Victory at Oak Hill no guarantee of success as Shaun Micheel can attest
Ten years after his Major victory, Micheel, 44, is not exempt on the PGA Tour or the Web.com Tour
Shaun Micheel in action during the first round of the 95th PGA Championship in Rochester, New York. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Micheel, who won the US PGA Championship the last time it was held at Oak Hill Country Club, in 2003, carded twin 76s in his return, each score six strokes higher than his worst round a decade ago.
“To see Shaun struggle like that at a venue where his greatest accomplishment as a golfer has taken place, I felt heartbroken for him,” Beem, the 2002 champion, said afterwards.
“Because trust me, I know how it feels.”
Beem, who was on his way to another missed cut, said he told Micheel to look at the bright side: “When they give the trophy out to somebody on Sunday, our names are still on it. They can’t take them off.”
Of the last 25 US PGA Championship winners, 16 were claiming their first-time Major. Twelve of the 16, including Beem and Micheel, have yet to win a second Major.
Micheel and Martin Kaymer, the 2010 champion, are the only US PGA Championship winners since 1950 without another PGA Tour victory.
Micheel’s title drought was extended here to 216 starts. At least Kaymer, who began playing a full schedule on the PGA Tour this year, has since won on the European Tour.
In 2003, Micheel sealed his victory with one of golf’s most memorable final-hole shots, a 7-iron approach from the first cut of rough that landed two inches from the pin.
Ten years after his crowning moment in golf, Micheel, 44, is not exempt on the PGA Tour or the Web.com Tour, the circuit one rung below. In 10 combined starts this year on the tours, he has not broken 70 or made a cut.
“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,” Micheel said. “Or thought I was dead or retired.”
Beem’s victory in this event was his third on the PGA Tour and his second in two outings. He held off Tiger Woods at Hazeltine Golf Club 14 days after he took the title at the International. Beem has since gone 242 tour starts without a win.