And then came the PGA Championship. Surely the PGA Championship was going to be the tournament that bucked the surprise major trend. The best in the world took to Oak Hill, but Tiger Woods couldn't break 72, Phil Mickelson still wasn't ready for that first major championship and most of the other big names seemed to take the week off. That left the door open for Shaun Micheel and Chad Champbell, two men that looked more like car salesmen than professional athlete. But as anybody that has left a golf course with an empty wallet knows, you can't judge a golfer by his cover.
Micheel hit one of the best shots in PGA Championship history on the par-4 18th hole, sticking a 7-iron from 175 yards to just a few inches, tapping in for birdie and the Wanamaker Trophy and a career-making situation.
That moment was sweet, but 10 years later the game isn't so simple for Micheel. Now 44, Micheel is ranked 1,040 in the world, spending most of his time on the Web.com Tour and not having much success over there.
During his press conference this week, Micheel mentioned even he is surprised by his fall in the game, some due to his play, and some due to injuries he's battled the last few years.
"I guess had you told me that when I hoisted that trophy on Sunday night and I went back to my hotel, 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 you were crazy, or thought I was dead or retired," Micheel said.
That PGA Championship win has been the only PGA Tour win of his career, and despite a second place finish at the 2006 PGA Championship, hasn't finished in the top-22 in a major championship since Oak Hill.
This season Micheel has really struggled with his game. Four PGA Tour starts and five Web.com starts have ended without a single paycheck, but it's even worse than that for Micheel. He hasn't broke 70 this year on either of the two big tours, and while he is in the field this week at Oak Hill, the expectations have to be pretty low for the man that resides in Memphis, Tenn.
Still, no matter if Micheel never wins another golf tournament the rest of his life he will forever be a man included in highlight packages when you talk about this major championship.
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