Major Bubble


It wasnt supposed to be this way for Shaun Micheel. Micheel won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in New York in August with the single most dramatic golf shot of the year, a 7-iron on the 72nd hole that stopped two inches from the cup.
Micheel wasnt supposed to arrive at the Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort on the bubble. But thats where he finds himself upon his return from England, where played in the HSBC World Match Play Championship last week.
Micheel has dropped to No. 30 on the money list. He is THE current bubble boy for the Tour Championship which will be played in two weeks in Houston.
Obviously being in the top 30 on the money list gives you more of a standing in the golf community, he says. Of course we all want to be at the top of that list, but there is only room for one of us. As I hover on the bubble, the depth of the tour is apparent. It shows that even though you win a major, you arent guaranteed anything.
One of the little-known facts of Micheels victory at the PGA Championship was how close he and caddie Bob Szczesny came to parting ways before the tournament.
I have always been loyal and dont change caddies just because Im playing poorly, Micheel says. But there was a time this year when I had missed three cuts in a row when I thought that a change might be imminent. We righted the ship with a 10th place finish at Hartford and just like that we were a team again. I knew all along that it wasnt Bobs fault. Caddies do not hit the shots. Ultimately, Bob is my friend.
One of the people who helped talk Micheel into keeping Szczesny was his wife, Stephanie, who is pregnant with the couples first child. I am grateful that he (Szczesny) didnt fire me after missing those cuts, Micheel says.
And as for the importance of his wife: Stephanie is my life, he says. She has put up with my life since 1994 and if I didnt have her to push me along I dont think I would be in the position that I am in right now.
Stephanie Micheel is an attorney and played soccer at LSU. And, Shaun says, She knows the dedication that sports require from individuals and the amount of time that is required to be at the top level.
And she has understood the separations imposed by the incessant travel. There has never been one time when she has asked me to come home, he says. If that is not support, then I dont know what is. Since January of 1994 there have been maybe 20 days in which we have not spoken. And that includes my travel overseas. I am a long distance carriers dream.
I love her and I am going to do anything to make sure that I hear about her day and to let her know that she is in my thoughts.
Sometimes players change after winning a major championship. Sometimes that change is for the worse. Its nice to see that this is not the case with Shaun Micheel.
As for the bubble: If he makes it, great for him. If he doesnt, Micheel will survive. It isnt like he has played poorly since Oak Hill. Micheel has made the cut in all three PGA Tour events he has played in since then.
Its just that balancing golf with a new house and a baby due soon has been draining. But, he says, it is all good and I am enjoying it.
Editors Note: Shaun Micheel will be Vince Cellinis special guest on Golf Talk Monday, Oct. 27 at 8:00PM (ET).
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