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June 19, 2005

Michael Campbell


Q. How does it feel to have that cup in your hand?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: It's unbelieable. That's all I can say. I worked hard for it, I deserve it. I think. And I have it. So it's all mine.

Q. What do you think they are doing in New Zealand right now?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Partying, celebrating. I am sure Mom and Dad and the rest of my friends at Hog's Bay Golf Club will be having a few drinks on me. Go for it. I will pay, I will pay.

Q. You talked at the ceremony about flying under the radar. With so many other stories coming out

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I was sneaking in there. Yeah. All the media hype was on Goosey winning three times and back to back, and obviously, Jason playing so well for three rounds and being the Cinderella story, and Tiger threatening, Vijay threatening, and there was little old me, just in there, hanging just in between, you know, some great players, the world's best players. And I snuck in there, and without anybody noticing, really, and I won.

Q. Does it make it any easier that way?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Absolutely. I think playing with Olin Browne today was a great pairing for me, to be honest. He was a fine gentleman to play with. After Olin got off to a really poor start the first nine holes, he kind of knew that he had no chance to win, but he was very, very supportive of me, and we had some great time out there.

He told me a joke on the 15th tee, because I was really tense, I knew Tiger was coming back at me, and he told me a joke on the 15th tee there, and it really relaxed me. So he is a true gentleman, so I want to thank him very much from the bottom of my heart.

Q. 18 was one of the better reactions they've ever seen in sports, the emotion, the outpouring was just spectacular.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: It was pretty emotional, pretty emotional. I was thinking about all my family back in England, my wife, Julie, who is a big part of this of my success. She's the backbone of my success, definitely, definitely. We've been through some rough times, but, hey, it's been good times, too, and she has been there for me.

And she rang me this morning and she said to me, Michael, are you ready for this one? I said, "Yeah, yeah, I am ready," just, "Yeah, yeah I am ready."

And she goes, "No, Michael, are you really ready for this one?" And I said, "Yeah, I am really ready for this one."

And so she was doing her thing back in England, supporting me, and my family, Mom and Dad, watching at the golf club there back home, back in Wellington, New Zealand. To actually come this far after what I have been through, back in '98 I was going to give up the game, you know, I had a wrist injury and I lost my card on the Australasain Tour, European Tour, had nowhere to play, and the invites came through on the European Tour and Australasian Tour, and it got me started again back in '99.

And it's been a great journey since then. You know, I have won six times or yeah whatever, ten times since then, since '99, six times on the European Tour, and now a big one, a real big one.

Q. What do you say to people whose game has gone down, like David Duval and other people who have had great success and have fallen down and now you have come back?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Have faith, believe in yourself. Dave Duval is one of the best players I have ever played with in recent times. He is going through a hard time, that's all, but he will be back. Dave Duval will be back, definitely.

Q. When in the round did you feel that you really had an extremely realistic chance at winning this tournament?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: 17, when I stuck the birdie putt on 17 because I knew Tiger bogeyed 17, so there was a two shot swing there, so I think I had like four shots on the last hole was it? I can't remember. Three shots to play with on the last hole? Three, was it? So sinking that birdie putt on 17 was a turning point.

But I said to myself, and to my caddy, just keep your focus, because look what happened to Jean Van de Velde back in '99. Sorry, Jean, I shouldn't mention your name here. But I said, "Keep your focus" probably 30 times before I got to the tee, 18th tee. The pace is a 15, 10 yard walk, but I said that 30 times, "Keep your focus."

Q. (Inaudible) back in New Zealand.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: It means that the All Blacks are playing the lines right now, and I want to wish them all the best of luck. You can do it, guys, I know you can.

But I think, finally, I am on the front page of the All Blacks.

Q. What's your relationship like with Bob Charles?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Fantastic. Last time we won he won a major championship was back in '63, so I was thinking about Bob, his achievement. And now I have done it myself. It's incredible.

Q. Michael, take us back to when you qualified to this event. You were the first qualifier in nine, ten years, qualified to play at Pinehurst. Did you ever even dream this?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: No. I actually wasn't going to play this week. But my management group and my caddy convinced me to play, so I went to the qualifying at Walton Heath that week and a half ago, I think it was, and just scraped through, just scraped through.

And when I arrived here at Pinehurst on Monday, I felt very, very comfortable. I love the golf course. I play a lot of golf courses like this back in Australia; also, different parts of Europe, as well. And I felt very at ease with the golf course.

And today, I tried to mostly just focus on playing this event like it's playing a round of golf with my mate, Olin Browne, just trying to transform my mental thinking somewhere else, just tell myself to swing it like you can, hit the fairways, hit the greens and make some putts.

Q. How long do you think it will be until this actually sinks in that you won the U.S. Open?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I don't know. I don't know. It hasn't yet, so

Q. You said that Steve Williams was the highest paid athlete

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Not anymore, Steve. I have got it.

Q. What's your rapport with Steve?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Steve has been a great influence in my career. I am always trying to get into Steve's mind about Tiger, how he thinks around the golf course, but he never let's me in, unfortunately, which is fair enough, it's professional.

But yeah, Steve has been great, he has been very professional all golf, junior golf, back home, New Zealand golf. No, he is a great character. He is great for the game and New Zealand.

Q. When you had the injury and when you were considering the injury and where you were in giving up the game, talk a little bit about would you ever dream, in your wildest dreams, that you would be standing there with that cup?

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: Yes, I would, because I came close, you know, ten years ago. '95 I was leading after three rounds of the Open at St. Andrews. What a place. And finished behind John Daly, who won that year by one shot. But it wasn't my turn.

So I stayed patient for ten years, and I went through some ups and downs, some injuries, missing cuts, missing tournaments, missing cuts, missing tournaments, but deep down inside, I knew that I had something in me to do something special.

End of FastScripts.

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