The current United States Open champion, Michael Campbell, took the HSBC World Matchplay title at Wentworth last evening and so the blighted old tournament had a prestigious winner after all.

Campbell beat Paul McGinley at the 35th hole, lifted the honours for the first time and pocketed a cheque for a cool £1 million.

After missing his first five cuts of the season, his campaign has been redeemed in a big way.

Whether as much can be said for the stature of the Matchplay is another matter.

So many of the world's top players snubbed it and those who came, while providing a fair amount of excitement, scarcely put a gleam on the event.

The final, especially, failed to say much for the grandeur of the game. But it was characterful in its way and unlike so many matches this year, it went a decent distance.

It was packed with a sort of perverse tension that was built on the volume of errors committed by the finalists.

Campbell, having taken the lead at the 29th hole after lunch, then got to the penultimate hole in one over par. And was two up.

"Matchplay is such as fickle game," he explained. "I stumbled over the finishing line.

"I played my good golf on the first three days," said a disappointed McGinley. "If this had been strokeplay I would have been well in front but I could never get ahead when it mattered.

"I couldn't put on any pressure because my game just wasn't good enough." Which said it all.

McGinley putted poorly in the morning but despite being handed the 16th when Campbell hit his second into a bush behind the green, he went to lunch one down because of the terrible second he played to the 18th.

As there is an absurd 90-minute wait between the finish of the 18th and the start of the 19th holes, some are tempted to consider this not as a 36-hole tournament but two tournaments of 18.

You really have to find a new game for the afternoon and when Campbell birdied the 19th, it seemed that he had. Campbell described his halfway lead as "a huge advantage" and was soon two-up, the first time there had been more than a hole between the pair.

The difference was three when McGinley pulled an over-long second to the third and took six.

This seemed to be pull-away time but McGinley's splendid birdie on the sixth seemed to unleash a few demons in the New Zealander's mind and he proceeded to play such dreadful golf that by the ninth it was all square.

The par-three tenth said much about the standard of play. McGinley missed the green, Campbell didn't but the Irishman accepted a half with his bogey. The 12th was a crucial hole, Campbell getting away with a winning birdie four despite a hopeless fouriron second that cleared the green by a distance and almost became entangled in a fence.

A flubbed bunker shot by Campbell gave McGinley the 13th, the 14th was halved with some respectable golf and then the game descended into ragbag-land.

McGinley hit a dreadful second to the 15th and lost it and now the golf went from bad to ruinous. Campbell hit his drive at the 16th into a bunker; McGinley pulled his about 50 yards wide of the fairway into the trees and while he might have got away with a bogey, it wasn't enough.

Two up with two to play, Campbell sent his second shot to within ten yards of the 17th green and when he chipped to a couple of feet, McGinley conceded.

And the Irishman's words of the day before came back to haunt him.

Now nearly 39-years-old, all he has to show for a career in which he is recognised as a considerable battler is a win in the Wales Open, in the Hohe Brucke Open and the Oki pro-am.

"There have been occasions when I could have won and should have won," he said.

"But on more than 50 per cent of the time, while I have played damned well, somebody has played unbelievable golf to beat me."

It wasn't unbelievable golf that beat him yesterday.