In prepping for Drive the Green Podcasts the boys always get on random tangents and have found ourselves asking what the hell happened to (insert random PGA player)? So, after MattyB declared we needed to up the content count on the website I figured why not write a series of articles tracking down what these once household names, who have fallen off the map, are up to now. I will be getting into some real obscure golfers, but I figured I would start the series with a couple guys who have popped back up in the news recently. Starting with none other than the guy who was pegged to be the next big thing in golf in 2008 in Anthony Kim.
Anthony Kim roared onto the golf scene in 2007 with 4 Top 10 finishes and a T20 at the US Open as a rookie on tour. He followed up his rookie season winning twice in 2008 and had two Top 3 finishes in the final two fedex cup tournaments that year. These efforts leap frogged him to #6 in the Official World Golf Rankings. That September, he was a vital part of the USA recapturing the Ryder Cup going 2-1-1 and beating Ryder Cup legend Sergio Garcia in the singles matches. He went 3-1 in the 2009 Presidents cup cementing himself as a up and coming stalwart for these types of events. In 2010 he won for the third time on tour capping off a pretty impressive 23 month stretch.
That is the Anthony Kim everyone remembers but then, in late 2010, he was hit hard by the injury bug. He tore his Achilles tendon while training and it required surgery that would keep him on the shelf for a year. While rehabbing that injury he herniated a disk in his back that required a spinal fusion. Torn labrum, rotator cuff and hand injuries have resulted in Anthony Kim being forgotten just as quickly as he rose to 6th in the world.
During my research for this article I came across the popular rumor that Anthony Kim took out an insurance policy on his body in case of injury and is getting paid monthly to not play golf because it would void the policy. Anthony Kim, in an interview, doesn’t deny that he has an insurance policy, he definitely does but he denies 100% that is the reason that is keeping him away from the PGA tour. Kim’s answer was that he is still too injured to even think about making a comeback. But I mean he isn’t going to admit on the record he is healthy enough to golf but isn’t because he will lose that guaranteed income. No one would be that stupid. It sounds like he is quite happy living his modest life and collecting his insurance money because like Anthony, said he is “too injured” to play.
For those readers muttering to themselves “who?”, Shaun Micheel won the 2003 PGA championship. (Side note: go check out the 2003 major winners. Talk about a dog’s breakfast of champions. I mean 3 of them could qualify for this series of articles). But, we are focusing on Shaun Micheel in this edition. Micheel was a 10 year veteran of professional golf on various tours before he stepped on the tee at Oak Hill Country Club in August 2003. The guy was a grinder, and little did he know in four short days his life would change for the better and worse. Micheel won the 2003 PGA championship in one of the biggest underdog stories in the history of golf.
After that win, many thought we were witnessing a late bloomer who put in his time grinding it out to finally find success. What we actually got was a guy whose next biggest claim to fame is finishing 2nd to Tiger in a major in 2006 and having to fight a lawsuit with the PGA because he had low testosterone and had to take hormones to remedy it. After that Micheel never captured lightning in a bottle again like that weekend in August of 2003.
While researching I found lots of quotes saying that Shaun Micheel changed after winning that major and not in the way many would think. He put so much pressure on himself to continue winning he went from being a likeable social butterfly on tour to being a guy who played practice rounds by himself late in the day so he wouldn’t have to socialize with anyone. To add insult to injury he suffered multiple shoulder injuries which all but ended his ability to compete on the PGA tour.
Never a long ball hitter with the injuries he couldn’t keep up to young guys coming up. He still plays professional golf but not very often and not on the PGA tour. He bounced around the Euro tour and Web.com tour for the last 15 years never being more than a field filler. Wow that got kind of sad and dark. But, to answer the question of where are they now? Shaun Micheel played in the 2018 PGA Championship and missed the cut. But, he turns the magic number 50 in January 2019 and will be joining the PGA Champions Tour for his rookie season.
Stay Tuned for Part Two
I was really hoping both of these guys would be bagging groceries somewhere when I started doing the research for this article but it turns out one isn’t milking an insurance claim (wink wink) and the other has had a pretty rough stretch of years. But things could potentially look up the in the future with how many wins guys in their early 50s have on the Champions tour.
Like I said above this is only the first installment of a recurring series. So, if any readers have a guy that they have thought what happened to that guy? Reach out to the DTG boys on Social media @mattyballgame5, @DTGharv @DTGBronel or on IG @DriveTheGreenGolf