2003 PGA Championship
No one knew who Shaun Micheel was when he showed up at Oak Hill to play in the PGA Championship. By the end of the week he was the toast of the golf world, and the author of one of the greatest clutch shots ever struck in a major championship.
Micheel, the definition of the nondescript touring pro, a 34-year-old who hadn’t won in his first 164 PGA Tour starts, came to the 72nd hole clinging to a precarious one-stroke lead, and when he drove into the left rough, there was a sense that the magnitude of the moment was going to engulf him.
Instead, his caddie told him the yardage was 175 yards to the pin, handed him a 7-iron, and watched with the rest of the world as Micheel launched a perfect shot that stopped two inches from the hole, securing Micheel’s victory which meant Oak Hill had now been the place where two major winners – Micheel and Lee Trevino – had earned their first victories.
Micheel, who in a unique twist graduated from the same high school in Memphis as Cary Middlecoff, winner of the 1956 Open at Oak Hill, said “I can't really believe that this happened to me.”
Neither could anyone else.
He and Chad Campbell came down to the final hole and those who were seated in the packed grandstand in that majestic setting around the 18th green witnessed Micheel’s shot for the ages. “That would probably be the best shot I've seen under pressure," said Campbell.
His name isn’t Snead, Hogan, Trevino or Nicklaus, but no one that week – not Woods, Mickelson, Ernie Els or Vijay Singh - was better than Micheel’s 4-under 276, and thus, he is deserving of his place in Oak Hill’s illustrious history.
For the first time since 1998, Tiger Woods went without a victory in the major championships in 2003. His last chance to break the “drought” came at Oak Hill, but for just the third time in his career he played all four rounds of a major over par and was never a factor. His 12-over total of 292 remains the worst four-round score of his career in a major. "It was a tough week," he said. "I fought hard just to shoot bad."
At the 2003 PGA, 96 of the top 100 ranked players in the world teed it up at Oak Hill, and only two – Chad Campbell and Tim Clark – managed to break par for the week. World No. 1 Tiger Woods said Oak Hill was the “hardest, fairest golf course we’ve ever played” and who could argue. He tied for 39th, Ernie Els tied for fifth, Phil Mickelson tied for 23rd and Vijay Singh tied for 34th.