Every time you tee it up, there's a chance that this will be the best round of your life. And every time you start a tournament, there's a chance that this will be the best four days of your life. And if you're very lucky, those four days will happen on the grandest of stages.
Such a confluence of happiness occurred for Michael Campbell in 2005 at Pinehurst. He carded a final-round 69 to hold off Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia and take advantage of Retief Goosen's utter collapse. But so what? He won the damn tournament. Fame and fortune would await soon afterward, right?
Not quite. Campbell slid steadily downhill, to the point that his world ranking now sits at 731. And he conceded that in recent times, he even considered giving up the game entirely at age 42.
"I can't imagine not playing golf," Campbell said in advance of this weekend's New Zealand Open, according to the AP. "I considered giving up and asked myself if I still wanted to win. I slept on it and the answer was, yes, I do. I love it so much. I love competing. I love winning golf tournaments. If I felt I could not compete or win again, I would throw it away. Deep down inside I am not a quitter. For me personally I am not ready [to quit] yet."
He's taken on Australian coach Gary Edwin to help him with his swing, and he notes that his stats are up for the first time since 2005. And while he hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2008 PGA Championship, he's hopeful that better times are ahead.
Then again, aren't we all? But even if his day in the golf spotlight is done, he's still got that U.S. Open trophy. Not a bad consolation prize, yes?