Time away from game helps Clampett on the course

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Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Bobby Clampett is tied for the lead after one round at the Toshiba Classic.
March 16, 2012
John Reger, Special to PGATOUR.COM

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- It seems all it took for Bobby Clampett to love the game was to temporarily walk away from it.

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Clampett, who logged more time outside the ropes than inside of it the previous decade, is back playing and enjoying it more than he has in years.

"I love it, absolutely," Clampett said. "For me it was 15 years that I was away from the game. So I played the TOUR for about 15 years and went into full-time broadcasting and was really looking forward to turning 50 because my passion for the game is back."

It certainly showed in the first round of the Toshiba Classic. Clampett had eight birdies and two bogeys. One of the highlights was a chip-in birdie from 30 feet on the sixth hole.

Clampett was bucking a trend in his short Champions Tour career, where he has tended to struggle in first rounds.

"Traditionally, first rounds have been my worst rounds," Clampett said. "I think it helped me to play in both pro-ams to actually get to know the golf course, to get the flow going."

It was the least Clampett could do after being extended one of the five sponsor exemptions for the tournament. He definitely wants to improve his standing and try and get into more events on his own play.

"This is my 34th event in two years and it's still not as much as I would like to do," Clampett said. "So 34 events is not a tremendous amount of golf, but I'm really thankful to have gotten in that many tournaments."

In some ways, Clampett believes the break from the game actually helped refuel his passion.

"There is no question about it," Clampett said. "Being away from it and having support. When you have your family supporting you like I have now, to be able to do that is a great inspiration. If you have to do this on your own it's kind of miserable. When you have a big support group behind you pulling for you, it's enjoyable."

One side project that Clampett did might also have helped his game. Clampett worked with author Andy Brumer on an instructional book entitled "The Impact Zone." Working on the book actually helped Clampett with his own swing.

"The great lesson I learned was that I was basically going about trying to play the game through what teachers were teaching me and that was swing style," Clampett said. "When some of the best players of the game have some odd swing styles, but impact is the common denominator. It changed my whole approach to the game."

It is now a game that Clampett is enjoying every time he tees it up.

"I had everything going for me to go for it," Clampett said. "I never wanted to end the rest of my life saying I wonder what I could have done. I'm now here to answer that question for nobody else but me."

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