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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Molinari reflects on beating Woods at Ryder Cup, Open

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 9:11 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Francesco Molinari might be a useful resource for the European Ryder Cup team.

He’s already beaten Tiger Woods, head to head, at a Ryder Cup and a major.

Molinari was in the anchor match at the 2012 Ryder Cup when Woods conceded on the final hole to give the Europeans an outright victory in the incredible comeback at Medinah. He said the last hole was a “blur,” and it remains the last Ryder Cup that both Molinari and Woods played.

“I’ve improved a lot as a player since 2012,” said Molinari, who lost his previous singles match against Woods in 2010, 4 and 3, “and I hope to show that on the course this week.”

The proof is the claret jug that he now keeps at home.

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To win his first major he needed to not only endure the circus that a Woods group brings, but he needed to outlast the 14-time major champion and a host of other worthy contenders to prevail at Carnoustie.

Reflecting on that momentous day Tuesday, Molinari said he initially was dreading the final-round date with Woods.

“If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t exactly hoping to be paired with Tiger, not because I don’t like to play with him, but because, obviously, the hype and with him being in contention in a major, it’s going to be noisy and it’s going to be a lot of people," he said. 

“So the most challenging part was probably that moment when the draw came out, but then I quickly managed to think, You know, whatever. I don’t really care. I’m here to do a job, and they can’t really influence how I do my job.”  

To thrive in that situation gave Molinari a lot of confidence – especially heading into a pressure-cooker like the Ryder Cup.

Asked whether it’s more pressure trying to win a major or a Ryder Cup – since he’s now done both – Molinari said: “You won’t believe me, but it’s nowhere near. Carnoustie was nowhere near Medinah or in any matching ways. It’s hard to believe, but it’s probably because you play for a team; you play for a continent in our case, and you know about the tradition and what players have done in the past.”

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Woods 25/1 to break Nicklaus' record by age 50

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 9:05 am

With his victory at the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods crept closer to Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour wins mark. But he also got fans thinking about whether golf's most famous record is once again in play.

Woods has been stuck on 14 career major titles since the 2008 U.S. Open, although he had a pair of close calls this summer. But now that he's again a winner on Tour, oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook created bets on where Woods' career major haul will end up.

The line they drew in the sand? Dec. 30, 2025 - when Woods, now 42, will turn 50 years old.

According to the Westgate, Woods is a -150 favorite to win at least one more major by that time. He's 2/1 to win at least two more, 5/1 to win at least three more and 12/1 to win at least four more. But it'll take five more majors to break Nicklaus' record haul of 18, and the odds on Woods doing that by age 50 are set at 25/1.

There are also odds on Woods' 2019 major prospects, as he's already the betting favorite for the Masters at 9/1. Woods' odds of winning any major next year are listed at +225, while the pessimists can wager -275 that his major victory drought will extend to at least 2020.

There's even a bet for those expecting some serious history: the odds of Woods sweeping all four majors next year at age 43 are 200/1.

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All 12 Europeans have history at Le Golf National

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 8:55 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The European team has plenty of experience at Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National, which has been the longtime host of the French Open.

The question this week is whether it’ll matter.

The only American player to compete in this year’s French Open was Justin Thomas. Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau and Bubba Watson all got a look at Le Golf National before The Open.

Not surprisingly, the European team has a proven track record here – all 12 players have seen the course at some point. Alex Noren won in July. Tommy Fleetwood is a past champion, too. So is European vice captain Graeme McDowell. Francesco Molinari and assistant Lee Westwood also have runners-up here.

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“I definitely think it’s a help to us, for sure,” Ian Poulter said. “It’s probably the most-played venue as a Ryder Cup venue for all of the European players that have played. So we definitely have a feel of how this golf course has played in very different weather conditions. I definitely think we have an understanding of how this golf course can play.”

Of course, this setup is no different than what players typically experience as they prepare for a major championship. They’ll play 18 holes each of the next two days, then maybe nine holes on Thursday, as they get a feel for the layout.  

“When it’s the best players in the world, and we play on golf courses week-in and week-out where we have to learn a new golf course, it’s difficult to say how much of an advantage it will be,” Fleetwood said. “It can only be a good thing, or it can’t do any harm that we know the course better or that we’ve played it more times.

“Knowledge can only be a good thing. Maybe it’s a little advantage, but it’s the best players in the world that are out here, so it’s not something to look at too much.”

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First-tee grandstand 'biggest you'll ever see'

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 8:27 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The first-tee nerves could be even more intense this week at the Ryder Cup.

If only because of the atmosphere.

The grandstand surrounding the first hole at Le Golf National is unlike anything that’s ever been seen at this event – a 6,500-seat behemoth that dwarfs the previous arenas.

“It’s the biggest grandstand you’ll ever see at a golf tournament,” Tommy Fleetwood said.

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“It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had to hit that tee shot before,” Ian Poulter said. “When I think back (to my first Ryder Cup) in 2004, the stand is nothing like what we have today. So it really is going to be quite a special moment Friday, and it’s going to be very interesting to see.”

Poulter said it’ll be his job to prepare, as best he can, the team’s rookies for what they’ll experience when the first ball goes in the air Friday morning.

“The No. 1 thing I’ve pictured since the Ryder Cup became a goal is that first tee shot,” Fleetwood said. “But nothing prepares you for the real thing. The grandstand is pretty big – there’s no denying that.

“It’s something that everybody wants in their career, so as nerve-wracking as it is, and whatever those feelings are, everybody wants that in their life. So you just have to take it on and let it all happen.”