Over the past 12 months Michael Campbell has gone from strength to strength climbing to fourth in the Volvo Order of Merit having captured three European Tour titles. This week he defends the first of those titles when he returns to the Johnnie Walker Classic - the opening event of the 2001 European Tour International Schedule.
Campbell will be defending the title at the Alpine Golf and Sports Club, Bangkok, against a star field including the World number one Tiger Woods, winner of the Johnnie Walker Classic in 1998 - the last time it was held in Thailand, and other Open champions Paul Lawrie and Nick Faldo.
Twelve months ago Campbell led from start to finish to win his maiden title on the European Tour, holding off a strong challenge from Australian Geoff Ogilvy and South Africa's Ernie Els with a two under par 70 in the final round.
Since then the New Zealander has won the Heineken Classic and Linde German Masters on the European Tour and the New Zealand Open and Eriksson Masters on the Australasian Tour.
Woods will be seeking his tenth title of the year and a repeat of his victory at Blue Canyon Country Club two years ago. Faldo is another past champion in the field having won the title in 1993.
Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Ian Poulter is one of this year’s tournament winners in a field augmented by Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who heads to Thailand in superb form after finishing the WGC - American Express Championship with an eight under par 64.
The event, now in its tenth year, is again tri-sanctioned between the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian PGA’s Davidoff Tour.
The 2001 European Tour International Schedule will include a minimum of 45 Volvo Order of Merit tournament with no fewer than 23 countries hosting official tournaments starting this week with Thailand and the Johnnie Walker Classic.