

Q. And you're feeling pretty confident, you're playing well?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I didn't play last week, took a week off after a grueling seven weeks in a row. Playing World Match Play was a long week there. It was nice to take a bit of time off.

Q. You've got the Order of Merit race, as well, this week. I was actually just having a bit of a chat with Colin. What are your thoughts?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: It wasn't really a chat, it's a bantering. It was a nice little banter that we had. Yeah, it makes it very interesting for the next couple of weeks coming up with this week and the Volvo Masters, I think. There's three or four guys in the running. I believe Retief Goosen is injured so he's out of the equation, but myself and obviously Monty and Cabrera have a chance to win. So there's three or four guys who are going for that No. 1 spot.

Q. Given what you've seen of the course and the demands of the course, what kind of player do you think will win here? What are the most important or magnified skills that this course will test?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I think this golf course requires a lot of once again, hitting the ball straight. If you miss the fairways on this golf course, you've got no chance of staying on the green because the greens are so firm. So you've got to hit the ball straight and long, which is a good combination to win this week, I believe.

Q. Does the size of the field and the setup for this tournament with its big purse and everything make it easier to come to these kind of events, given where it's being held or where it could be held?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I think it still accumulates all the best players in the world, apart from the two injured ones, Goosey and Ernie, and you've got the best players in the world playing this week. It's quite different to what you normally play at. It's half the size of the field, and you've got the opportunity of the best players from Japan, Asia and South Africa and Australia to play here, so it gives them an opportunity to play with the best players in the world. So it's a little bit different to what we normally do, what we normally play.

It's great for the game, I think, to have more different types of players playing this week. And it's nice to spread this tournament around the world. We've been into Ireland a few times. I'd like to see it somewhere a little bit further away than just America all the time. I believe that we should somehow get over to Asia somewhere. It is called a world event, and to have the token one per world outside America, to me is it four events? There's always that token one that's outside America. I'd like to see in the future maybe two outside of America rather than having just one.

Obviously Americans don't like to travel. That's one of the reasons why I think that they do have all the world golf tournaments here in America, which is very unfortunate, but there are Americans who do travel the world, like Tiger who's playing in Shanghai in another month's time, so he does get around, which is great for the game. I do wish more Americans would do the same thing. That's their choice, and they choose not to travel, so that's fine.

I'm a global player. I always enjoy playing different parts of the world. That's why I do that.

Q. I think it also has to do with U.S. television wanting it in the States because then they can have a live finish at 6:00 p.m. eastern, whereas when it's in Ireland they show it on delay. Do you think that should come into it? Doesn't TV pay the bills?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I suppose they do, yeah. I didn't think about that. I just think about trying to spread these world events I believe that obviously TV pays most of the bills, and we've got to please those guys. But once again, this is the game of golf, where it should be spread around the world, and I'm a firm believer in that. Obviously all these politics need to be sorted out, but I still believe we should spread these tournaments around, more than just one.

Q. Speaking of the global game, American golf fans are going to see some players this week that they normally don't get a chance to see down at Pebble Beach or in southern California. Who are some of the guys from the European Tour that we are seeing this week that we should be looking at, young guys who are on their way up?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: How young is young?

Q. Players who have had really good years this year.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I haven't seen the field, so I couldn't really tell you.

Q. What about a guy like Nick Dougherty or something like that, a guy who a lot of American golf fans don't know much about?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Nick Dougherty and Ian Poulter, that group of guys. I couldn't name any more really.

Q. Do you think guys like that, Poulter and Dougherty, bring some excitement to the game?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Look at the way they dress (laughter). They're better than cocky. A bit of patterns going on with their dress code. They're very colorful personalities and I think it's great for the game to have those guys here this week. They're great talents, young and very enthusiastic, so great to have the crowd see that different part of the game of golf, and just nice to accumulate all the different types of clothes from around the world. Normally these players wouldn't play in these championships, not Nick and Ian, but

Q. Simon Yates or something like that?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Euan Walters from Australia, he qualified through the Australasian Tour, I think he's playing with Tiger tomorrow, so it's wonderful for him to have that experience, the experience of playing with Tiger. Once again, this is the opportunity for golfers to get together from different parts of the world and have a chance to play with the best players in the world.

Q. Is Tiger always the favorite going into a tournament like this, or because of the course setup does that bring sort of even the playing field?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: He can play on a telephone book and still be good. He can adjust his game to any golf course we play, whether it's long, short, straight or bent or whatever, he can do anything with a golf ball, so he's always favored coming into a golf tournament.

Q. Also, a couple players have said that the rough along the fairway isn't that terrible.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: You can get lucky out there. It's very, very patchy in places. You actually can get away with hitting a lot of missed fairways and still shoot around even par, but if you want to shoot low, you've got to get it close to the pin. But you can get away with a few loose drives and still hit the green but be 40 feet away.

Q. How much will the trees come into play? Are they close enough to the fairway to come into play?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Yeah, there's a lot of overhanging branches there on the edge of the fairways, so they reach out and grab your golf ball sometimes.

Q. What's your experience out here in California? How much have you played out here?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I've played once before, Pebble Beach. I finished like top 15 I think it was. That was a wonderful experience, first time at Pebble Beach and first time in California playing, and I had a great time.

Q. Is there anyplace in the world that's similar in weather, courses, all that stuff?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: New Zealand, very, very similar.

Q. In what regard?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Up north. There's golf courses up there where there's 15 holes on the coastline there, Kauri Coast where I come from, my home course there, it's just very similar to Pebble.

Q. Was that experience at Pebble at AT & T or one of The Opens?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: U.S. Open 2000, the one that Tiger just won.

Q. Since your U.S. Open win, can you speak to how that has changed your role as a role model for youngsters coming into the game and what you have done about that both in New Zealand and where you live now in England?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Obviously winning a major, you have new responsibilities. I think the last four months I've learned a lot about myself and how to conduct myself off the golf course because I know that if I'm at a restaurant somewhere, I need to use my manners and eat properly; those sort of things go a long way, people seeing you eat, or you go to a restaurant or do things.

So I feel that I'm more exposed to the world since my U.S. Open win, and also World Match Play win, too, and I just think that you've got to conduct yourself just as good off the golf course as on the golf course because the image of a person that is professional these young kids coming through playing the game need role models. Like myself, I had a few role models as a kid, and I think it's very, very important, so I think winning a major, you always have big, huge responsibilities on your hands, and I think that I've had that the last four or five months.

Q. Are you planning to conduct any clinics for the kids?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Eventually, yes. I will try to focus on other things but I think it might dilute my focus on the game. I've been talking to people about doing some sort of Michael Campbell golfing schools in New Zealand or something like that to have some sort of input to make sure we can nurture all the talent back home in New Zealand and point them in the right direction. That's what they need is direction and inspiration.

I go once a year to I have my own golf tournament, Michael Campbell Junior golf tournament back in Wellington, which I try to attend and give clinics and speeches about how to succeed in their chosen sport. So I'm always trying to give back. You're born with two hands, one to receive and one to give out, and that's one thing I try to do in this life is to try and give out as much as I can.

Q. This might be a follow up question, but if this was a regular Tour stop, an entire 151 man field, would we see as many of the top players here, or is it because the money is to great and the purse is so high and the paycheck for No. 1 is so big, is that why we see

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I think in America especially, every week is a million dollars, isn't it, for first prize. So for us, for the European players, Australasian players and Japanese players, it's a huge purse prize for us, but for Americans it's just another week, another dollar.

For me, I won a big check three weeks ago, World Match Play, $1.8 million first prize. So money right now is I mean, golf has gone from strength to strength the last ten years, and I think the money issue right now isn't the issue, it's about winning a world event, which is my next mission. I've won a major, I want to win more majors and also I want to win a world event, which I haven't done yet, so that's my goal is to win one of these tournaments. To achieve that, I need to play to a very high standard, and all the past champions as you see in the records of NEC, the American Express, the Match Play at La Costa, they've all been great champions, so it would be nice to be a part of history.

Q. Do you have a prediction as far as the winning score here? It's a par 70. Some people have said it might be in the single digits. Tiger said possibly 20 under. I know it's early and we haven't seen what the wind and sun will do to these greens.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I was looking at around 10 or 12 under is my guesstimate. I think between 10 and 12 under is going to win this week because as the week goes on, it's going to be the greens are going to get faster and harder, so I reckon it'll be 10 or 12 under.

Q. Cambo, you had a good Presidents Cup, but once again, the team lost and The Internationals are now none for four playing in America in singles. That seems to be a problem. What do you think needs to change for The International team to get over the final hill?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I think we're very, very close. I think, as you say, the record in singles has been pretty much below average. It goes to show that the Americans play better as individuals rather than as a team. Every time we have foursomes and four ball they don't do as well, but as individuals they perform great. To have an answer to that, I'm not sure. I think we're close.

I think if you look at the figures for example, I think that Gary Player told us a very interesting stat. I think there's 26 million golfers in America, and if you accumulate all the golfers in Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Argentina, there's like 2 million golfers, so there's a huge different ratio there, proportion, and the thing is that I believe that we are getting closer to topping the American team on the home soil, it's just a matter of time.

I actually thought we were going to win, to be honest, two weeks ago. It was very close and we got very excited and it wasn't good enough. But once again, I think we're very close to hopefully winning on American soil for once.

Q. If I could follow up on that, they're leaning towards evidently 2011 taking it back to Australia. Do you think that's right, or do you think somewhere like Japan or even your country New Zealand should get it first?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Yeah, before we have a conversation about the world events we should spread it out a little bit. 2011, I'll be retired by then. Yeah, it would be nice to maybe have it in a different part of the world, Japan or New Zealand or Asia somewhere. But I think maybe we're trying to go back to old good habits of playing Royal Melbourne where we won obviously. It's a great venue, Australia, and it would be nice to go somewhere else other than Australia.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Michael, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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