Gear up for a surprise
The press room at Oak Hill looked the same as it did 10 years ago to Shaun Micheel, with a few notable exceptions. The Wanamaker Trophy was gone. The empty chairs outnumbered reporters by a 5-to-1 margin. And it was the wrong day of the week.other Updated: Aug 08, 2013 02:27 IST
The press room at Oak Hill looked the same as it did 10 years ago to Shaun Micheel, with a few notable exceptions.
The Wanamaker Trophy was gone. The empty chairs outnumbered reporters by a 5-to-1 margin. And it was the wrong day of the week. "I wish it wasn't Tuesday," he said, settling into a chair to talk about the memories of his PGA Championship victory a decade ago at Oak Hill.
The final major of the year feels more like a reunion to Micheel. He brought his wife and two children - the oldest was three months from being born when he won - along with his wife's parents. Micheel was trying to figure out a way to get them inside the ropes so they could follow his amazing footsteps in 2003. "I'm anxious to show them where I had one piece of history, I guess," he said.
It's his only piece of history.
"One and done" takes on a new meaning when it comes to Micheel. He is among 54 players since 1970 who have only one major championship. What puts Micheel in a league of his own is that since 1970, he is the only player whose major remains his only victory.
And he hasn't been particularly close. The only other time since Oak Hill that Micheel was in a press room on Sunday was at the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah. He was runner-up that year to Tiger Woods by five shots.
"Had you told me that when I hoisted that trophy on Sunday night ... if somebody had whispered in my ear that you're going to become a non-exempt player on the tour, and you're going to be a non-exempt player on the Web.com Tour, I would have told you that you were crazy," he said. "Or thought I was dead or retired."
Micheel had the lowest ranking (No 169) of any player to win the PGA Championship. He had gone 163 tournaments without winning until then; it's been 215 since. A frustrating ride, some of that out of Micheel's control.
He was diagnosed with low testosterone in 2005, and said he had to go through hoops to get a therapeutic use exemption from the PGA Tour when drug testing began in 2008. Then he had surgery on his left shoulder that affected his swing.
The record shows one win in 378 starts on the PGA Tour. And it happened to be a Major.
Does that say more about Micheel or this Major? "I guess it says that every player in the field who plays for a living can win," Geoff Ogilvy said.
This major once had a reputation of producing first-time winners, none more surprising than a PGA Tour rookie named John Daly, who got in as the ninth alternate at Crooked Stick in 1991. During one stretch, 18 players won the PGA Championship in a 19-year stretch until Tiger Woods repeated in 2000.
Micheel is aware of the "one-hit wonder" chatter and he doesn't fight it. "I'm happy with my place in history," he said.
First Published: Aug 08, 2013 01:01 IST