Chad Campbell prepares for Nationwide Tour next month

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Chad Campbell

Chad Campbell

Chad Campbell finds it rather remarkable that The Nationwide Tour will be starting its 22nd season next month.

“It’s been around that long?” he asked. “That’s amazing because it’s really come a long way even when I was out there playing.”

Campbell, the Nationwide Tour Player of the Year in 2001, is one of many who went on to stardom on the PGA TOUR. He’s won four times on TOUR and pocketed nearly $20 million, and he doesn’t need reminders of how important his time on the Nationwide Tour was.

Campbell won three times on the Nationwide Tour in 2001 to earn an promotion to the PGA TOUR. He hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s a great place to play and I think players who have come from there have showed how good the competition is on that Tour and it really has improved it seems like every year,” Campbell said.

From Jeff Maggert, the first Nationwide Tour Player of the Year in 1990, to Tom Lehman, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Jerry Kelly, the list of former Players of the Year is impressive.

Vegas’ first TOUR win Nationwide Tour grad Jhonattan Vegas outlasted Gary Woodland and Bill Haas in a playoff to win the Bob Hope Classic. Story

And it’s not only the winners of the Jack Nicklaus trophy who have made an impact on the PGA TOUR. Consider Jhonattan Vegas, who finished seventh on last year’s Nationwide Tour money list and won in a playoff on Sunday at the Bob Hope Classic.

As the Nationwide Tour continues to flourish, more and more players who reach the PGA TOUR have used the Nationwide Tour as a springboard. Of the nearly 300 members on the PGA TOUR this season, three out of four players spent time on the Nationwide Tour.

“There’s no question the talent level on the Nationwide Tour and the young guys that come off that Tour increases every year,” Campbell said. “I think it’s a great way for guys right out of college to go because you can learn so many different things about life as a pro.”

Past Nationwide Tour
Players of the Year 1990 — Jeff Maggert 1991 — Tom Lehman 1992 — John Flannery 1993 — Sean Murphy 1994 — Chris Perry 1995 — Jerry Kelly 1996 — Stewart Cink 1997 — Chris Smith 1998 — Bob Burns 1999 — Carl Paulson 2000 — Spike McRoy 2001 — Chad Campbell 2002 — Patrick Moore 2003 — Zach Johnson 2004 — Jimmy Walker 2005 — Jason Gore 2006 — Ken Duke 2007 — Nick Flanagan 2008 — Brendon de Jonge 2009 — Michael Sim 2010 — Jamie Lovemark

Last year’s Player of the Year, Jamie Lovemark, who at 22 was the youngest to win the money title on the Nationwide Tour, says what he learned last season will help him down the road.

“It was huge,” Lovemark said. “Playing an entire year on the Nationwide Tour was great for my confidence, taught me how to compete, how to live life on the tour week-by-week and all of the ins and outs of traveling and building a routine each week.”

Campbell says there was no magical formula he used on the Nationwide Tour that helped him but what he did gain was confidence. Winning on the Nationwide Tour can be a boost on the PGA TOUR, according to the Texan.

“Absolutely, it can carry over,” Campbell said. “Being able to win out there it really did help me in all aspects of my game but it mostly gave me a boost in how I looked at my ability.”

Campbell agreed with Lovemark in what players learn on the Nationwide Tour isn’t just about golf.

“There are so many little things I remember learning,” Campbell said. “The traveling and everything that goes with it can really help you off the course. It’s a great place to learn all of that and at the same time you are playing against great competition.”

Lovemark also said he was able to learn a lot on the course, as well, and that paid dividends as the season went on. “I improved a lot on being consistent and I did a better job of controlling the golf ball,” he explained.

Without the Nationwide Tour, Campbell’s not sure how long it would have taken him to get to the PGA TOUR.

“It’s helped a lot of guys out, whether it’s the young players out of college or even veterans who may have had to fight through injuries or whatever,” Campbell said. “I don’t know the particulars about how or why the Nationwide Tour came about but I’m certainly glad it’s there because it helped me tremendously.”

Related posts:

  1. Injury cause Nationwide Tour’s No 2 removal from Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island
  2. Lovemark sets expectations high on Nationwide Tour
  3. Lovemark is youngest ever to claim the Nationwide Tour Money Title at $452,951 in 2010
  4. Pressue Builds on the Nationwide Tour to Earn PGA Tour Cards for 2011
  5. Nationwide Tour graduates are record for PGA TOUR rookies moving up to the big show

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