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An Interview With: Chad Campbell

JULIUS MASON: Chad Campbell joining us in the 84th PGA Championship. Chad is playing in his third championship.

Some opening comments and we'll go to Q&A.

CHAD CAMPBELL: I'm happy to be here at the PGA. I got out this morning and played nine holes, really good golf course, really challenging. The wind was blowing pretty good out there; those first few holes were pretty long. Should be a good test this week and make for a good tournament.

Q. Your majors this year obviously have not gone the way you'd want them to; did your expectations change at all after Oak Hill, and has that been an added thing to deal with now that you're a guy people are looking at in these tournaments?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Not really. I didn't look at it that way. I always wanted to do well in the majors. I think after the PGA last year, my name was a little bit more out there. I was a little bit more exposed.

You know, as far as competing in majors, I've always wanted to do as well as I can in any tournament, and this year, I missed two cuts by a shot and I had not played well at all in the majors, so hopefully I'll turn it around this week.

Q. When you missed the cut, could you talk about what it was like to miss the cut at the U.S. Open when two holes before you missed the cut it looked like you weren't going to miss the cut?

CHAD CAMPBELL: That was obviously really disappointing. I think I was 1-over with three, four to play, something like that. You probably know better than I do. But I know I doubled the last two holes. So definitely not the finish I wanted. I don't think I've ever been more upset after a round of golf than that day. Hopefully I learned something from it and it won't ever happen again.

Q. And then at Troon, I think you went early on the second day, didn't you?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yes.

Q. Again, missed it by one. Was there any kind of feeling, like, I can't believe this has happened to me again? And to follow that, any anxiety or eagerness to get here?

CHAD CAMPBELL: At the British Open, I honestly thought that I was going to make it. Seemed like the wind died down a little bit. I played pretty good. I just had a few bad holes that tournament. Overall I felt like I played decent. I was definitely anxious to get here, excited about getting to the PGA and looking forward to having a good major or a change this year.

Q. It rained pretty heavily this morning before your round, I assume, and I wonder if it was enough to measurably slow the course down, and do you think that will play a role during the week?

CHAD CAMPBELL: This is the first time I played it so I don't know what it was like before. It didn't seem like it was wet at all out there. The fairways are still running and it didn't seem like it really affected the golf course at all.

Q. When you think of Pete Dye, what do you think of, and generally what's his reputation among players?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I really don't know as far as other players. I like his courses. I like Sawgrass. In college, we played the Honors Course in Tennessee; I love that golf course. I'm pretty sure he designed Hilton Head; I like that golf course.

So, you know, overall I've liked his golf courses. I don't know what everybody else thinks about him, about his courses, but to me, I've always liked playing his courses.

Q. Just how difficult is this course compared to others you've played?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Like I said, I only played the front nine, but it seems like it's going to be pretty tough. Seems like the wind can blow out of all sorts of different directions. I was talking to Luke Donald in the locker room, and I was telling him, I think it was No. 4, I hit driver, 2-iron there and barely got there. He said he played it last week and hit driver, 8-iron there. So, you know the winds can change pretty quick around here, and it would be tough picking clubs off the tee on different holes with not being able to see the course that many times.

Q. How much Ryder Cup talk is there right now in the locker room, and are you looking at this group of guys that are still in contention right now and wondering who your teammates are likely going to be?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Obviously that's on all our minds is making the Ryder Cup. Next to winning a major, it's the ultimate in golf, being able to play for your country.

So, you know, it was definitely my goal all year, and there's a lot of talk about it right now. I want to have a good week this week and make sure I get on that team. That's been pretty much one of my main goals this year.

Q. Have you had a chance to play Oakland Hills, and if you have, can you tell me about your impressions of the course?

CHAD CAMPBELL: No, I haven't been able to play it. I didn't play up there during Buick. I know some of the guys went down and played it from there. I haven't played it. I would assume it's really -- Hal told me that it was a really good golf course, a ball strikers' course. The greens are pretty tricky, just need to keep the ball underneath the hole, like a lot of courses.

I think everybody agrees, it's a really, really good golf course.

Q. With your experiences in the majors so far this year, what do you think you've learned about preparing yourself? Is there anything that you're doing differently this week as far as I don't know how you approach it or how you led up to it or anything like that?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Actually, not really. We're pretty much doing the same things. I always have the same things I do for every tournament. Usually get here Sunday night or Monday and play a couple of practice rounds and go. That's kind of my routine. I don't know if -- I know a lot of guys came up here earlier. Obviously would I have liked to be up here earlier. It's kind of hard to just slide up here when you're in Texas.

I really don't think I've changed anything from the past. I just pretty much do the same thing I do every tournament. Usually get two 18-hole rounds in and go from there.

Probably more than anything, just try not to wear myself out. I think I've done that in the past trying to get too many holes in. I think just taking a little time away from the golf course helps you out more than staying out here and practicing all the time, for me anyway.

Q. Have you done that earlier this year?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Maybe a couple of times. Of course, sometimes you feel like you're behind trying to learn the golf course, so you want to get out there and play. A lot of times it's going to help you out if you just play a couple of rounds and then relax and so you're mentally ready to play by the time the tournament comes around.

Q. How difficult should major championships be, and how noticeably more difficult are they becoming?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I think they are becoming quite a bit more difficult. Obviously, the U.S. Open this year wasn't that long of a course, but in the past, the past few years make it pretty long, like Bethpage was a really long golf course and Augusta has made their golf course longer and harder. Everybody is trying to make it as hard as possible, which is good. You only have four majors a year, so it's nice being able to test us those times.

Q. You won two significant events this year, and did that not help you at all in any way with the majors?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I've only won one tournament this year.

Q. With last year's TOUR Championship.

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, it probably helped me. It obviously doesn't hurt. It definitely helped my confidence. I just didn't play well in the previous majors. Three or four of them, I missed the cut, no excuses, I just didn't play well.

Q. What's the longest you've gone with the same driver, how many hours or days?

CHAD CAMPBELL: I played all of last year and through the second round of Honda with the same driver.

Q. Did it break?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah.

Q. What happened there and can you talk about the search for a replacement?

CHAD CAMPBELL: (Laughing) I cracked the face on it at the range on Honda about ten minutes before I was going out to play, I think the third round.

I have kind of been looking for one ever since. I've kind of been trying out a little bit of everything, seeing what's all out there. There's a lot of good equipment out there. So, you know, I don't know. I don't know what I'll find. The one I'm hitting right now is pretty good, so most likely I'll end up sticking with that one.

Q. Honda last year?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Honda this year, so a year and a couple months.

Q. Rephrasing the question as you answered it awhile ago about the length of the golf course and the difficulty of the golf course, which one of you young guns do the courses fit more now, by name?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Hopefully me (laughing). I don't know, to be exact, but I like the golf course. Being long, I'm driving the ball a little bit above average length, so I hit it far enough to play this course, and I think more importantly than anything is you've got to keep the ball in the fairway, especially out here. There's obviously a lot of tall grass and there's a lot of bunkers, so keeping it in the fairways, definitely, definitely really important.

But as far as naming a name, I'm going to say me. Hopefully it's me.

Q. You mentioned Hal Sutton talking to you about the course, Oakland Hills. What are some of the conversations you've had with Hal regarding Ryder Cup, and if you could play U.S. captain for a day, who are some of the hot guys right now who you think might have a chance at captain's picks?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Me and Hal haven't talked too much. We talk just little small talk here and there. Earlier in the year I was just asking him about it, how it was playing on the teams and how he's been handling all the stuff he's had to do.

What was the second part of your question? The tough part. I don't know, it's hard to say. There's so many guys in that from 17th to 9th, it's pretty close in there. There's not that big of a points difference, and this tournament being double points, you know, Stewart Cink had a good week last week, Verplank has been playing well, played well at the British. Obviously Todd Hamilton played really well at the British, played good last week, as well.

No, it's hard. It's a hard pick. I guess that's why I'm not captain. I think Hal will do a good job of picking the right players. We'll go with that. I'm sure he knows what he's doing, so he'll do a good job.

Q. How comfortable did you feel on the tee boxes this morning in terms of what you saw out there visually in terms of lining up your tee ball?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Really good. I think the holes fit my eye really well. It seemed like all of the holes are doglegging, like turning left, the fairway slopes that way, too, which is nice. You don't get it running off on one side.

So like the first probably -- right-to-left holes where the wind blowing right-to-left today on the first four holes, and then 5 is a really good tee shot.

And then 8 turns around and the wind is blowing into you. I hit 7-iron in there today on 8, but the wind turns around there. You can see yourself hitting 2-iron or maybe 3-wood into that green if it plays into the wind.

But as far as just the visual out there, I think the front nine is set up great for me.

Q. Now that we're like a year out from Oak Hill, I'm wondering what lingers with you the most, the way that you performed and got yourself in position to win, disappointment, coming this close, just how you look at it and what you remember most about the tournament?

CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, it's good memories. We both played really well coming down the stretch. Like I said last year, I don't feel like I gave him the tournament. He won the tournament. He played really well. He hit a great shot on 18 to win the tournament.

So, I don't have -- obviously I was disappointed right when we got done, but looking back on it is great experience and hopefully I can finish one spot higher this year.

Q. To follow-up, when you finished that tournament, did you say anything to yourself, well, this proves to me that I can win major championships? Is there anything that you can take from that?

CHAD CAMPBELL: Absolutely. I think that definitely give me confidence that I can compete in major championships.

You know, you always feel like you can, but it's nice to be able to go out there and do it. Even though I finished second, just being there in the back nine and competing for the title, it's a great feeling. It definitely gives me confidence coming into this year, although it has not done me much good so far. I know it will in the future.

JULIUS MASON: Chad Campbell, ladies and gentlemen.

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