Three long years later, Micheel gladly settles for second

Medinah reminded Shaun Micheel of Oak Hill, where he won his PGA Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)
Medinah reminded Shaun Micheel of Oak Hill, where he won his PGA Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)

Shaun Micheel closed with a 3-under 69 on Sunday to finish in solo second, five shots behind Tiger Woods. But for Micheel, who has struggled since his breakthrough in 2003, the strong result in a major is almost as good as a victory.

MEDINAH, Ill. (AP) -- This is one time Shaun Micheel can live with second place.

Three years after winning the PGA Championship, Micheel closed with a 3-under 69 on Sunday to finish at 13-under 275. It was good, but not quite enough to catch Tiger Woods, who won by five shots at Medinah Country Club.

"I've seen some things coming around the last four, five months, but I think I was just so far behind where I needed to be mentally to really compete on a daily basis," Micheel said. "I just had gone through so many bad things, just so many bad habit I had gotten myself into, and that just bred a lack of confidence."

It was only three years ago that Micheel won the PGA Championship, clinching his victory at Oak Hill with a 7-iron to the 18th green that stopped 2 inches from the cup. But he hasn't been heard from since.

He tied for ninth at The Players Championship the following year, his only top 10 of the season. He had only two other top 10s in 2005, and none this year until he arrived in Chicago.

But there was a reason for that. Micheel was diagnosed with low testosterone in April last year. He finally found a treatment that works, and felt his game was slowly turning around.

This certainly got him pointed in the right direction.

"I suppose I didn't have any expectations of myself this week," Micheel said. "I was playing well and certainly wasn't looked at to even be in contention. I'm just pleased to have finished off a nice four-day tournament."

More than that, Micheel was about the only one who sustained a charge at Woods, even though he never got within five shots.

He ran off birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to reach 14-under, and hung on until the final hole. After hitting his tee shot into thick rough, Micheel had to lay up short of the green and made bogey.

But the week brought back memories -- playing late Sunday afternoon, even the test of a tree-lined course.

"Oak Hill was very similar to this because if you didn't hit the fairway and you chipped it out, you could actually make a putt for par," he said. "You weren't having to putt over ranges like you might find at the U.S. Open or even The Masters. So the greens were very fair."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Back to Top [0]

© 2006 PGA.com