Micheel Wins 85th PGA Championship
Rochester, N.Y. - Last year it was Rich Beem, today it was Shaun Micheel. The former Hoosier All-American joined Beem in golf's most exclusive group-major champion.
Micheel responded to every challenge and withstood a late charge by Chad Campbell en route to a final round 70 and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Leading by one-shot heading into the 72nd hole of the tournament, Micheel hit what will go down as one of the greatest shots in PGA Championship history. Sitting 174 yards from the pin in the first cut of rough, he dropped a 7-iron within three inches, leaving him a tap-in for birdie and his first career victory on the PGA Tour.
"It was a perfect yardage and a nice, perfect lie," Micheel said. "I was just trying to hit it somewhere on the green. I was fortunate not to have to line that putt up. What can I say?"
Micheel's former college coach and current IU women's golf head coach Sam Carmichael expressed his amazement with the shot. "You could not expect a shot like that at that moment," said Carmichael. "Shaun is a great iron player, and that was a great shot. But to end it like that, it's unbelievable."
The Cordova, Tenn., native finished the tournament at 4-under-par, defeating Campbell by two shots. Tim Clark finished third carding a 1-under-par.
Many thought Micheel would be nervous entering the final round, but he immediately put those thoughts to rest by calmly nailing a 20-foot putt for birdie at the opening hole. After a bogey at the second, Micheel responded with a birdie at the par-three sixth hole to get back to 5-under-par.
Entering the backside after bogeys at eight and nine, Micheel played level golf until the 323-yard par-four 14th hole. Pulling out his driver, he knocked his tee shot on the green, the second player to accomplish the feat all tournament. He went on to birdie the hole and build a seemingly insurmountable three-shot lead. However, Micheel gave one back on the 15th hole, while Campbell surged forward with a birdie, cutting the lead to one shot.
"I was sweating it down the stretch," said Micheel.
Unfazed by the charging Campbell, as he did all day, Micheel came back on the next hole, recording a birdie to give him a two-shot cushion. Campbell would not go away and cut the lead to one shot after the 17th hole, but Micheel's incredible shot sealed the victory at 18.
"It's unbelievable," said Carmichael. "To win his first tournament at the PGA Championship is overwhelming. He responded every time anyone put pressure on him. He played incredible. I feel so great for him. Words can't explain how I feel."
The 1991 Big Ten Champion became the first Hoosier to win a major and the second Hoosier (Bob Mann, winner of the 1978 Walt Disney World National Team Championship) to ever capture a victory on the PGA Tour.
Curiously enough, just a month and a half ago, Micheel returned to IU, receiving instruction from Carmichael. He tweaked a few problems in his short game at IU's practice facility, which he called "one of the greatest facilities he has ever seen" with Carmichael, who couldn't be happier for his former player.
"He's one of the hardest workers I have ever been around," said Carmichael. "He is dedicated to the game of golf and improving his game. He did such a great job controlling his emotions and remaining calm all day. I can't describe how happy I am for him right now."
One of the most likeable and respected golfers to set foot at IU, Micheel's big day hit home with current IU men's golf head coach Mike Mayer.
"Sometimes good things happen to good people," said Mayer. "Today it happened to Shaun Micheel. He has worked so hard and has gone above and beyond to get better and improve his game. He has represented IU well and continues to do so today. A fairy tale came true today, and it couldn't have happened to a better person."
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