Michael Campbell reacts to 2005 ‘underwhelming’ US Open victory | Golf News

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“It was great to win my first and only major, but to beat Tiger in his prime is very overwhelming, not underwhelming, that’s for sure!”

Last Updated: 15/09/20 7:36pm

Michael Campbell won the 2005 US Open at Pinehurst

Michael Campbell won the 2005 US Open at Pinehurst

Michael Campbell has laughed off an article describing his US Open victory as “underwhelming” and was pleased to see how social media reacted to the comments.

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The New Zealand golfer claimed a shock victory during the 2005 contest at Pinehurst, holding off Tiger Woods over the closing holes to claim his first and only major title.

The victory became centre of social media attention in the build-up to this year’s contest at Winged Foot after a Golf Digest story, originally from 2018, put Campbell top of a list of the “most underwhelming US Open winners in history”.

Campbell is one of only two male New Zealand golfers to have won a major

Campbell is one of only two male New Zealand golfers to have won a major

Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell were among the players to question the list, while Campbell came up with his own comical replies by tweeting a picture of the trophy with a crying face on it, with the 51-year-old pleased with how he handled the situation.

“It’s quite funny how that journalist called it underwhelming, but it’s water off a duck’s back,” Campbell told the Sky Sports Golf podcast. “I don’t really care about it, but I decided to have some fun with it on Twitter and got a huge response from fans and a very positive response.

“You always get guys who try and chop you down, but a victory is a victory, especially when it’s against Tiger in his prime. He had just won at Augusta three months before, was a 10-time major champion and was flying, so to stop him during that week at Pinehurst was a huge thing for me.

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“You have to take these things with a pinch of salt. I’ve always said on social media that it’s a bit of fun and when people attack you then you have to respond with humour and I think that it’s the best way to resolve it.”

Campbell started the final round four strokes off the pace but found himself in contention when overnight leader Retief Goosen plummeted down the leaderboard, with Olin Browne and Jason Gore also dropping plenty of shots over the front nine.

“All of a sudden I was leading and there were two guys left, myself and Tiger, and the rest is history,” Campbell added. “I’ll never forget standing on the 10th tee with a one-shot lead with nine holes to play and that was a daunting task.

“It was the first time I’d been in that position and Tiger was showing some great form. He was a phenomenal player. It was great to win my first and only major, but to beat Tiger in his prime is very overwhelming, not underwhelming, that’s for sure!”

Campbell followed up his major breakthrough by winning the 2005 HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, seeing him reach a career-high of world No 15, although has failed to add to his 15 professional wins since that victory.

Woods finished runner-up behind Campbell

Woods finished runner-up behind Campbell

“I didn’t reset my goals, which I should’ve done as soon as it [US Open] was all over,” Campbell admitted. “I practiced less, I changed my swing and I did a lot of stupid things.

“I look back now, in hindsight, and think ‘what an idiot’ but I take full responsibility for what I did. I’m not blaming anybody else, as it was me that decided to do that, but I still fulfilled one of my dreams.”

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