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Shaun Micheel is struggling to recapture the magic

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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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