Beem Took All the Shots - and Won
You are No. 154 in the world when the tournament starts. Playing at the 2002 International ' the event featuring a modified Stableford format ' you have only scored eight total points the past three years prior to this tournament. Your back seizes up on you before the final round, then during the round you encounter a long weather delay. To top it off, your main opponent goes bananas on the back nine and scores 14 points over the final five holes. You can do nothing but sit and watch, praying that this madness finally stops before its too late.
This story is also about the one thing that goes right in the championship. Rich Beem wins.
The eventual loser was Steve Lowery, but what a show he put on before he finally succumbed. Beem had shot the equivalent of 63 on Sunday, adding 19 points to his total the final day. It looked like an early coronation with Beem finishing in front of Lowerys group.
But whoa! Suddenly, here comes a tornado when you least expect it.
When Beem wrapped up the scoring with a five-point eagle at the 17th, he had 44 points and a fat nine-point bulge that should have allowed him the luxury of waiting for the victory ceremony in a grand style.
It had started with a faint stirring ' Lowery was on 14 and made birdie from a greenside pond after splashing one out of the drink.
You know, unless he comes back to me, (there is) really not much chance at all, confessed Lowery. Unless he really has a problem out there, you don't feel like you have that much of a chance. But like I say, you never know when you're going to make two eagles.
At the time, his birdie on 14 didnt seem too important to the final outcome, but then he eagled the 15th, holing a gap wedge from 127 yards.
Hmmm, thats five more points ' interesting, maybe. When he three-putted from 50 feet for bogey at the 16th, Beem breathed a little easier. That should have been Lowerys last gasp.
But wait ' now hes at the par-5 17th, swinging at his second shot with a 6-iron from 190 yards. The ball landed three feet from the hole, took a couple of hops ' and went in!
Ive never made double eagle, said Lowery. This is the first time. Yeah, (I was) shocked. The crowd's reaction, you could tell that it's close or when it goes in, you could tell and after I saw it go in on 14, you kind of get the idea of what they are going to do.
Lowery had a little sense of dj vu, a trip back in time to 1994 when he won this same International in a playoff over Rick Fehr. The shot at 17 he had had before.
I tell that you, that 6-iron shot was very eerie because I was in the same spot, he said. The wind was kind of blowing the same way, the shot took off and my caddie said, '94 ' if that's not good, there is no good. When the ball is in the air, I'm thinking the same thing ' and it goes in!
And what was on Beems mind when he heard the roar of the crowd back on 17, as Beem was playing the 18th, believing it was virtually his celebration?
I hit my second shot on 18 and I was walking up and then I saw David Feherty walking up on the right and I put three fingers up and I said, Did Lowery make three? And he goes, No. He said, Lowery made 2.
And I was like, Reeeaaally? So all of a sudden my nine-point lead goes down to one, and then I somehow gagged it in from ' the last putt lipped in, and it wasn't like it was center cup. But that's just the nature of this game.
And Lowery came to 18 with a most improbable scenario on his hands: he was that lone point in arrears, a birdie was worth two points, so he could win it all with a bird.
He hit a 7-iron approach after his drive, and it was very good ' up to 12 feet. Lowerys play had gotten Beems full attention by now.
When I was sitting there watching, I wasn't really thinking about anything, said Beem. I was thinking, Hey, there's nothing I can do, that I played as good as I can. It was out of my control. So that was probably the most frustrating.
But also, the most relieving thing was that, hey, I didn't have to go to a playoff if he makes or whatever, it's done, it's over with. It's such a long and hard day. Watching Steve have the opportunity to win was certainly one of the most stressful times of my life. But that's the way this format goes.
Now it was Lowerys turn to attempt the game-winner. He settled in, stroked it ' and watched it barely get past the lip.
I hit a good putt that just didn't break, said Lowery. And at the same time, Beem exhaled loudly. The final score was Beem 44, Lowrey 43.
I was grateful, relieved, said Beem. I can't even run through all of the emotions that were going through my body at that time. I was a little bit surprised, yes.
Beem rushed out to the green and he and Lowery embraced. One the greatest comebacks (Lowerys) had been thwarted. One of the most unbelievable performances (Beems) had been rewarded.
I just looked him in the eye and I was just smiling, said Beem. He was, too. I'm like, It doesn't get any better than that, does it?
That was great playing. He congratulated me on the same thing. It was wild. I mean, I tell you, besides Nicklaus and Watson during the last two rounds of the (1977) British Open, I don't know of any round where it's just gotten completely hairy like it did today.
'It was unbelievable.
Two weeks later, Rich Beem was winning the PGA Championship.
CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:
|T20||Charles Howell III||-14||$57,754|
|T36||Tyrone Van Aswegen||-12||$27,189|
|T69||Billy Hurley III||-6||$11,623|
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.