Micheels Love Story
Micheel plays in the Target World Challenge ' Tiger Woods tournament ' this weekend. His wife, Stephanie, will probably skip work as a family law attorney to accompany him. The two of them will exchange glances across the Sherwood Country Club fairways ' as they always do during the six or seven times a year when she accompanies him. It was those quiet glances that got him through the toughest week of his career four months ago.
She was at the PGA, and what really got me through the last day was that I tried to find her every single hole, Micheel was saying at the recent Franklin Templeton Shootout. I only saw her about once or twice, but between shots
You know, theres so much time in between ' so much time to think about what could happen, what might happen, whatever. But I really tried to find her throughout the whole day. And it just kept me more focused.
Because when she leaves their home and her practice in Memphis, Micheel knows it will be a special week. She cant travel all the time, so he savors the days she spends with him at his workplace. Its a special time, and Shaun goes out of his way to make Stephanie feel special.
When shes out with me, I really try to pay attention ' make sure she knows where the first tee is its just nice to have somebody to go to dinner with. Its nice not to sit there and have to talk about golf every single minute, said Micheel.
I certainly make an effort to find her and talk to her during the round ' and she loves being out there. Were playing 4 -5 hour rounds, it gets a little monotonous sometimes. But its a little break for her ' like I say, I love having her out.
Her job ' shes only missed one sick day in seven years ' makes it difficult for Stephanie to travel. That doesnt make for a good lifestyle when you have a job that requires you to constantly be away from home ' as Shaun does. Both knew that he was going to be a professional golfer from the beginning. Micheel admits there were times of doubt about the wedding ' he didnt know if they were going to be able to handle the constant separation.
Marriage was tough on me in the beginning because I wasnt sure how Stephanie was going to handle my time away from home, he said. She has a career, very independent, very goal-oriented, and Im so proud to have her. And I do love having her around.
Stephanie finds it very difficult to accept the conditions of Shauns occupation. I dont think she enjoys my lifestyle ' traveling every week and Sundays packing up, checking another hotel, he said.
I know that there are a lot of wives out here that do that, and a lot of the children out here are home-schooled. But for me ' I dont think that would work very well for our relationship. What her goals were in college ' being an attorney and everything ' I would hate to see her give that up.
On Nov. 20, the two of them became a threesome. Dade Palmer Micheel was born at 2 in the afternoon. Shaun was thrilled ' and regardless of how much the baby wakes up at night, Micheel Sr. is going to sleep better now. Ten days before the baby was born, Shaun explained why his nights have been pretty sleepless.
I used to lie in bed and think about the golf course, what score I was going to shoot the next day, he said. Thats been replaced with what were going to name the child.
So now there are three. Micheel has another love his life to go along with Stephanie. Ive always loved kids, Shaun said.
But again, theres this career thing. The life of a golfer doesnt make for a good father ' in most instances. He just hopes he can be an exception.
I have had some friends of mine over the years who have had kids, he said, and maybe they have been a little bit distracted. Golf is a little bit of a selfish sport in that its just you out there. I felt a few years ago that I wasnt ready for children, just because I felt that might take away from what I was trying to do.
Micheel has his major championship trophy now, but he has something a whole lot more important. He has a wife, and now he also has a son. Nothing else really matters.
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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.
The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.
The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.
This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.
After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.
“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”
Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.
Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.
“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”
Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.
To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.
“More punishment,” he said.
DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.
Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.
Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.
Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.
It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.
With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.
Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.
TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:
• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.
• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.
• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery.
• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”
• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.
• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.
• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.