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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel hopes to will himself to victory again

Mamaroneck, NY - More of Shaun Micheel's comments will appear tomorrow in my Cybergolf piece, but I caught up with him for a post practice round chat. Here are some snippets.

On his preparation for the 2006 U.S. Open:

"Mentally, I started preparing for the Open about a month in advance. Majors are always in the back of your mind as a player. The only course that is similar to Winged Foot at all is Westchester, and that is a great tune up, but I didn’t play there last week."

On how he won the 2003 PGA and how he chennels his energy in a positive way to beat the pressure:

"Playing a major is not so much walking on eggshells as it is cautious aggression. The nerves are always going to be there. You can’t get away from that, but I overcame the nerves and won the PGA simply because I got sick and tired of letting the mental side drag my game down.

I used to get down on myself and then I just realized how sick and tired I was of that. I would get too uptight, but now I realize no one is going to 100% of their shots and that other people will make mistakes and bogeys too. But no nervous mistake is going to beat me."

On putting together the game plan for this year's Open:

"You want to get off to a good start. Ernie is right that the first four may be the worst four and you cannot play this course from behind.

You have to hit fairways. Careful attention must be paid to hit fairways, then hit the middle of every green and you’ll have some of birdie chances. Not a lot mind you, but enough. I have been finding the most difficult places on the greens and practicing those putts.

There are not TOO many places to really take a chance . Some of the par-3s are places where you might get a breather. And it;s really important not totake a big number on an easy hole. Finally you have to have a hot putter and alot of patience. Guys beside you are going to bogey too."

On what's in his iPod:

"I love old 80s rock and metal. There's Kiss, Poison and Saliva."

On a great public course to host a U.S. Open:

"I'd like to see some of the great new courses in Oregon host an Open. maybe Pumpkin Ridge. It hosted a great amatuer. And even though I have not played it, Bandon Dunes is just phenomenal."


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