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April 7, 2006

Chad Campbell


RONALD TOWNSEND: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, we're delighted to have Chad Campbell. This is Chad's fourth Masters appearance, and he shot a 67 today. We would like to take your questions.

Q. Can you personally for your style of play, can you address the way this course plays now as in the last few years when it's been wet?

CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, it's nice to see the ball rolling on the fairways actually. Even with the changes, it still seems like it's running down there almost as far, so it's not playing as long as I thought it would be, anyway.

11 is definitely playing longer. You can't quite fly it up top and it's more of a dog-leg now. So it's definitely playing tough.

Q. Just talk about at this point just being on top of the leaderboard here at this tournament now, and your impressions when you saw that Vijay went double-double to give you that lead right now.

CHAD CAMPBELL: Well, I just noticed it right now. You know I wasn't really paying that much attention. I think I was on 18 when he actually was -- 17 or 18 when he was doing that.

You know, it's special to be leading after two rounds. Obviously my goal is to be leading after four rounds, but it's a good start and hopefully I'll have a good weekend. This is a special place and a special tournament. Glad to be a part of it and glad to be playing well.

Q. But no other impression about the double-double there, as another competitor?

CHAD CAMPBELL: No. We've got a lot of golf left. You're probably going to have a double somewhere.

Q. Back-to-back?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Hopefully not.

Q. When is the last time you hit your irons this good? It was fairly easy for you, if it could be easy out there; no?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I don't know. I wouldn't say easy, but, yeah, I felt like I was hitting a lot of good shots. Probably first of the year, Hawaii and Palm Springs, I felt like I was hitting them pretty good there. I think if anything, probably a little bit better now.

Q. Have you had time to call anybody, your brother, friends, and be like, "Dude, I'm leading The Masters"? (Laughter)?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Not yet. I probably won't take any phone calls, my parents there's about it. My brother is here with me.

Q. The fourth hole was considerably up today, I guess with the pin positions, what were you thinking when you got up there, thank heavens they didn't put it back?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, that would have been a really tough pin playing it from 240. It probably would have been 250 if they had it where it's been the last few days.

That's a tough pin placement. I was playing with Fred Funk and he hit a great shot, bounced right over the green, he flew it about five yards too long and it flew over the trees on the other side of the green. I think he hit 5-iron, I'm not sure.

Q. Have you been a guy throughout your career that has needed to get comfortable with your surroundings each day; how does that translate into playing out here? I know you struggled here the first couple of times and played a lot better last year. Can you talk about that process here?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Absolutely. It's such a special place. I get excited just coming here every year.

My first couple of years, even last year, I was definitely pretty nervous and couldn't relax and play, worried about hitting in the wrong place instead of going out there and playing golf. I felt like the last couple of years I've been able to play golf and not worry so much about hitting bad shots because everybody is going to miss it in the wrong place some time or another.

Q. Some of the guys who played well yesterday said that it's so tough that it's scary but it's fun when it works out. Talk about your thoughts about something like that.

CHAD CAMPBELL: It's very tough out there. Especially this afternoon, I think the winds -- our back nine, the winds were swirling quite a bit. It's getting pretty tough. I know it's going to be tough out there this afternoon.

Yesterday was about as easy as you're probably going to get it and it wasn't very easy, you know, with little wind, I don't know if the wind blew over five miles an hour yesterday. It was pretty much perfect.

You know, it's just a tough golf course to be able to hit it where you're looking. Then to judge the wind correctly, that's pretty tough to do.

Q. It's been a while, you lost at the PGA; what does it mean to get back, even if it is two rounds into it, and be in contention at yet another major?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I mean, it's great. When I arrived here, that was my goal is to win the golf tournament. So that's what I'm looking for. We're only halfway through, but I'd rather be where I'm at now. You know, obviously the round is not true. Somebody could make up a lot of ground and pass me, I'm sure. There's some red numbers up there.

I like where I'm at. Looking forward to the weekend and I think it will be a good test.

Q. Has it been kind of a process getting back and wanting to be in contention at every major, getting to that short list type of a thing?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Right. Obviously your goal is to be able to compete in all of majors. You know, I haven't done that as well as I'd like obviously and I think that's what I've been working toward. Last year wasn't the best year for me and got off to a good start this year and obviously off to a good start the first two days this week.

Q. Magnificent round, especially under the conditions?


Q. We talk to athletes when they are in that zone, did you feel that; that just everything was working for you?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I guess a little bit, a little bit. I felt like I was driving the ball well, which takes a lot of pressure off everything. When you get the ball in the fairway, then the hole has only started actually but it makes it a lot easier when you are hitting out of the fairway and you can control the spin a lot better on your irons.

Like I was saying, the hardest part was figuring out that wind on the back nine because it was kind of all over the place. I think that's definitely the toughest part.

Q. How did you assess last year and how did you prepare for this year? What were the particular things you wanted to get better at this year?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I think putting definitely, because out here, you know, it made it so much driving and iron play now, but you've still got to putt. I think that's the biggest part of this course is putting.

You know, you can have 15-, 20-footers -- I had a 10-footer out there today, you're running at it, but you can't really. It takes a lot of touch. Yeah, you're putting very defensively a lot of times out there, but you have to.

Q. You rolled in a putt on 12 for birdie and there was hardly a peep, it was actually hard to see whether it had gone in or not. Given a choice, if every hole were like that and there were nobody around, would you rather play every hole like that or would you rather play in a big crowd?

CHAD CAMPBELL: It is pretty weird when you're back there. I went over to my caddie and said not too often do you roll in a 20-footer and you barely hear any claps. It was pretty interesting.

To answer your question, either way. Obviously I'd like to hear a few claps. It's kind of weird when you don't.

Q. What will you tell your folks tonight, and will you gush, will you be excited, will you, "Oh, guess what mom and dad, I'm leading the Masters after 36 holes"? How will you celebrate or what will your routine be tonight?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I don't think there's anything to celebrate yet. I haven't really accomplished much yet. You know, there's 36 holes left and we're only halfway through.

You know I'm definitely excited. It's where I want to be. My parents will be happy for me. They know what's going on. They are following me.

Q. I've got to revisit this question. I can't remember what the total sport coat count was, counting the Bay Hill, was that the first, basically?

CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, there's a few more.

Q. Like one more.

CHAD CAMPBELL: I'd give it two or three. I played in the Ryder Cup so you get some. (Laughter).

Q. Is that a difference between you now and you several years ago; that it would have been something incredible to celebrate after 36 holes, leading the Masters and you deserve at least a T-bone or something?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Even a couple of years ago, when I was leading the PGA or tied for the lead going into the final round, I was definitely excited. But you don't want to get ahead of yourself. You've still got, just like in that situation, still had 18 holes left and here I've got 36 holes left. There is a lot of golf left.

Q. As a Texas guy, what did you think of Ben Crenshaw being up there and then can you take us through your three birdies?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I think it's great. You know, Ben, he's obviously playing well, he obviously knows his way around the course. He's had a lot of success here. You know, one of the best putters ever. I was talking earlier about putting around here, so I don't think there's much better than him.

And the three birdies, where did it start, 12. 12, I hit 7-iron to it was probably about 20 feet just short of the hole.

13, I hit 3-wood off the tee and then laid up to 70 yards, L-wedge in there at ten feet.

14, hit 9-iron in there to about six feet.

Q. I know you've been asked this, but that pole that was taken in Sports Illustrated where the players picked you as the new coming hero/star, did that ever bother you or put pressure on you or did you try to live up to it?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I looked at it, I thought it was an honor to be, fellow players looked at me that way. I don't think I really put too much more pressure on myself. I thought it was -- I just took it as it is and took it as a compliment.

Q. How does a player try to improve specifically for the majors, and are you at a stage in your career where you're doing that, just trying to improve just for the majors?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I'm definitely planning my schedule around the majors as far as always be fresh here. You're always working, like you come here and you know the greens are going to be super fast. You work on your stroke a lot, you work on your putting a lot. There's really not anything out of the normal that I do differently.

Q. What are some of the things that used to make you nervous here that you find yourself comfortable?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Honestly, just being here. You grow up watching this tournament, I can remember pretty vividly when Nicklaus won in '86, so I always -- this is the best tournament to watch on TV. I just really enjoyed watching it. To finally come here and play in it, you know it was pretty special, especially a couple of years ago, like I said, I was pretty nervous. But it's a different story now. I feel pretty comfortable.

Q. Just to follow to that, what did you learn? What changed and allowed you to relax?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Really nothing. Maybe I feel like my game's improved and I feel like I can play this course and like I can compete on this golf course. I've learned where to hit it, where not to hit it to some extent. But just try to keep it out of those spots.

Q. Are you where you thought you would be in your career now or do you think you've underachieved or overachieved?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Honestly, I don't really think about it. I just try to -- I go along with it and, you know, whatever comes, happens, seriously. (Laughter) Obviously I'd have liked to have had ten majors by now. I don't know if I've even played in ten. (Laughter) You know what I'm saying. I don't really think about it to be honest with you.

Q. Where were you in '86 watching that, and what specifically do you remember?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Just at the house you know, with my parents and my brother. I was 12 years old then. So I just remember, you know, I was always a Nicklaus fan, so being able to watch it, watch him make that charge on the back nine was pretty awesome.

Q. Were you a Nicklaus fan because your dad was?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Probably so, probably because of my dad. I'm sure he always liked him.

Q. So it's true you've never had a lesson, never had a swing coach?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I've had lessons. I mean, not -- I had a coach in college, so we worked a lot on the short game.

Q. But you prefer to work on your own game?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, I don't have like a swing coach to kind of answer your question. I still go back and see him. I haven't been back this year, to see my coach at UNLV, Dwaine Knight. I go back maybe once or twice a year to see him when we're out there during the tournament. He always works on me with putting. We'll spend a few hours out there. I'll talk to him on the phone sometimes. That's about it as far as a coach goes.

Q. Can you go through 17 and 18?

CHAD CAMPBELL: 17, drove it right down the middle on 17 and had 161 in. Like I said before, we thought the wind was straight right-to-left, and I think it ended up being that way. We just caught a gust that was a little bit downwind and hit 8-iron just over the green. Actually had a 7 at first because I thought it was hurting but switched to 8, it was a little too much club.

18, hit driver, had 145 in, hit 9-iron.

Q. How long was the putt on 18?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Probably 15 feet.

6, I hit it to about six inches.

8, about the same.

Q. Did you have the wrong club on 6?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah. (Laughter).

RONALD TOWNSEND: Thank you all very much. Thank you, Chad. Good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts.

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