Micheel seals shock win
Shaun Micheel struck a brilliant seven-iron approach to two inches at the last
to seal a shock win at the U.S. PGA Championship on Sunday as Tiger Woods completed
his worst major finish as a professional.
World-ranked 169th, the 34-year-old American journeyman became the seventh
player to clinch the tournament at the first attempt, firing a closing level-par
70 to secure his maiden PGA Tour title by two shots.
Micheel, who was holding a one-stroke lead when he hit his approach from the
first cut of rough on 18, finished on four-under 276 at a sun-drenched Oak Hill
His tap-in for birdie earned him his first grand slam title in only his third
start and, after raising his arms in celebration, he walked across the green to
embrace his pregnant wife Stephanie before kneeling and gently kissing her belly.
Micheel's compatriot and playing partner Chad Campbell finished alone in second
place at two under after carding a 72.
South African Tim Clark, who made a fast start with three birdies in the first
four holes, stumbled with four bogeys after the turn and had to settle for third
position at one under after a 69.
Germany's Alex Cejka was fourth at even par, also after a 69, while three-times
major winner Ernie Els never gave himself enough birdie chances on the firming
greens and carded a 71 for a share of fifth place with Jay Haas.
"I had a perfect yardage into 18 and the ball was sitting up," Micheel
told reporters of his second shot from 175 yards at the last.
"When I hit the ball up there, and walked up and actually saw how close
it was, a whole range of emotions came through.
"I was really leaking oil coming down the stretch. Not closing the deal
was probably the first thing that came to my mind, besides my family and my wife,
because I knew I couldn't miss that putt.
"It was a great feeling and I'm just thrilled to be champion here in New
York," added the American after the 85th U.S. PGA Championship fell to a
first-time winner for the 13th time in the last 16 years.
Micheel's victory completed a clean sweep of first-time winners at this year's
majors, following the breakthrough victories achieved by Mike Weir (U.S. Masters),
Jim Furyk (U.S. Open) and Ben Curtis (British Open).
The four majors had not previously been won by first-timers in a single season
since 1969, when George Archer took the Masters, Orville Moody the U.S. Open,
Briton Tony Jacklin the British Open and Raymond Floyd the U.S. PGA Championship.
Micheel follows Jim Barnes (in 1916), Tom Creavy (1931), Bob Hamilton (1944),
Doug Ford (1955), Bob Tway (1986) and John Daly (1991) as U.S. PGA champions on
He began the day tied for the lead with Campbell and recovered from back-to-back
bogeys on seven and eight with three birdies down the stretch.
Appearing ice-cool, he drove the green at the 323-yard 14th to set up his third
birdie of the day and move three clear of the field.
But he three-putted at the 181-yard 15th to slip back to three under, with
his lead cut to one when Campbell holed a birdie putt on the same hole from 25
On 16, Micheel holed a 20-foot birdie putt to get back to four under, restoring
his two-shot cushion with two to play.
However, he then bogeyed 17 after missing the fairway off the tee before memorably
securing the last of the year's four majors with his superb approach into 18.
Woods completed his final round half an hour before the leaders teed off, carding
a three-over-par 73.
The 27-year-old American, struggling for accuracy off the tee all week, lost
any chance of mounting a last-day charge with two bogeys in his first three holes,
and dropped three more shots between the 10th and 15th.
Although he finished strongly with birdies on 16 and at the last, lifting his
meagre birdie haul for the week to six, he finished at 12-over 292, tying for
39th place in a field of 69.
"It was a tough week and it was frustrating out there but I'm so happy
now that I'm done," said Woods, who hit only eight of 14 fairways in the
final round. "If I wasn't making a 10-footer for par, I was making bogey
"I didn't hit the ball as well as I needed to but I putted great all week.
Unfortunately, they were all for pars and a few for bogeys.
"When you're not as precise as you need to be, it's going to be tough.
"This golf course is just a brutal test. It's the hardest, fair golf course
I've ever played."
Woods was bidding this week for his ninth career major and his first since
last year's U.S. Open. He has now completed his first season without a major victory
Although he has made every cut in the 28 majors he has played as a pro, his
previous worst finish was a tie for 29th, in the U.S. PGA Championship at Winged
Foot in 1997 and again at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001.
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