Golf champ Michaeel raises millions for Make-A-Wish - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Golf champ Michaeel raises millions for Make-A-Wish

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Memphis has many favorite sons - from Elvis to Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and all in between. Memphis' sons seldom forget their roots.
That rings true for one of the men who put Memphis on the big stage in the world of golf.

Shaun Michaeel grew up playing the game in the Bluff City, and eventually became not only a mainstay on the PGA Tour, but also a PGA champion in 2003.
This weekend, his focus turns home again. For the 10th straight year, Michaeel back in Memphis teeing it up for a tournament that bares his name - The Make-A-Wish Shaun Micheel Classic.

"I never would have imagined that we would be where we are," he told FOX13 News. "We've raised an incredible amount of money, and I'm very proud to be a part of this organization. Stephanie and I have had an incredible time with it."

To say it's been an incredible time for Michaeel and his wife, is almost an understatement.

"There's been a lot of events that I've done over the years where you go out to an event and you don't see where the money is going," he said. "But we have our Wish kids as the team captains. They take the place of the PGA Tour pros.  When the people come out and get a chance to meet these children and they get to be the team captain, they get their picture taken with them ... it's an easy sell, really."

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Micheel got involved 10 years ago, shortly after he won the PGA championship. Since that time, the Shaun Micheel Make-A-Wish Golf Classic has raised $1.8 million, and $220,000 in 2012 alone. This year's tournament is expected to take them well over the $2 million mark.

But Michaeel says it's not about him. It's all about the kids of Make-A-Wish.

"I think it's really the mission and the Make-A-Wish organization," he said. "I think anybody could be hosting this event, really and be generating the kind of money that I am. It's extremely humbling to be around these families and as I said, it's an easy sell. When you see the smiles on these kids, it just makes you want to keep coming back and doing it again and again."

The golfers do come back for the kids, but also for the Sunday night get together with the kids at The Rendezvous downtown and for the time of their lives on one of The South's premier courses - TPC Southwind.

"People have really come to love being out here, playing a golf course that the PGA Tour has just played, it's challenging," Michaeel said. "But we make it easy on them!"

But it's not the golf course that's the biggest challenge for Micheel.  

"You learn to be humble, really, around these families and what the kids are facing," he said. "It's hard to see and hard to explain in words what it means to me. You know, every year, we have a Wish Kid party, and I'm not sure that I've ever made it through one of those speeches without bursting into tears.

"Hope, strength, and joy is their motto," Michaeel added. "They've certainly shown me that. It's arguably the best organization that I've ever been involved with."

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