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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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.