Māori golf looking to Campbell to help next generation

By James Perry

The return of Tiger Woods to the winner's circle this morning brings back memories of Michael Campbell's achievement in the golfing world.

Woods first tournament win in five years has seen him become yet again the most talked about golfer in the world.

The 42-year-old Woods won the Tour Championship event at East Lake, Georgia, USA today by two shots over Billy Horschel.  It's his 80th PGA Tour victory, putting him only two behind Sam Snead.

NZ Māori Golf Association board member Bernie O'Donnell says Tiger is a once-in-a-generation golfer, and those who get to witness him at his best should count themselves lucky.

For over 20 years now Woods has inspired golfers says O'Donnell.  Male or female, they really want to play like Tiger Woods.

Now the NZMGA are hoping that a Ngāti Ruanui golfer who beat once beat Tiger Woods in a major tournament can help them develop the next generation of Māori golfers.  

Michael Campbell won the US Open in 2005 by two shots over Woods.  He was the first, and so far only Māori to win a golf major, and the second New Zealander. 

Campbell will be returning to NZ at the beginning of the new year for a week-long training camp with some young up-and-coming Māori golfers ahead of the national championships in Taupō.

O'Donnell says they are lucky to have him participate.

If Woods is the current once-in-a-generation player, the help of the one Māori golfer who beat him could be enough to inspire the next generation's best.

The National Māori Golf Championships will take place in Taupō between the 6th and the 11th of January.