Campbell thrives in soupy conditions

Campbell thrives in soupy conditions

Michael Campbell finished at two under par.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND — The 2005 U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell is off to a good start at the Open after firing an opening-round 68 in wet and overcast conditions.

Afterward Campbell admitted that the two years since his triumph at Pinehurst No. 2 have been tough.

“The lowest point, and a Eureka moment for me, was missing the cut by a ton at Winged Foot in last year’s US Open,” he said. “I was changing things and digging myself in a hole instead of sticking to the same formula.”

But he insists there have been signs lately that he is getting his game back.

“I’ve got that fire in my belly again,” he said. “I said to my wife and coach just the other day that, you know, I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself leading this tournament after the first round.”

Campbell’s newfound confidence on the greens is due to switching putters three weeks ago. He now uses an Odyssey two-ball model. He also benefited from a tip offered by Vijay Singh on the range at the BWM PGA Championship at Wentworth, England, back in May. Singh told Campbell to go back to basics and just work on his rhythm and routine.

“It has really turned my game around,” Campbell said. “I made a mistake of saying that to win a major was a lifetime goal. And once you do that, what’s next? But I have turned that around. I know I’ve got the game to win more majors. It could be two, three, four, five or six. There are no limits.”

Campbell says he worked himself up for the Open by watching a DVD of past winners at Carnoustie, like Tom Watson, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Paul Lawrie.

“Paul is a good friend of mine, and it was good to see him win eight years ago. If he can do it, so can I.”