Cast your eye down the list of past champions of Singapore’s National Open and one of the winners who stands out – with a truly inspirational story – is Shaun Micheel.

The American triumphed, on this day, in 1998 at SAFRA Resort & Country Club, and, as is well documented, went on to record a remarkable victory in the 2003 PGA Championship – at Oak Hill Country Club in New York.

ROCHESTER, NY – AUGUST 17: Shaun Micheel of the USA holds the trophy after winning the 85th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on August 17, 2003 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

That is two “Major” victories, some would say – particularly if you are a lover of the Singapore Open.

No doubt, the seeds for Micheel’s win in the PGA Championship were sown in Singapore 22 years earlier.

In 1998, he had decided to play in Asia in order to find his form.

“After I lost my PGA Tour exemption in 1997, my manager, at the time, mentioned going to Asia with Charlie Wi – who he also managed. He felt like a complete change of scenery might help me regain the confidence that I lost after a poor year on the PGA Tour,” said Micheel from his home in Tennessee last week – after having played in the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship on the Champions Tour.

He had started his professional career in 1992 on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa and because of that experience, he felt comfortable going to Malaysia to go through the Asian Tour qualifying process. The Tour at that time was called the Omega Tour.

Having negotiated the rigours of Qualifying School, he was quick to establish himself on Tour.

Early on in 1998, he pushed Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol and Boonchu Ruangkit all the way in the Orient Masters in China. He eventually finished in a share of third, behind Chawalit – who claimed what was to be the first of many wins on Tour – and the legendary Boonchu, who finished second.

Says Micheel: “The competition was really good and I knew that if I could find some consistency, I would have a chance to get back onto the PGA Tour.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments