KIWI Michael Campbell has ensured this year’s Scottish Senior Open at Craigielaw Golf Club will be a star-studded affair with the biggest gathering of Major Champions in the event’s 27-year history.
Campbell, who captured the 2005 US Open Championship by holding off Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No. 2, will join fellow Major winners Sandy Lyle, Paul Lawrie and Ian Woosnam in a high-class field for the £250,000 event in East Lothian, from August 16-18.
An eight-time winner on the European Tour, Campbell turned 50 in February and has played on the Staysure Tour recently at The Senior Open, and last week at the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, where he eagled the 72nd hole to finish in a share of second place.
However, the visit to Craigielaw – which hosts the tournament for a second successive year – almost represents something of a ‘homecoming’ for Campbell, who can trace his Scottish ancestry back to his great-great-great grandfather, Sir Logan Campbell, who emigrated to New Zealand and became Mayor of Auckland.
Scotland almost provided the Wellington golfer with his first Major Championship, as he led by two shots after three rounds of The Open over the famous Old Course at St Andrews in 1995.
In the event, he faded with a closing 76 to take third place behind John Daly and Costantino Rocca.
Without doubt, 2005 was the high spot of his professional career. In addition to landing the US Open, he also picked up £1million – then the biggest prize in golf – by beating Paul McGinley in the final of the World Match Play at Wentworth.
He was honoured in the New Year Honours List in 2006 by being made a Companion of New Zealand’s Order of Merit.
Campbell will be renewing old acquaintances at Craigielaw with Lyle, winner of The Open in 1985 and the 1988 Masters Tournament, Lawrie, the 1999 Open Champion and Welshman Woosnam, who slipped on the Green Jacket as Masters winner in 1991.
Campbell is set to tee it up in Scotland for the first time in six years and admitted he is looking forward to competing on Scottish links once again.
“It’s been a few years since I played in Scotland,” said Campbell. “I think my last appearance was in the Dunhill Links Championship when I hurt my achilles tendon and had to pull out after three holes.
“However, I have some great memories of the Home of Golf. I will never forget my first appearance at St Andrews in The Open in 1995 when I led by two shots after three rounds – and just missed out of a play-off with John Daly and Costantino Rocca. It was an amazing experience.
“Although I don’t have first-hand knowledge of Craigielaw, I’ve played several of the courses in East Lothian over the years.
“I remember shooting 59 at Kilspindie – and I look forward to going back to that special part of the country.”
Entrance to the course is free and parking is only £5 in aid of Longniddry & District Rotary Club.
With proof of purchase of a ticket to the recent Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open there is no charge for parking.