Micheel Remains Grounded a Year Later


04 PGA ChampionshipOn the 72nd and final hole, suddenly there it was. A 7-iron from 175 yards, slightly into the wind. The final round of the 2003 PGA Championship. Shaun Micheel absolutely having to hit a good shot to quell pesky Chad Campbell.
Micheel put a good swing on it, and it arched perfectly through the blue sky, rolling to a stop just two inches away from the cup. The unthinkable had finally become thinkable ' Micheel had won a major, the PGA Championship.
It was really the first time that I could actually take a deep breath and only think about what my future might mean and how I can improve and become a consistent player on the Tour, said Micheel.
Micheel and perhaps the best field in golf will be there again when the PGA Championship is played Aug. 12-15. Its played this year at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisc. But it will have to go some to beat what happened at Oak Hill.
I think it was just my time, he says. Everything was lined up and the putter was hot and that's ultimately what carried me through.
Micheel really hasnt had much time to savor his victory. He had his first child, a son, born last November, and he has spent much of this year being a new father. As a result he hasnt been overly successful professionally, but he has learned personally what a joy life is when you become a parent.
Being home with my family has probably been one of the most important things, said Micheel.
Careers change on the basis of majors won, and Micheel doesnt think he is an exception. The PGA was a landmark moment in his 35-year-old life.
I think it's every player's dream to win a golf tournament, said Micheel. Obviously everyone rates their careers differently, some on major championships and players like myself, I am happy to contend each and every week and try to improve that way.
I think professionally for me it really changed my career because it changed my life - it gave me an opportunity to not have to send in my Q-School application like I have been doing over the last four, five years. This is my seventh year on the tour; I have been exempt now for five straight years.
Micheel has had a journeymans career. Hes banged around on the mini-tours and Nationwide Tour as well as the PGA Tour. Little doubt that when he finally won the big one, then, he hardly knew what was expected.
I think we are our own worst critics at times, he began. Undoubtedly when I won I felt a little bit pressure over the next few months that I needed to try and showcase my talent or to try to compete each and every single week, and it's difficult to do. There's very few of us that are able to do that.
Hopefully one day I will be able to kind of figure that all out and be able to be on the leaderboard every single week, but until then it's still a learning experience for me.
But he cant deny that he learned a lifes worth of experience that Sunday in August. Even now he learns when he views it again.
When I went back and watched that video of the final round, I walked the same pace, he says.
When I refer to my mental game, I refer to just trusting myself. I don't have a mental coach, I don't work with a sports psychologist, I just try to maintain the same routine, the same speed, the same thoughts and just really not get too emotional about anything that's going on out there. Comfort with your surroundings certainly helps that, and I think that I've achieved that part.
And, hes become Shaun Micheel, golfer, as well as Shaun Micheel, average joe.
I'm certainly comfortable out here now, Micheel says. The last couple of years I've really learned how to play, how to handle poor shots, how to handle crowds per se. I haven't really had to deal with too much media up until a couple weeks ago.
I was still just another top-125 player, so things have changed a little bit in that respect. I'm pretty happy really with the way my game has progressed over the last few years. I think my mental game has certainly benefited from just being out here, and I've finally gotten over the hump of handling all the stuff that goes on outside the ropes.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Glorious Last Shot - Micheel Wins the PGA