Philadelphia, PA – It was seven long years ago that Michael Campbell was on top of the golf world.
After a scrappy start to his 2005 season, he held off Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Open when reigning champion Retief Goosen stumbled with a closing 81.
Goosen's struggles opened the door for the New Zealander, and he shot 69 in the final round to beat Woods by two at Pinehurst No. 2.
Later that year, Campbell won the HSBC World Match Play Championship. That week, he beat Geoff Ogilvy, Steve Elkington, Goosen and Paul McGinley en route to the title. Better said, he took down two majors champions (Elkington and Goosen), a future major champion (Ogilvy) and a three-time Ryder Cupper (McGinley).
Prior to winning the U.S. Open, Campbell had missed the cut in his first five starts of the year. Unfortunately for him, the following season resembled more the start of his '05 season than the middle part.
He missed six cuts in 19 events in 2006 and nine in 24 stroke-play events in 2007. From 2008 on, his play really bottomed out. Campbell finished 10 of 21 events that year, and got paid in only three of 21 events in 2009.
If that wasn't the low point, 2010 was. Campbell earned official money once, in 19 tournaments, as he finished 79th in France.
Early last year, it looked as though Campbell was on his way to contending on a regular basis again when he made the cut four times in a five-event span.
Turn the page to 2012, and it was more of the same for Campbell. He missed the cut in 11 of his first 14 starts, posted just 10 under-par rounds, while carding four rounds in the 80s. In those tournaments, Campbell earned just over 62,000 euros.
After a missed cut at Gleneagles, he shared 14th at the European Masters on the strength of three under-par rounds. The last time he had three subpar rounds in one event prior to that was at the 2011 European Masters.
Campbell stumbled to a missed cut the following week, then shared 47th at the Dunhill Links. The best was yet to come.
The 43-year-old not only carded four under-par rounds last week in Portugal, he notched four rounds in the 60s to take third place. The last time Campbell had four rounds in the 60s? Try the 2003 German Masters.
When asked about making two cuts in a row, Campbell offered, "It's been a long time, yes, it's been at least three or four years. I'm not counting. I just want to focus on this week."
In his last four starts, Campbell has made over 186,000 euros. If you combined his official earnings from 2009, 2010 and 2011 with his first 14 events this year, you still wouldn't match his total from the last four events.
That shows you the depths to which Campbell's game has fallen.
Since his 2005 U.S. Open title, he has battled through injury and swing changes. Despite his struggles, he has averaged 21 events a year. When he bottomed out, Campbell had fallen to 1,325th in the world rankings.
Campbell has risen back to 361st in the world. Among those ranked near him in the standings are Shiv Kapur, Chris DiMarco, Chris Couch and Fred Couples.
Outside Couples, that isn't exactly the company you want to keep. Campbell is a long away from the top 25 in the world rankings, a number he reached after winning the U.S. Open.
If he continues to play the way he has the last few weeks, Campbell may soon return to the winner's circle for the first time since 2005. If he does that, it would be one of the all-time comeback stories.
MI HYUN KIM SET TO RETIRE
Mi Hyun Kim was once one of the most successful LPGA Tour players from Asia. Her eight wins rank as the sixth-most on tour by an Asian-born player.
Kim is playing this week's Hana Bank Championship on a sponsor's exemption, and it will serve as her final tournament.
After Se Ri Pak burst onto the LPGA scene in 1998, Kim won twice in 1999 and was named the tour's rookie of the year. She played the last 13 years, but her body has started to break down.
Kim hasn't competed this entire season on the LPGA Tour while she has tried to get healthy. Combine that with her short length off the tee, and Kim felt now was the time to step aside.
"I played in the U.S. since 1999. For all my Korean fans, I thought it would be good if I close my career in Korea," Kim said. "To be honest, I didn't qualify for this tournament because I didn't play enough to qualify post- season. But LPGA KEB���HanaBank Championship gave me an opportunity to finish my career. I'm very appreciative for that."
In her retirement press conference, she noted injuries, her inability to compete with the top players and her family as reasons for her retirement.
Happy trails to Mi Hyun.
* Condolences to the family of LPGA rules official Doug Brecht on his passing. Brecht died from complications of West Nile Virus.
* The European Tour started the year with nine straight events outside Europe and ends the season with seven in a row outside that continent starting this week.
* Woods' World Challenge field was released this week and the 18-player field includes 13 Ryder Cup players, 11 from the U.S. team, and two of the season's four major champions. The really good to great golfers make a lot of money, but why wouldn't they play this event? You only have to play against 17 other guys, and a last-place finish still got that golfer $140,000 last year. Easy money, for sure.