Former champion Michael Campbell out of U.S. Open

Story highlights

  • 2005 U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell out of this year's tournament
  • New Zealander misses chance to return to scene of his famous triumph at Pinehurst
  • Injury and personal problems mean he has withdrawn from 2014 tournament

Former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell is to miss out on an emotional return to Pinehurst after withdrawing from this year's tournament.

The New Zealander, who won the 2005 edition of the grand slam on the North Carolina course, has pulled out citing personal and injury problems.

Campbell explained that he had only just recovered from an ankle injury and had recently separated from his wife Julie.

"Sorry I have been off the radar since playing at the 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship," a statement on his personal website read.

"I have had some problems with a tendon in my left ankle that stopped me from playing for 2 to 3 months. The good news is that I am back swinging and now managing to play 18 holes.

"On a personal note, I have some sad news. Unfortunately Julie and I have separated. Our children remain our number one focus as we move forwards -- as parents first and foremost while remaining both friends and business partners.

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"As I do not feel that I am either fully physically or mentally ready to play tournament golf at the highest level, after much deliberation, I have decided not to play in the BMW PGA Championship, the US Open or the events in between.

    "I want to get back to my best and I believe this is the best strategy to achieve this."

    The 45-year-old has endured a lean period since his 2005 U.S. Open triumph, all eight of his career wins coming in 2005 or before, but his is still one of the enduring major championship wins.

    Campbell only secured his place at the 2005 tournament after making a birdie on the final hole of a qualifying competition at Walton Heath in England.

    Then he held off the challenge of current world No. 1 Tiger Woods -- who was then at the peak of his major-winning powers -- to claim the title by two shots.

    He became the first Kiwi in 42 years to claim a major championship, and though he finished tied for sixth at that year's US PGA Championship his game rapidly deserted him.

    His third place at the Portugal Masters in October 2012 was his best finish since 2006 though he did record a handful of top-25 finishes in 2013.

    Campbell's win at Pinehurst gave him a 10-year exemption at the tournament, meaning 2015 will be the last year he doesn't need to quality, but he now won't be able to relive any of those fond U.S Open memories at Pinehurst.

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