Beem Beams a Common Quality

By Mercer BaggsAugust 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
Tuesday night with Connie Chung. Wednesday morning with Matt Lauer. Next week? Perhaps David Letterman.
 
Few golfers not named Tiger Woods are wanted on the talk-show circuit, but when its Tiger you beat, wanted you are.
 
Its been an exhausting couple of days since Rich Beem held off the worlds No. 1 player en route to becoming the most improbable major champion in over a decade. But unlike John Daly, who won the 1991 PGA Championship as the ninth alternate, Beem doesnt wow crowds with a Thor-like TaylorMade. Rather, he impresses with another Daly-esque quality ' Everyman appeal.
 
Beem wears his emotions on his sleeve and speaks whats on his mind. He tells you a person like himself cant win one of golfs biggest titles ' and then he does.
 
He laughs. He smiles. He makes you do the same.
 
He does an impromptu jig when surpassing his own expectations. Hes got the common touch, because hes a commoner himself, except one with a major title to his credit.
 
Beem won last weeks PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., with a combination of dazzling desire and self-effacing manner.
 
I said (all week) I dont expect to win; nobody asked, Well do you think you can win?' he pointed out. Well, sure I think I can I can, if everything is going in the right direction for me.
 
And so it did, from start to finish. However, the journey to major champion wasnt one born from oblivion ' such as Dalys ' but it certainly had a circuitous route.
 
His career could be seen as the mirror opposite of Tigers. While Woods has followed an almost celestial path to greatness, Beem has bounced about like cosmic debris.
 
After struggling on the remote Dakotas Tour, the New Mexico State University grad took a job selling car stereos and cell phones in Seattle, Wash., making $7 an hour. It was during that time that he watched former college rival Paul Stankowski win the 1996 BellSouth Classic.
 
That kind of fired me up a little bit about golf again, Beem said last week.
 
It was death of a salesman and a return to the mini-tours where he didnt have much successand decided to go back to work at El Paso Country Club.
 
That didnt work out either.
 
I was not a very good assistant pro, he said. Im a terrible teacher ' Ive got no patience for it.
 
A terrible teacher perhaps, but an obvious talent ' so much so that El Paso Head Pro Cameron Doan insisted he quit his job and return to playing for a living.
 
In 1998, Beem finished eighth in the Qualifying Tournament and earned his PGA Tour card. The following year he won the Kemper Open. Then, as quickly as he appeared, he vanished into the realm of one-win wonders.
 
The reason I was so bad at the end of 99 and all of 2000, just because when I went home, I didnt do anything. I just sat on the couch and vegged, he explained.
 
I dont want to say I lost interest, but I certainly didnt give it my full attention like it needed to be.
 
I was pretty satisfied. I was kind of living high off of my win, just because everybody was coming up and congratulating me: Oh, I saw you win the Kemper, thats a great story, and I bought into it a little bit too much.
 
Finally I said I cant live off of that.
 
One reason for Beem's apathy was due to his residence. Being a PGA Tour winner, he felt he had to live the PGA Tour lifestyle. He moved to Phoenix, where he soon found playing practice rounds with his peers didnt compare to money games with his buddies.
 
Moving back to New Mexico certainly helped (my) focus, he lamented.
 
Focus intact, he won this years International in a captivating final round over Steve Lowery. One start later, he did the same at the expense of Woods.
 
Beem, who turns 32 Saturday, has rocketed to fourth on the seasons money list. Hes earned $1.8 million in those two victories, to which he said: I think the IRS is going to enjoy my next quarterly income statement.
 
But as he points out, all the money in Tigers bank account couldnt pay for what hes accomplished.
 
Ill be forever known as a former PGA champion and theres not a lot of people who can say that, Beem said. Im pretty sure I could sell that to Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer (neither of whom won the PGA) for more than a buck.
 
Now, hes competing in his first-ever World Golf Championships event at the NEC Invitational, which just happens to be contested outside of his old stomping grounds in Seattle.
 
After four hours worth of interviews following his triumph Sunday, Beem returned to the Pacific Northwest. He visited some old friends at Magnolia Hi-Fi, bought his wife, Sara, a digital camera, and even manned the phone-lines.
 
I just kind of as a joke walked over and said: Yeah, Magnolia Hi-Fi, this is Rich Beem, how can I help you? They got a pretty good kick out of it, said Beem, who still carries his company card.
 
So thats what the newest major champion does with his spare time. Hangs out with friends, jokes around, manages to get a haircut. Even when he goes shopping for exotic cars, he expresses that Joe Public quality.
 
Nobody wanted to help me because I was wearing shorts and sneakers and a baseball cap, he said, and nobody recognized me, which was totally fine.
 
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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.