Michael Campbell has endured plenty of grim weeks in the last nine years, but this one will be right up among the worst.

It doesn't seem so long ago that Campbell was the toast of the golf world, after eyeballing Tiger Woods through the final round of the US Open at Pinehurst and seeing him off by two shots to produce one of New Zealand's alltime finest sporting achievements.

The boy from Titahi Bay scaled the heights in 2005. Woods, remember, was in his prime, and won the Masters and British Open that year.

Campbell, 45, seems to have spent much of the intervening time in freefall.


This week he announced he won't be back at Pinehurst next month for the US Open, saying he is not "mentally ready" and is also sitting out next week's PGA Championship at Wentworth, where he won the world matchplay crown, also in that stellar 2005.

To compound a sad situation, Campbell announced he had separated from his wife Julie.

He stopped playing for close on three months with a tendon problem in his left ankle.

For a time, after his remarkable 2005, you hoped he would find his way out of the rough and again become a contender. It didn't happen, and surely won't now.

Campbell differed from many of today's players in that he was emotional, and showed it.

He had dud days and dazzlers too. He was always worth watching, and had the ability to produce magical shots and make them look easy. A grinder he certainly was not.

It's worth recalling that he was in the top six at both the British Open and PGA Championship that year, and nabbed three other top five placings. Of Campbell's 15 titles, only one - a biggie for sure - in the US.

And that's the reason Campbell's taken another hit when he's down, courtesy of CBS Sports, who have rated him fifth in a list of the 10 worst golfers to have won majors.


But putting Campbell in with this lot seems a touch unfair.

After all, besides his victories, he was named European Tour player of the year in 2005, spent six years ranked in the world top 50 and got as high as No 12 world ranking in 2001.

But whatever happens in his life, Campbell has one thing which will remain affixed alongside his name for good: major champion, and that's pretty special.