Is Beem a Johnny Jump-Up The Signs Differ

By George WhiteAugust 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
Ho-hum, a lot of experts are saying today, another Johnny Jump-Up jumps up and wins the PGA.
Rich Beem got a brief introduction a couple of years ago when he won the Kemper Open. Then came a prolonged blackout when he settled back into relative anonymity while finishing 146th and 109th on the money list the last two years. Then, without prior warning, he wins the International and the PGA Championship in his last two starts.
So - was it a fluke? Will Beem get over this hot streak and settle back into obscurity? Will his story be that of one Craig Perks, who had one glorious week at the Players Championship, then stepped back into the faceless masses who toil week-in and week-out on the tour?
Those, incidentally, were the two best fields of the year, the Players and the PGA. With people watching from around the globe, with the greatest players on earth on the same golf course, these guys were the winners. Not Tiger or Sergio or Mickelson or Love, but Craig Perks and Rich Beem. Both had to be playing great golf for one week to get it done ' you dont have 100 of the greatest players in the world having an off-week at the same time. Both of these guys had four of the greatest days of their golfing life.

Perks is somewhat understandable, his brief, shining moment and then the retreat back to normalcy. He is 36 years old, a family man who has so many things other than golf to occupy his mind. Chances are not good that he would suddenly explode on the radar screen and stay there. At his age, he is probably on the same page as so many golfers like him who have family and a much broader life than just golf. He clearly has the talent to jump up into the stratosphere every once in awhile. But he is involved in far too much to do it too often.
Beem, on the other hand, is a bit intriguing. Hes also in his 30s ' 31 ' old enough that any sign of greatness should have manifested itself back in his 20s. But there is one big difference ' he recently got married, and in his case, marriage had to be a very positive step in his career. According to many reports, he was pretty much wedded to the nightlife earlier in his career. The nightlife is good for a lot of things, but not so good for a budding golf career.
Beem caught a break in that Tiger Woods never could wrestle away the lead. If Tiger had ever got his nose in front, that would have been it. You knew it was coming, this furious charge. Beem knew it was coming, Tiger knew it was coming. And Beem was able to stay in front with an eagle and a birdie coming home.
Tiger, as usual, was extremely gracious in his post-mortems.
Thats awfully impressive, to go out there and shoot a round like that when he absolutely has to do it, said Woods. Sometimes it might be a benefit to be a little nave in a situation because youve never been there before in a major championship.
A lot of people think that if Tiger could have gotten in the last pairing with Beem, it would have been different. Beem would have had to look at perhaps the greatest player in the history of the game instead of Justin Leonard, who himself was having a myriad of problems. Woods, though, was playing one group ahead, and there are a lot of people who believe that made all the difference in the world.
Tiger isnt necessarily one of them. It might have made a difference, but then again, it may not.
Dont know. Dont know, said Tiger. He played great and I didnt.
He had the advantage of being in the final group where you could react to what the other players are doing ahead of you, and thats the idea of being in the final group. If someone makes a run, at least you have the same holes to answer them on. Thats what he did on 16.
On 16, Beem drained the bomb that eventually meant the championship. Of course, it could have evolved in a completely different manner. He could easily have three-putted the 35-footer, allowing Woods the chance up ahead to tie.
But in the end, the story remains the same ' Tiger wasnt in the last group because he was five behind when the day started. He had a very simple solution for the fix he was in ' play better. He didnt, and as a result, he got beat.
So Rich Beem wins a major championship. And not just any major ' he won the major that had the most players in the top 100 in history. He richly deserved the trophy.
Now, the question is, will he stay there? Is this the beginning of something huge? Or is it just a pleasant introduction, then a retreat back into the rank and file of golfdom?

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.