Beemer beaming at FedExCup chances

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
the Barclays Logo 2007Rich Beem, as much as anyone, knows how quickly fortunes can change in golf.
 
This is the guy who went from selling car stereos in Seattle for $7 an hour to rolling in a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole at Hazeltine to beat Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship. That was over the course of seven years.
 
His most recent reversal happened over two days.
 
Beem had yet to crack the top 20 all season. He was at No. 166 in the FedExCup standings. Equally dire was his standing in the Wyndham Championship, where he was even par on the 15th hole of the second round, three shots below the cut line. Four more holes and he was out of golf for the next four weeks.
 
And now were talking about a chance to win the FedExCup, he said. Its amazing how it can turn around.
 
Beem made eagle on the 15th, birdie on the 16th, finished with two pars and made the cut on the number. He followed that with rounds of 63-63 ' both times tying his career-low round ' to finish alone in third and breathe some life into his season.
 
Crazy game, he said.
 
Such is the nature of the PGA TOUR Playoffs, which starts Thursday at The Barclays.
 
Beem made the biggest move in the final regular-season tournament, going from No. 166 to No. 114 in the FedExCup standings. He was 21,562 points behind Woods last week, and now starts the playoffs only 6,730 out of the lead.
 
Better yet, Woods isnt even playing.
 
Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen also made a late push, with birdies on four of his last seven holes and getting up-and-down for par from 60 feet away in a bunker on the 18th to grab the 144th spot by a mere 20 points. Justin Bolli, Martin Laird and J.J. Henry also qualified.
 
Beem, however, is the poster boy for the TOURs version of a postseason.
 
He was the example of how the playoffs offered so little hope for so many last year. Beem was No. 134 when the playoffs began, and his tie for seventh at The Barclays got him thinking Cinderella until he checked the standings and realized that midnight came awfully early for those who started so far down the list.
 
Beem was one of only two players who climbed into the top 120 to reach the second round at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he had to finish no worse than second to keep going.
 
Of those 120, only two cracked the top 70 to reach the BMW Championship for the third event. And of those 70, only three advanced to the 30-man field at the Tour Championship. Only four players had a realistic chance of winning the $10 million prize.
 
With some major changes, the playoffs this year could be wide open'and that doesnt even account for Woods absence.
 
Heres the simple math:
 
  • The reset of points have bunched the 144 players closer together. A year ago, the gap between No. 1 and No. 144 was 15,300 points. This year, the gap between first and last is 7,930 points.
     
  • An additional 2,000 points are available at every position in the playoff events. That means the player at No. 44 could win The Barclays and move up to No. 1 in the standings. Last year, the highest No. 144 could improve with a victory was to No. 27.
     
    Now, the odds of that happening are about the same as Woods kissing the FedExCup. The reason guys like Janzen and Beem have such low seeds is they havent come close to winning in their 20 previous tournaments.
     
    But at least theres hope, giving these playoffs a chance to look like other postseasons.
     
    The TOUR said they wanted more volatility, but are they setting themselves up for a guy like me? Beem said. Have I had a better year than Kenny Perry or Padraig Harrington? No. But the playoffs arent all about who had the best year, its who is playing well in the playoffs. The New York Giants certainly were not the best team in the league, but they won the Super Bowl.
     
    The Giants first had to win road games against Tampa Bay, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. That might be easier than Beem, Janzen or anyone else outside the top 70 suddenly finding their game and sustaining it for the next month.
     
    And it makes it harder for those who dont play.
     
    Woods, who played only six times this year and still earned the No. 1 seed, isnt the only player on injured reserve. Luke Donald (44) is done for the season after wrist surgery, joined by Alex Cejka (91), Jason Bohn (96) and Roland Thatcher (140). Bob Estes (124) is getting married this weekend, Justin Rose (78) is playing in Holland to bolster his Ryder Cup bid and Lee Westwood (50) is on holiday.
     
    Only 136 players will tee it up Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.
     
    That Beem is among them is still hard for him to fathom.
     
    I seem to be the biggest procrastinator in the world when it means something, Beem said. Its a wonder I ever got married and had kids. But you know, they give you 42 weeks. Just because I waited until the last week doesnt bother me. Im elated to be where Im at.
     
    Instead of going home to Austin, Texas, for the next month, Beem had to rearrange his travel schedule. He found a hotel for The Barclays, and was thinking about making hotel reservations in the Boston area for next week.
     
    Then he changed his mind.
     
    Maybe I should wait until Sunday, he said.
     
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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.