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September 23, 2008

Chad Campbell


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chad Campbell, thank you for joining us in the interview room at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, fresh off a win at the Ryder Cup. I'm sure it's been a fun couple of days enjoying that. Maybe some comments about the last few days and the last week.
CHAD CAMPBELL: Obviously last week was awesome, very exciting, and pretty intense the whole week, as you can imagine. You know, a lot of good golf was played on both sides, and it was nice to finally come out on top. It was a pretty awesome feeling.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You managed to qualify for the TOUR Championship despite having withdrawn from the BMW Championship for the best reason of all, having a child. How surprised were you to finish right on the number at No. 30?
CHAD CAMPBELL: I was definitely keeping an eye on it. You know, actually my wife was wanting me to keep an eye on it more so than me. I obviously wanted to qualify, but I knew it was going to be close since I pulled out of St. Louis.
We were fortunate enough to have a healthy baby on the Saturday night of St. Louis, and the whole next day she was on me about trying to follow it. I was driving myself crazy trying to follow it. As soon as we got in, Judd, my caddie, texted me and said we were in on the number.

Q. Did you bring any picture?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Pictures? There's some on my phone.

Q. Does it look like a baby?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, it looks like a little baby boy (laughter). About eight pounds.

Q. Is he a good quote?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Is he a good quote? He's already a good quote.

Q. Just a quick question about the Ryder Cup. A couple days now have passed. I'm just really kind of curious, one, how does it feel to come out for once a winner since it's been a tough few years? And second, do you think the changes that were put in place two years ago finally paid off?
CHAD CAMPBELL: I think so. I think we had six rookies on the team, and I think it was great. They kind of -- they didn't know what the other side of it is. They didn't know what losing was like, which was a good thing.
You know, they all brought a lot of energy, Boo and Anthony Kim, those guys, they just played great and fired up the fans. I'm sure everybody saw Boo going off the first tee box on Sunday. That's just kind of -- I guess that's just the way he does things. It was awesome.
It was a great week, and we all pulled together and played some really good golf and beat a good team.

Q. Do you feel the changes, that was the difference?
CHAD CAMPBELL: I think it definitely helped. More than anything, you know, finally it seemed like we played well and made some putts. But I definitely think it was nice having some new faces on the team. Azinger was big on wanting the four picks and the different qualifying -- qualifications for getting on the team.
So I think it all worked out well. You can't really -- got to give Captain Azinger a lot of credit. He did such a phenomenal job. He was very prepared and everything, like he made all the trips up there to Kentucky, got those fans riled up. They were on our side all week.
It's just huge when you get down a little bit and they're over there yelling at you. It's easy to keep your head up and keep fighting. I think he did just a phenomenal job, and I just can't say enough about it.

Q. Ryder Cup is important to everybody, but really important to Kenny Perry. Can you talk about spending the week with him and what he was like?
CHAD CAMPBELL: He was great, being from Kentucky, and having J.B. as well. I can't imagine what he went through. I know he was probably more nervous than anybody playing in front of his home crowd. There's no telling how many tickets he had to get.
But it had to be just an awesome week for him, probably more so than everybody else, being that was his -- he made it very clear that that was his main goal all year, skipping some major tournaments just to stay over here and play good golf. He played so well this summer and played well last week.

Q. Did he seem more nervous or more animated this week than you'd seen in the past?
CHAD CAMPBELL: No, not really. Not really. I just think he was ready to get it started, and you could tell after he got done how emotional he was and how much that meant to him. It was great to see. I was so happy for him.

Q. By most accounts, you were the 12th guy out of the 12-man team. You were kind of the guy that he had to reach for. Did that affect your way of thinking, or did you feel any more or less pressure during the week to kind of validate that? You were on the points list, I can't remember how far down, in the 20s, I think.
CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, I think 20th on the nose. You know, not really. Once I talked to him and he told me that I was his pick, I really felt a part of the team the whole time and didn't really feel like I needed to prove anything at all. It was kind of a weird feeling.
The other two times I've played my way onto the team, and this time being a pick I thought it might be different, but it was exactly the same. Once you're all there and together, he kind of reassured me that I belonged on the team.
You know, I just wanted to go out there and play well. I didn't really put any added pressure on me to prove myself.

Q. There were ten of you guys on the team that are playing this week. Is there anything emotionally left in the tank, or are you worried about that right now?
CHAD CAMPBELL: A little bit. It's so intense all week, really, but especially the last three days. I think we'll be fine. Might be a little tough that first day getting back into things, but once you start to feel it again it'll fall into place.

Q. Was it hard leaving the wife and young one at home given that it was a matter of hours, then you had to get back and bolt for Louisville?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Actually I had a week. I had a week, so I was home with them for a week. But it was tough. It was tough leaving. My wife really, really enjoys the Ryder Cup, as everybody does, and she was hating not being able to be there and be with all the wives.
It was definitely tough for me, her not being there and our little boy not being there, but I think it was probably best for them to stay home. I don't think it's the best idea having them traveling at the time.

Q. Were you having any hurricane-related scares as far inland as you guys are? Was there an issue during that little stretch of time?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know what, Saturday before I left to go to the Ryder Cup I guess Ike came up, and they thought it was going to hit real close to Dallas but it was actually quite a bit east of Dallas. We didn't get much. Just a little bit of rain and a little bit of wind.
They were calling for 60-, 70-mile an hour winds. Same thing they got up in Louisville. It really missed Dallas, so I was pretty fortunate there.

Q. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it would appear that this thing might be in the bag for Vijay Singh. Do you have any reaction to that, taking away from the thrill of the event or the excitement of playing this week?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Right, but he's played great. He deserves it. He's won two out of three -- I was thinking four, but three. To be able to win two out of three tournaments, that's just phenomenal. It's the best field we've had all year. It's pretty impressive, and, you know, he deserves it.
You know, it might take a little bit away from it. Somebody might be trying to take him out if he doesn't finish the tournament. But I think it'll still be exciting. There will be a lot of stories there for a lot -- a lot of money to be made there in second, third, those places.
I still think it's going to be exciting. It's still a golf tournament, and I know everybody is here ready to play.

Q. Where is that 5-iron going to go down in your mental Rolodex of Chad Campbell's greatest hits? I'm trying to remember, you had to sort of absorb one, Micheel dropped one on you sort of like that, but I don't know, and Bay Hill wasn't excruciatingly tight. I'm trying to remember how many of your wins were...
CHAD CAMPBELL: None of them were that close. It's definitely one of the best shots I feel like I've ever hit. It's hard to -- Stewart is not getting any of the credit for it. He played so well, and he just killed that drive. It was 30 yards past Ian Poulter.
You know, he hit it down there, and for me to have 5-iron in, that was pretty awesome. And then to be able to hit that shot, it definitely went down as one of the best shots I've ever hit, especially under that pressure.

Q. Kind of looking back, you've been on those last two teams that preceded it, and the morning session on opening day has been pretty much -- it was almost a white wash in Detroit. Getting off to that fast start and to some degree helped by your shot in a match that could have gone either way, is it too much of a stretch to say that that might have been the most crucial session in the matches?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Well, I think me and Stewart both knew -- I think we were up in most of the other matches if I can remember right. It's been a long time and there's been a lot of matches since then. But it felt like we just stayed positive all day and tried to fight our way back into it. I was fortunate enough to get a point.
You know, you definitely didn't want to lose that, especially how hard we fought back. Stewart made a great putt on 17 that hasn't really gotten talked about at all to tie the hole, and there was just a lot of great shots on the back nine on that match.
I don't know, that point definitely helped the team, but I don't know if it was -- I guess all the points are big, but I don't know if it was definitely the turning point or anything.

Q. Since the middle of June you've been without that guy in the red shirt and the black hat. What's it been like to play without Tiger being around?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Obviously we all, I think, wish he was out here and wish he was competing. He's done so much for the game, and will continue to do so much of the game. But it is nice not having to worry about him sometimes coming up and beating you or winning all the tournaments like he tends to do sometimes.
I know he'll be back ready to go next year, and I know he's probably excited about seeing the team win. I think he'll come back fired up next year and ready to play.

Q. A follow-up to that. It's kind of bittersweet, you do miss him, but at the same time you don't mind him being at home?
CHAD CAMPBELL: No, I'd much rather him be out here playing. Whenever you're competing you want to compete against the best players, and he's obviously the best now and very possibly the best of all time.

Q. When did your head hit the pillow on Monday morning? Or Tuesday (laughter)?
CHAD CAMPBELL: I think it was 3:00-ish or something. We had a good time that night.

Q. I heard the Europeans came in. Give us the play by play of the party afterwards.
CHAD CAMPBELL: We were just having a really good time. We had a few drinks out of the Cup. It doesn't hold that much (laughter). You know, everybody said a few words, and the Europeans came up and we had a good time with those guys, too.

Q. Sang them their theme song I heard, right?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, we were doing all sorts of stuff. Who knows what we were doing.

Q. Had you ever heard Boo's orangutan story before that?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know what, I've heard it about ten times, and I think it gets funnier every time.

Q. They've already started talking about needing changes for next year's FedExCup. What would Commissioner Campbell do?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Commissioner Campbell. That's scary. I know they definitely tweaked it a little bit this year, and I think it was definitely a lot more exciting this year than it was last year. I think they probably just need to kind of split it down the middle with the points.
I think it was a little bit too much emphasis on just making cuts. You know, the playoffs, that first tournament, you miss the cut, you drop 50 spots, 40 spots, which is pretty severe. And if they keep it that way, that's fine, too.
But I think it doesn't need to be quite so severe. It's a little tough with -- you have guys that don't make it into the TOUR Championship that had really good years.

Q. Did you play this morning?
CHAD CAMPBELL: No. I just got out here.

Q. When you saw your spot in the lineup, what did you think? Was part of you hopeful that it would come down to you or nervous that it might?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know what, I was pretty nervous the night before, and getting out there that morning. It's funny, whenever you start playing your nerves kind of go away and you just want to play well and win your match. But leading up to it I was pretty nervous.
You know, watching the board all day, I was trying not to watch it too much. I kind of had an idea of what was going on. For a while there it looked like it was going to come down to my match or Ben's match, one of the last four guys, and a couple of them were trailing a little bit.
In my mindset, I just wanted to try to stay up. I know it's easy to say, but try and stay up in my match and know that the guys maybe see that and maybe it relaxes them a little bit more.
I don't know, that's just kind of the way I was thinking, just wanted to try to hold the lead all day.
Captain Azinger told me after the round, he goes -- he apologized for putting me in that spot, and he goes, "Man, I've been in that spot before, and it sucks."

Q. What was the most meaningful thing he said to you all week?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, it's tough to say. I liked his approach so much. At times he wouldn't have the big rah-rah speeches. Everybody would be relaxed at night, and he'd just basically say, "Play hard; play loose," and that's kind of -- didn't really -- I don't know how to put it exactly.
He didn't overemphasize anything or put more pressure on you than there already is in the task at hand. But I think he did a phenomenal job, and he's such a competitor. Just seeing what he'd done in the past Ryder Cups, you know how competitive he is.
When you see him out there, he's great. He's so supportive. I just can't say enough about how well a job he did. There's so many things that he tells you and stuff that you feed off of, it's hard to put a finger on just one thing.

Q. Who were the other three guys in your little cluster of four that you were with? Off the top of my head it escapes me. There's some discussion about that plan that he had to divide you guys up into those groups and sort of little pods of guys maybe, because it may be easier to relate to three guys rather than 12 guys. Ultimately he ended up sort of tying you guys together that way.
CHAD CAMPBELL: Well, I played all my practice rounds with Stewart Cink and Ben Curtis and Stricker. We kind of knew that we were going to be playing together, and I think it was nice to know who was going to be your partners in the first two days.
That's something in the past I haven't really known who I was going to play with. I think it's nice to get out there and play some practice rounds with him.
We did some alternate-shot in the practice rounds, and you know, alternate-shot is a weird -- not weird, but it's something you don't see. You don't do it. You don't ever just go out there and play alternate-shot. So it's really different. You need to be with somebody that you can rely on and that you're friends with actually, because I hit Stewart in some bad places that first day (laughter).
Before we went out, Stewart went ahead and he apologized to me before, and he said, "I'm going to hit some bad shots. I'm sorry. I don't want to be apologizing out there."
I apologized after the round, actually. I told him I'd get him a new pair of pants, all the weeds I was hitting him in (laughter).

Q. Just on that, did it seem like you guys had more fun in this Ryder Cup? It seemed like you guys were so much more loose than in the past.
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, it's easy to say. Like Captain Azinger said, when you get a lead, it's so much easier to have fun. He pointed out in the past Ryder Cups, after the first alternate-shot round we were always down. It seemed like we were down 3-1, 31/2-1/2, and it seemed like you were fighting the whole time.
To be able to have the lead pretty much the whole time -- we never lost the lead, so it definitely makes it a little bit more enjoyable. I think that, along with -- you've got the stuff Boo is doing out there. It's kind of hard not to have a good time.

Q. What's your baby boy's name?
CHAD CAMPBELL: What's his name? Dax.

Q. How did you come up with that one?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Honestly I've got to give my caddie, Judd, a little credit. Everybody was sitting around asking what we were going to name him, and he started throwing out some names and that one stuck. I wanted a one-syllable name.

Q. So he pulled the club for you (laughter)?
CHAD CAMPBELL: I guess so. Don't tell him that. I don't want to give him too much credit for it.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chad Campbell, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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