Shaun Micheel is struggling to recapture the magic

By Randall MellAugust 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Shaun Micheel winged his golf ball in disgust into Lake Hazeltine behind the 16th green Thursday at the PGA Championship.
 
Shoulders slumped, head down, you could almost see the weight of his troubles pressing down on him after he made a triple-bogey 7 there.
 
His father, Buck, could see it.
 
Six years after winning the PGA Championship, Micheel is struggling with more than his game.
 
Shaun Micheel 2003 PGA Championship
Shaun Micheel holds the Wanamaker trophy after winning the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. (Getty Images)
His mind is on other things besides golf right now, Buck said.
 
The hurt that used to be in Micheels shoulder, its in his heart and mind now.
 
Im a psychologists dream, Micheel said after shooting 76. Theres so much going on in my head right now.
 
Since winning the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in 2003, Micheel has struggled to live up to his billing as a major championship winner.
 
Hes battled a shoulder injury, a mysterious hormonal malady and now the fear that comes seeing a loved one stricken with cancer.
 
Micheels mother, Donna, is being treated for liver and lung cancer. She walked the first four holes Thursday at Hazeltine before fatigue set in and Buck escorted her back to the clubhouse. Shes amid chemotherapy treatments but couldnt stay away this week.
 
You dont want to use these things as excuses, and I know every player has something pulling at them, but Im in a constant struggle with these things, Micheel said after the first round. Theres no escape.
 
Its all coming down hard on Micheel this summer.
 
After undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in June of last year, Micheel was granted a major medical extension this season. He was granted 13 events to make $694,924, which would meet the money winnings total required to keep his top 125 status. His major medical extension expired at the U.S. Bank Championship last month as he failed to meet the standard.
 
With just $257,590 in official earnings this season, Micheel is faced with the dismal prospect of going back to the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament this fall if he wants to regain fully exempt status. He says he cant see himself going.
 
Theoretically, this could be my last tournament of the year, Micheel said.
 
Micheel, 40, has written letters to tournament directors asking for sponsor exemptions to keep him going the rest of this season because he fears he may not even qualify to get into fall series events.
 
This isnt how Micheel imagined his life would go after he won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill with one of the greatest closing shots in the history of major championship golf. His 7-iron from 175 yards at the final hole checked up 2 inches from the cup, sealing his place in history.
 
Micheel said hell dig out the DVD highlight of that shot and watch it when he needs inspiration. Hes watched it a lot, lately.
 
Its important to me, Micheel said. I dont have a whole highlight reel like Tiger Woods has. Whenever I need a pick me up, I take it out and watch it.
 
Micheel says what he loves watching most among the highlights of his PGA Championship victory is what happened in the aftermath. Its how he is shown hugging his wife, Stephanie, who was then pregnant with their first child. Micheels shown leaning over and kissing her belly. Dade Palmer Micheel was born three months later.
 
My son hasnt seen the video, Micheel said. I cant wait for him to see it. I think hes old enough that Im going to show him.
 
The victory changed Micheels life, but it also complicated it. The PGA Championship is his lone PGA Tour title.
 
Ever since winning, Ive tried to validate the win, Micheel said. I carry that around with me. Its almost like a burden.
 
Micheels struggles werent helped a few years back when he was diagnosed with a mysterious hormonal problem, a malady which affected his mood and energy level. Doctors prescribed testosterone, though it required a therapeutic-use exemption under the PGA Tours drug policy. The exemption runs through next year.
 
Its important to put everything thats happening in perspective, Micheel said. Thats what Im trying to do.
 
A good score helps, but Micheel will tell you theres more to life.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

    Getty Images

    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.