105th U.S. Open | June 16-19, 2005
Pinehurst Resort Course No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
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|Michael Campbell, New Zealand||71||-||69||-||71||-||69||—||280|
|Tiger Woods, United States||70||-||71||-||72||-||69||—||282|
|Tim Clark, South Africa||76||-||69||-||70||-||70||—||285|
|Sergio Garcia, Spain||71||-||68||-||75||-||70||—||285|
|Mark Hensby, Australia||71||-||68||-||72||-||74||—||285|
Late in April, affable Michael Campbell informed the USGA office he wasn’t going to file an application to play in the upcoming U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
It would have been the final year of his 10-year past champions’ exemption to play the championship.
Before this popular yet unlikely win at Pinehurst No. 2, Campbell had battled injuries and demons as one of the more talented players in the world never to fulfill his vast potential.
But on a dramatic Sunday in which Retief Goosen tied a U.S. Open record for highest final-round score (81) by an overnight leader, it was Campbell who outdueled the best player in the world — Tiger Woods — on the final few holes to become the first Kiwi since Bob Charles at the 1963 British Open to win a major title.
And just as mysteriously, Campbell — who always seemed to hold more of an affinity for rugby than golf — again disappeared from the world’s golf scene.
He lost his game, then his love for it, deciding to skip majors frequently.
In May, the 46-year-old announced he was retiring from touring golf to concentrate on running a golf academy in Spain.
“Right now, I have got no motivation to play,” Campbell told New Zealand’s Radio Sport.
Most figured heading into the final round in 2005 that Goosen had his third U.S. Open locked up. He held a three-shot advantage.
And right from the get-go, his game was off — particularly in his putter. He needed 34 putts to match Gil Morgan’s record 81 from the 1992 U.S. Open at wind-swept Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Goosen’s meltdown opened the door for chasers, especially Woods, who seemed the logical man to chase down his third U.S. Open title.
But at the long par-4 16th hole, he left his chip shot 8 feet short, missed the putt and made bogey.
Intending to not leave his 25-foot birdie bid on the 17th green short, he ran it by 6 feet — and gagged on his comebacker to save par.
It was that same 17th hole where Woods missed a short par putt that cost him a chance to force a playoff with eventual champion Payne Stewart at the 1999 national open.
Campbell made an up-and-down par on No. 16, then rolled in a 20-footer for birdie a hole later to take a three-shot advantage to the final tee.