Look for the standard suspects — Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and the most well liked participant within the sport, Scottie Scheffler — to be in rivalry at this week’s P.G.A. Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
But don’t be shocked if somebody emerges out of nowhere to upstage the massive names.
After all, 20 years in the past, Rich Beem did precisely that.
Heading into the 2002 P.G.A. Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., nobody was speaking about Beem, although he had received the International match two weeks earlier in Colorado. People had been speaking about Tiger Woods, who had captured two majors that 12 months, and different prime gamers.
Heading into the ultimate day of play, Beem was trailing Justin Leonard, the 1997 British Open champion, by three strokes. Woods was 5 again.
On Sunday, nevertheless, whereas Leonard struggled with a five-over 77 to complete in a tie for fourth, Beem surged.
Two photographs that stood out had been the 7-wood Beem hit from about 270 yards away on No. 11, a par 5, which led to an eagle, and the 35-foot birdie putt he transformed at No. 16. He posted a 68 to prevail by one over Woods. It was Beem’s third victory on the tour.
Woods, after a few bogeys on the again 9, birdied the final 4 holes to place strain on Beem — which he felt as he obtained able to hit his second shot on the ultimate gap.
“I literally was like, ‘Just don’t shank this in front of all these people,’” Beem mentioned. “‘Don’t screw this up now.’”
Beem reached the placing floor along with his strategy, after which obtained down in three putts for a bogey. After the ultimate one dropped, he did just a little dance on the inexperienced.
“I could relax,” he mentioned. “I could breathe again. I was done.”
Beem will always remember the shot at 11. Perhaps the identical could possibly be mentioned of Woods.
During a apply day main as much as the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, Woods walked towards the inexperienced on No. 12. Beem was heading in the other way.
“Doesn’t say hi,” Beem recalled. “Doesn’t say, ‘What’s up?’”
Then, Beem mentioned, Woods requested him:
How the heck did you get it dwelling in two on Sunday on No. 11?
Beem didn’t miss a beat.
“When you got it, you got it,” he mentioned.
Leonard, who was paired with Beem in 2002, had an analogous impression in regards to the strategy at 11.
“That’s a shot I was in awe of,” Leonard recalled. “I felt like that was kind of the tournament right there.”
Not fairly. Not with Woods nonetheless on the course.
Beem heard the roars whereas Woods was making his late rally.
“I heard them,” Beem mentioned, “but never really thought about them or wanted to react to them.”
Beem was solely 31, however the victory can be his final on the tour.
“I’m really bummed out about that,” he mentioned. “That’s probably one of the things that eats at me more than anything else about my career. I probably didn’t grind as hard as I should have in some instances.”
He knew lots about grinding. Before he certified for the PGA Tour in 1998, Beem was an assistant professional for 2 years at El Paso Country Club in Texas. His wage was about $13,000. He made roughly twice as a lot as that in mini-tour occasions in New Mexico and West Texas.
Before then, for about 9 months, he bought cellphones and automobile stereos within the Seattle space.
Beem mentioned he was a very good cellphone salesman. The stereos, nevertheless, had been one other matter.
“I was just awful,” he mentioned. “I didn’t realize speakers were different sizes for different cars.”
Beem, 51, now works as a commentator for Sky Sports, although he hopes to compete extra usually on PGA Tour Champions, the circuit for skilled golfers 50 and older.
In the meantime, being exempt as a former P.G.A. champion, he’ll tee off Thursday with the youthful guys at Southern Hills. His aim is to play on the weekend.
“I’m healthy enough,” he mentioned. “The body feels fantastic. I’m very capable of making the cut.”
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