Campbell turns 50 in February and has the benefit of various levels of status on both the Staysure (European Seniors) and PGA Tour Champions in 2019 courtesy of the success he enjoyed during his regular tour career.
He sees a return to competitive golf at the New Zealand Open at the Hills Golf Club and Millbrook Resort not only as the chance to play one of his favourite tournaments in what is such an historic year for the event but the opportunity to hone his game ahead of a career in the senior ranks.
His victory in the 2005 US Open at Pinehurst #2 allows Campbell limited access to the PGA Tour Champions and, courtesy of his European Tour career money, full access to the European Senior Tour but he is aware he needs to have his game on song if he is to be competitive in either.
Campbell last played tournament golf in 2015 and has since developed a teaching academy in Spain but the lure of competitive golf and the potential riches of over-50 golf has drawn him back.
“I’m very excited to start the next chapter of my golfing career at the 100th NZ Open in Queenstown,” said Campbell this week.
“It’s been three years since I retired and I now plan to join the Senior Tour. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the season than playing at home, in what is going to be a milestone event.
“The New Zealand Open is one of my favourite golfing tournaments. We are lucky to have an event of this calibre here in NZ. I couldn’t miss being part of the 100th celebration.”
Campbell’s one and only New Zealand Open victory came when defeating fellow countryman Craig Perks at Paraparaumu Beach in 2000 but he has also been three times runner-up in the event.
As a winner of the US Open, the World Match Play Championship and six other significant European Tour events along with events such as the Australian Masters he will tee it up at the Hills as the championship's most credentialed player.
An old injury kept Campbell from making a return to competitive golf a year earlier but there is little doubting his presence at the New Zealand Open in 2019 will add yet another dimension to an event which has a significantly different look to the one he won in 2000.
The New Zealand Open is played over two courses, The Hills (pictured above) and the Millbrook Resort near Arrowtown some twenty minutes from New Zealand's key tourist centre of Queenstown.
Played under a pro-am format, players will play three of the four rounds at the host course, The Hills, the other played across the road at Millbrook Resort which has played host in each of the last two years.
The New Zealand Open, first played in 1907, is played from February 28th to March 3rd and is jointly sanctioned between the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, a further relationship with the Japan Tour adding further significance to the event.
Adding yet another dimension to the event this year is that its most prolific winner, Peter Thomson, passed away in June at the age of 88. The last of Thomson's nine New Zealand Open victories came in Dunedin in 1971.
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