Notes Micheel Already a Hero

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 14, 2003, 4:00 pm
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- If Shaun Micheel hangs on and wins the PGA Championship, it won't be the greatest thing he's ever done.
 
When you save two lives, everything else is secondary.
 
Micheel was on a mini-tour in 1993 when he and another player, Doug Barren, saw a car go off an embankment in North Carolina and plunge into water. They stopped and saw that no one was going in the water to try and help.
 
'Not knowing how deep the water was, I didn't want to test my swimming skills with clothes on so I stripped to my orange fish boxers and valiantly went out and pulled them out,' Micheel said.
 
The action saved the lives of an elderly couple, and won Micheel an award for heroism.
 
After shooting a 68 Friday to take the second round lead in the PGA Championship, Micheel was asked about it and he told the story before joking that it might have cost him the tournament he was playing in because he kept hitting it in the water.
 
More seriously, he said he thinks about the incident almost daily.
 
'It was something that I think any of us would do if put in that position,' Micheel said. 'It was something that I think about quite a bit.'
 
Micheel said he sometimes has problems controlling his nerves before crowds, which may be a big reason he hasn't won in 163 PGA tournaments.
 
But when nerves really counted, he came through for the couple.
 
'I never heard from them after that,' he said. 'I kind of went on my merry way with the tournament.'
 
WITHDRAWALS
 
Five players didn't finish the second round.
 
David Duval, a 13-time winner on tour who has made just four of 18 cuts this year, withdrew after playing four holes in the second round because of a back injury.
 
Duval, who didn't make the cut last week at The International, had an opening-round 80 and was 6 over after four holes Friday when he left the course.
 
'I hit my tee shot on 5 and that was it,' he said. 'I can tell it's not right. I hurt it last week at Castle Pines on Friday. I felt all right when I woke up. I'm going to go back to Florida for a while. We have to give it a few days and see how it feels. I don't even want to speculate [on the future].'
 
John Huston, who had an opening 79, withdrew with an undisclosed injury Friday, while John Jacobs, a regular on the Champions Tour, withdrew after an opening 87. No reason was given. Kirk Triplett, who opened with a 76, withdrew after a 4-over 39 on his first nine Friday. No reason was given.
 
Wayne DeFrancesco, a PGA club pro from Baltimore, withdrew before the second round to return home following the death of his mother-in-law, Gerry Newman of McLean, Va., on Thursday night. He had an opening-round 79.
 
LORD BYRON
 
Justin Leonard, coming off a bogey at No. 17 and a double bogey at No. 18, glowered as he walked to the first tee Friday while making the turn. The only thing that changed his mood was seeing Byron Nelson sitting in a chair.
 
'I try to get to as many of these as I can,' said Nelson, who turned 91 earlier this year.
 
Nelson is a two-time winner of the PGA Championship, both during the match-play era. He also was at Oak Hill in 1995 during the Ryder Cup.
 
'I covered the U.S. Open for ABC in 1968,' Nelson said.
 
Nelson only stayed for a couple of hours before leaving for his ranch in Texas, where he could watch on television -- and in air conditioning.
 
LONE BRIGHT SPOT
 
Jeff Maggert missed the cut with rounds of 79-73, but he at least had one good moment Friday. He hit 4-iron into the hole for an eagle on No. 1.
 
'That was about the only good shot I hit,' Maggert said. 'I was trying to get a little run going because I thought I had a chance if I could shoot a couple under today.' He birdied the third hole and was headed that direction, but Maggert played the next 11 holes in 7 over par.
 
PAMPLING HOLDS UP
 
Rod Pampling lost the lead but made the cut. And that was relief enough for the former groundskeeper, who followed an opening-round 4-under 66 with Friday's 74, to sit four off the pace.
 
That's a lot better than how Pampling fared at the 1999 British Open, his only other major appearance.
 
After holding the first-round lead with an even-par 71 at Carnoustie, Pampling unraveled with an 86 and missed the cut.
 
'I would say it settled my nerves, yeah,' Pampling said. 'To have a not-so-great day and still be fourth, it's reassuring.'
 
Not that Pampling didn't make it interesting.
 
After shooting a bogey-free opening round, Pampling double-bogeyed both 3 and 5, eventually dropped to 1 over with a bogey on 14. He rebounded with a birdie on 17 and remarkably saved par on 18, holing out a 9-iron from 144 yards.
 
'It had to be the perfect number and it ended up being a perfect shot, so it was a good way to finish,' Pampling said.
 
GLOW STICKS GALORE
 
Staff at the hotel where Trevor Immelman was staying came up with a neat idea to deal with Thursday's power failure -- glow sticks.
 
'They issued them to us at the front desk,' Immelman said. 'It kind of felt like a church when you walked into the lobby, because they had candles and everything going on. It was pretty cool.'
 
It was even better when the 23-year-old South African went out and shot an even-par 70 on Friday to place him at 4 over, 144 for the tournament.
 
Immelman credited his solid score on the power outage that struck most of the Northeast.
 
Without electricity, which meant no television, Immelman said he had no reason not to go to bed early to prepare for his 8:50 AM tee time.
 
'No TV and that sort of thing, it worked out perfect for me,' he said. 'And I was thinking to myself, `Imagine what it was like before electricity?' I was showering in the dark -- amazing.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • PGA Championship Leaderboard
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

    Getty Images

    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

    Getty Images

    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

    Getty Images

    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.