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An Interview with: CHAD CAMPBELL
KELLY ELBIN: Chad Campbell, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the 37th Ryder Cup. Chad is making his third consecutive appearance for the United States team. Welcome back to the Ryder Cup.
CHAD CAMPBELL: Thank you.
KELLY ELBIN: Thoughts so far on being with your teammates and hearing from Coach Holtz and the experience you've had so far.
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, it's been great, always really look forward, and obviously every time it's a Ryder Cup year it's a big goal of mine to make the Ryder Cup. Just being in the team room here and hearing Coach Holtz speak and Monday night going to the Muhammad Ali Museum.
You know, those things are great. We're such an individual sport, and to be able to be associated with a team and have people come speak to us, you know, it's an honor to be on the team.
KELLY ELBIN: Several questions have been asked about what it's like to be on that first tee playing in the Ryder Cup versus other events. Give us an event of how it's different in a TOUR event versus a Ryder Cup.
CHAD CAMPBELL: It is, it's quite a bit different. I remember my first Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, and I've never been so nervous on that first tee box. But it gets a little bit better. But it always gets your juices flowing whenever you get up there on that first tee box, they announce your name from USA, and it's a great feeling, and that's what we all play for.
Q. Anything distinctive last night that Holtz said that sticks in your mind?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know what, there was a lot of things. You know, it was ... I don't think I can really pick out one thing, but he's just a great speaker and his voice is just so loud and so ... it's hard to explain; determined and motivating.
It was an honor for him to be there. I actually met him on the course yesterday, and for him to be able to come up to the room and spend the time to come up and talk to us, it just meant a lot.
There's not many other better people that you have talk to you other than him.
Q. The past few years you guys have had such trouble falling behind so quickly. How do you stop that other than obviously winning a couple of matches? But how important is that, and has Zinger kind of stressed that we've got to get out a little bit quicker because you can't keep dealing from the deficits?
CHAD CAMPBELL: It is important. We want to get out there and play loose and have a good time. I'm not really worried that we've gotten in a situation in the past. We've got quite a bit of a different team and some different players, and just kind of focusing on what we've got at hand, the future and not the past. But definitely it would be great to get off to a good start.
Q. Ben Curtis said that he's never played alternate shot in his life and doesn't know if he'll be playing it this week. Go back to the first time you played it, when it was, and what went through your mind and how it turned out.
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, it is, it's a little bit different. You don't just go out there and play alternate shot with your buddies or anything. You know, last year ... not last year, the '06 Ryder Cup at K Club was the first time that I had played alternate shot, and I guess I played the afternoon, Friday and Saturday.
It's quite different. You know, the funny thing I saw there, I didn't really putt for like ten holes. You know, that's pretty weird, to find something ... when you're standing in the fairway and your partner is hitting the shot. It's just kind of a weird feeling that it's hard to ... it's a little bit difficult to get adjusted to.
But still, you just kind of go with it and it's still just playing golf. But I can definitely understand, my first time out there it's definitely a little bit awkward, especially the putting. Putting was really weird.
And then when you do come around to when you do have to putt, about the 13th hole, you've got to make a six , seven footer downhill left to right.
KELLY ELBIN: Chad halved both of his foursomes matches in 2006.
Q. Could you talk about your emotions of going through getting the call and then having a baby and just the gamut you've run the last week or two?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Right. It was quite a hectic last ... I guess last two weeks or so. At the time I was in Boston coming home, not planning on playing in St. Louis, the BMW, thinking that we were going to have the baby that week.
You know, Thursday was the day that she was due, and we went to the doctor Tuesday morning, and that was also when Paul had called me the night before, on Monday. So I woke up, called him back and got the good news there, which I was ecstatic about, and then went to the doctor's office, and all y'all know, during the press conference, I was sitting in the parking lot of the doctor's office, which was true.
I mean, it was all very exciting. It was an unbelievable week and a half, two weeks for me, a lot of good things happened, and definitely happy that everything went well with the birth and delivery.
Q. Was it tough during the year to keep this as a goal or focus, and were there times during the year where you felt like you weren't really in the picture to make it?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Right. There was a few times. Like I said, it was obviously probably my biggest goal to make the team. But in a way, I kind of felt like I needed to play well at the PGA and didn't do that.
But I'm definitely glad that he didn't pick right after the PGA. I had a decent week there in Boston, and maybe he noticed that. I don't know, I felt like I played pretty well the second half of the year. It was definitely an honor to be a pick and to get the call from him. I was definitely a little bit surprised.
Q. I'm sorry, I really don't know how to ask this any better, but I don't think a lot of people realize just how badly you wanted to be on the team; and part of that, I think, is you're not a rah rah guy at all, really can't express himself in terms of how badly you want it. Did you wonder at all if that might ever hurt you, not being able to communicate as well how badly you wanted it?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, maybe a little bit. Every chance I got, I definitely made it a point to say how much I want to be on the team. I guess my expressions kind of don't show that so much. I think that's what you're getting at.
But every Ryder Cup year, it's my main goal. After playing that first one, you know, I really don't want to miss one for the rest of my career. Hopefully that will work out. They're so much fun and they're so intense; it's just something you don't get from any other tournament, you know, the nerves and the pressure. And like I said before, that's the feeling that we all play for. You get a little bit nervous and have to hit a shot under pressure.
Q. Do you have maybe a specific moment or a highlight from your first Ryder Cup that stands out in your mind?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, not necessarily, just kind of the overall week. You know, my first Ryder Cup, I think that was only my third year on TOUR, so being able to get to know the guys a little bit better in the team room and just kind of hanging out was just an awesome experience for me.
Q. Ping pong match?
CHAD CAMPBELL: No, I didn't, actually. It might have been Tiger and Phil on the ping pong table all week that week. Actually me and Chris DiMarco played that week, had some pretty good matches.
Q. How much energy have some of the rookies given the team like Kim and Mahans and some of the guys. How do you see them reacting to this occasion?
CHAD CAMPBELL: You know, I know they love it. All those guys love to compete, and you know, that's what this is all about. I think it's great, you know, the younger guys, their first year. Obviously they ... we're all really good friends, so everybody fits in perfect. I think it's a good group of guys and a great team.
KELLY ELBIN: Anything you've noticed about Captain Azinger that's stood out as far as how he's communicated to you all, leadership skills, et cetera?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, I think he's doing a phenomenal job. Everybody knows how big a competitor he is and how intense he is. I don't think there's anybody that loves the Ryder Cup more than him. I might put Corey Pavin up there with him.
But I remember watching him compete, and everybody has seen the high fives, the missed high fives is more I guess what they were doing. But he's a very intense guy and an intense competitor, and he's a great leader for our team.
Q. How well do you know some of the guys on the European Team, and are there any guys on that team that you don't know at all and maybe don't know much about?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Oliver Wilson I don't know that well. I think he's about the only one that I don't really know. I don't know Søren Hansen that well. Most of the other guys play over here quite a bit, and I pretty much see them week in and week out.
But I think other than those two guys ... Robert Karlsson, I don't know him that well, even though he plays over here quite a bit. But all the other guys I know very well.
Q. Anyone that you're friendly with really that you know pretty well?
CHAD CAMPBELL: I'm pretty easy going. I kind of get along with everybody. Most of the guys I'm decent friends with. We don't go out and eat dinner very often or anything, but definitely friends out on the golf course.
Q. Over the last three years with equal amounts of turnover, Europe has been able to pretty much keep so many partnerships together, where with the Americans it's more like musical chairs. What kind of difference do you think that has made, and why has it been that way do you think?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Right. You know, we're just looking for the combinations that work. I think this year, you know, with six new guys, there's going to be a lot of new combinations. I think that's going to be good.
We're not really worried about the things in the past, some of the team members that paired up in the past aren't here, so it's going to be a totally new team. Hopefully it'll all work out.
Q. What you said just made me wonder, in the meetings you've had either this week or leading up to it, how much of a message from Paul has it been to forget everything that's happened in the past?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Well, I think it's very important for us, you know. We can't do anything about the past. So all we can do is focus on this week and the future and take care of one shot at a time. I know it's kind of cliché or whatever, but that's really all you can do. So we're definitely focused on the future and trying to forget about the past. He's said it a few times. I think it's a good point to be made.
Q. As a kid in west Texas, do you recall your first memory of the Ryder Cup, maybe watching it on TV? Do you remember when it was or when you first became aware of it?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, you know what, I don't remember the actual year. I remember it was at the Belfry, and I know that really doesn't ... it was there for quite a few years, so I know that really doesn't signify what year it was. But I remember the drivable hole. I think it was 10, over there. I think Tom Kite knocked it on the green there. I don't know what year that was. It was probably '88 or '90, somewhere in there. That was kind of my ... what I can remember of it. I'm sure I watched it before then, but that's kind of what stands out in my head.
KELLY ELBIN: Chad Campbell, thank you very much.
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