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Clash of the Generations

The 2004 PGA Tour will continue to be a battleground between the Young Guns and the pop guns
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Tyson vs. King, Jan/Feb 04

(continued from page 6)

Chad Campbell: Young Gun

 

How is this for fanfare? Last June, Sports Illustrated put Chad Campbell, a 29-year-old former University of Las Vegas player, on the cover of its magazine. Chad the lad had yet to win a PGA Tour event. In 2002 he had one third-place finish and one fourth. He had won three Nationwide Tour events in 2001 that gave him a "battlefield promotion" to the PGA Tour, where he notched a second-place result. The way his game was maturing, many players saw him as the real deal and were waiting for him to close on it. Sports Illustrated called him "The Next Big Thing."

At the start of 2003 he had two more second-place finishes, then a highly visible runner-up finish at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, where he was denied a chance at a playoff when Shaun Micheel hit his approach to the 18th hole stiff for a birdie and the win.

Campbell failed to get his PGA Tour card at the qualifying school five times. But he was a successful small-tour player, winning 13 times on the Hooters Tour over four seasons. He was taking the route best for him, learning something at every stage along the way. And holding to an ample supply of his small-town upbringing in Andrews, Texas. There is confidence in his game and humility in his demeanor, even after Sports Illustrated turned the spotlight on him. Unlike many of the other Young Guns, he didn't just pop onto the PGA Tour with a bag full of expectations.

"There's guys that you know, kind of came out and the first thing they get right on the PGA Tour, so they don't know anything different," says Campbell. "They don't know how you go to little towns and play not the best of courses and you don't get everything for free like you do out here. Everything is not just given to you."

Certainly victories aren't handed over for free on the Tour, but expect Campbell to be there for the taking.

Fred Couples: Pop Gun


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