Quiet Killer Calm and cool on and off the course, Bay Hill winner Chad Campbell is built for the majors

March 29, 2004
March 29, 2004

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March 29, 2004

Quiet Killer Calm and cool on and off the course, Bay Hill winner Chad Campbell is built for the majors

There was a brief time on the back nine of Sunday's Bay Hill
Invitational when Chad Campbell and Stuart Appleby were tied for
the lead and trading golf shots like a couple of resort-course
hustlers with a payment due. As the holes wore on, it became
clear that more was at stake than $900,000 and a slap on the back
from tournament host Arnold Palmer.

This is an article from the March 29, 2004 issue

If the 32-year-old Appleby prevailed, the win would be his third
in his last 10 starts. If Campbell, 29, won, it would be his
second victory since a runner-up finish at last August's PGA
Championship. Either way, one of these guys was on the verge of
playing his way out of the pack and making a name for himself in
the minds of the golf-loving public.

At the start of the day all indications pointed to Appleby, the
likable Australian who is frequently confused with his friend and
countryman Robert Allenby. With terrific putting and a compact
swing that seemed bulletproof through the first three rounds,
Appleby entered the final 18 with a four-shot lead. But with 10
holes to go, Appleby suddenly couldn't find the fairway.

Meanwhile, Campbell, who'd already cut the lead to three,
continued to gun at flags and make putts. In the end his
final-round 66 wasn't quite as dominant as his 61 in the third
round of last year's Tour Championship, but it was enough to blow
by the befuddled Appleby for an 18-under 270 and a six-shot win.

Despite the victory and the potential for more of the same, some
still have trouble pegging Campbell as a star, since he's about
as noticeable as a seam in the wallpaper. He wears white shirts
and tan pants almost exclusively. He answers questions in as few
words as possible, and he never outwardly expresses any
emotion--good or bad. "He's so calm all the time, it's almost
annoying," says his wife, Amy, who's a fifth-grade teacher.

Even Campbell's game is, well, vanilla. On Sunday he hit 12 of 14
fairways and 14 greens, giving himself birdie putts inside 20
feet on eight occasions. That's the golf equivalent of two slices
of white bread dressed up with a swipe of mayo. "The way I play
appeals to old-school golf fans," Campbell says. "It's a kind of
golf that's a little steadier, less flashy."

And there you have it. Campbell is a throwback. He's a cowboy.
He's Gary Cooper, the actor famous for playing tight-lipped range
rovers who rarely uttered more than "yep" and stood for the way
things ought to be. Campbell, ever the laconic West Texan, rides
into town, tips his cap to the ladies and lets his irons do the

Even his game is a throwback to the days before Tiger Woods
taught the world that the only good golf course was one
thoroughly demoralized by 300-yard drives and towering, long iron
shots that stop in their own shadow. Not Cowboy Chad. He hits the
fairway, hits the green, makes a run at birdie and moves on, just
as Hogan did.

That may not be sexy, but both his game and his personality are
built for big tournaments--especially U.S. Opens--and with the
majors approaching, Campbell has to be among the favorites. That
makes him pretty damn interesting.


Trust Me

With her dominating performance in Phoenix, Annika Sorenstam
showed that she is every bit as intimidating on her tour as Tiger
is on his and has a real shot at a Grand Slam.

Up & Down

Ben Curtis
Last year's British Open winner made his first cut of the year on
the PGA Tour.

Tiger Woods
The wannabe Green Beret didn't come close to winning his fifth
straight Bay Hill Classic.

Colin Montgomerie
Won the Caltex Masters in Singapore--and a spot in the
Players--with a final-round 65.

John Daly
Jeopardized his chance of qualifying for the Masters by botching
three of the last four holes.

Ashley Simon
The 14-year-old broke the scoring record while winning the
Women's South African Open.

Michelle Wie
The 14-year-old looked a bit overwhelmed while shooting 77 on
Sunday to finish 19th at the Safeway.