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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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