MICHAEL Campbell will make his first Staysure Tour appearance outside of a Senior Major when he tees it up at the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, at London Golf Club, on Thursday.
The 2005 US Open champion – who finished two shots ahead of Tiger Woods at Pinehurst – turned 50 at the beginning of the year and will make his first regular Staysure Tour appearance this week.
Campbell last played a full European Tour season in 2013, with his last start coming at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January 2014.
During his break from the sport, the Kiwi was back home, spending time with his family, and with son Thomas on the bag this week, he is excited to be teeing it up in Kent.
Campbell said: “He’s pretty excited about this week and it’s his first time on the bag.
“Turning 50 and joining the senior ranks came at a perfect time for me. I spent over 20 years on Tour and needed a rest from playing and a chance to reconnect with my boys.
“My two sons were 12 and 15 when I stopped playing for a while, so it was nice to have a normal life.
“I would go to the groceries store and cook dinner and have a normal life,” said the player whose UK base while on Tour was in Brighton.
“I’d been an absent father over the years, spending so much time away from them, so those six years I made sure I was there, especially for things like watching them play sport.”
Now back playing competitive golf, the eight-time European Tour winner is eager to enjoy his time on the over-50s circuit after teeing it up in the Senior Majors earlier in the year.
“I’m excited to play,” said Campbell. “I’ve had a strange schedule this year, playing only three times at the three Senior Majors, so I’ve thrown myself into the deep end after not playing for six years.
“My game is slowly coming back and I just need to play more tournaments and being here at London Golf Club is great.
“The course looks great and having spoken to a few of the guys it will be a great test of golf, especially with the weather conditions this week.
“These guys on the over-50s circuit can play golf, that’s what I really noticed in the tournaments I’ve played this year.
“For me, it’s nice to be out here playing against these guys because when I wasn’t playing for six years, I really missed competing. It’s nice to get the competitive juices flowing again.
“One of the things I noticed about this Tour is that it’s more relaxed and not as intense as the European Tour, which is nice. It’s also nice to see all my friends again.
“I saw Bernhard Langer for the first time in six years, plus Retief, Monty, Vijay, because I grew up playing against these guys in the 1990s and early 2000s.
“It’s nice to be back on the same golf courses as these guys and back competing against them.”
Campbell will face a tough test if he is to succeed at the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship with last year’s winner Philip Golding, from Hertfordshire, hoping to defend his title.
And Colin Montgomerie, who set the course-record last year with a nine-under par opening round of 63, will be looking to clinch his 10th Staysure Tour victory.
The first round will begin at 7.45 am, with Campbell teeing off alongside Montgomerie at 9.05am.
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