In years past, Rich Beem might have considered starting his 2012 PGA TOUR campaign in Honolulu at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The 2002 PGA champ isn't fully exempt on TOUR this year for the season straight season, though. That's why Beem decided to take advantage of the final year of the 10-year exemption on the European Tour he received for that win over Tiger Woods at Hazeltine National.
So while his peers are playing at Waialae Country Club, Beem is several continents away competing in the Joburg Open. He's currently 2 over through 15 holes in the first round of the tournament that is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour.
“On a professional level, I think it’s going to make me a better player,” Beem told Mike Green of the Sunshine Tour.” I think if you’re able to take your game overseas and play well overseas, and then come back to an environment you already know, then you’re going to have so much more confidence.
"So I’m looking at it from that angle – the more that I’m able to play around the world on courses I haven’t played and have success, the more I can take that success back to the PGA TOUR.”
The 41-year-old Beem has status on TOUR as a past champion. He says the biggest challenge so far as been the travel -- "trying to figure out where it is; how I can get to certain tournaments,” Beem explained -- but he's embraced the opportunity. Among the highlights so far is a private tour of the Apartheid Museum and Soweto.
“What an incredible experience," Beem said.
Beem, who plans to fulfill the 13-tournament obligation to retain his European Tour card while also competing on the PGA TOUR, isn't looking at 2012 as a last-chance season for his pro career.
“I haven’t thought about the season that negatively yet,” he said. “I keep thinking that I’m going to play well and secure cards on both tours and then figure that one out. I would suppose that in some ways it’s make-or-break, but I haven’t quite figured out what I would do if I end up broke. I haven’t made any other plans yet.”
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will be missing five major champions as well as one former PLAYERS champion when The Barclays begins on Thursday.
Angel Cabrera, who has two majors on his resume, as well as former British Open champs Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton and PGA winners Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, won't be participating after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship.
All came into the week ranked outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings and didn’t earn any points as a result. Other notables on the sidelines are Henrik Stenson, who won the 2009 PLAYERS Championship; Rocco Mediate and Boo Weekley.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
There aren’t many clubmakers in the world whose products can simultaneously go in a TOUR player’s bag and on a collector’s wall, never even once hitting a ball.
Scotty Cameron inspires that kind of behavior with his famous Titleist-branded putters. There are the TOUR-used models, like Tiger Woods’ famous Newport 2 (in the bag for all 14 of his major titles), then those that collectors crave and sell to the tune of thousands of dollars.
Consequently, his thoughts on the art, science and business of putters are closely followed throughout the
Cameron was asked about the latest color craze in clubs, and noted that the classics aren’t going away anytime soon.
“Good ideas seem to come back around, like the white putter, which is nothing new. The White Fang Jack Nicklaus used was really a Bull's-Eye back in that day with the fang on the back [Nicklaus won the 1967 U.S. Open with that putter],” Cameron said. “These ideas come around. I've done red putters with the Caliente. In my experience there are three colors that sell—not that you can't get far-fetched—but there is black, there is silver, and there is gold.”
HE SAID IT: David Toms won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial with a Never Compromise Dinero Tycoon putter, a conventional-length model. Prior to the event, he was asked about the trend on TOUR toward longer putters and whether he had used them.
“I have practiced with long putters before, belly putters. It's a great stroke that way. I have problems setting up with them.
“I think if I could get the set up and feel comfortable I wouldn't mind putting that way because I think it's almost like cheating at times. Especially coming down the stretch last week (at THE PLAYERS) trying to win, you have that nervous factor and nervous energy and all of that and it factors into your stroke sometimes -- where if you anchored something into your body maybe that wouldn't be there. So certainly I would say it's a good way to putt if you can get comfortable.”
SCRATCH GOLFER: Rich Beem switched from Ping G-15 irons to a set from Scratch Golf, the company that once supplied clubs to Ryan Moore and now counts David Duval in its stable of pros. Read more here.
THE LAST WORD: Paul Goydos, last week when asked if he would go from a conventional to a long putter: “I was bad, and I hit some putts with a belly putter. It was worse. My issues with putting really aren't the length of the putt, it's the length between my ears.”
Two weeks ago, Kevin Na was wearing a microphone as part of Golf Channel’s coverage of the Valero Texas Open when he made a 16 on the par-4 ninth at TPC San Antonio. fast forward to Thursday at TPC Louisiana, where it was Rich Beem’s turn as he made a triple-bogey 7 on the sixth hole. Click here to see the video .
Brandt Snedeker, Pat Perez, Charles Howell III, Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman and Rich Beem have all won on the PGA TOUR. Brendan Steele, Cameron Tringale and Kevin Chappell haven’t.
That’s the separation at the top of the leaderboard at TPC San Antonio, where Steele is in front by one at 7 under after a 68 Saturday.
The biggest difference between the second and third rounds was the wind. Friday it blew, Saturday, for the most part, it didn’t. That allowed for some good scoring, though it’s still somewhat crowded with eight players within four shots of Steele’s lead.
That of course includes the defending champion Scott, who is on a run of three straight finishes in the top 6, which includes of course his tie for second at the Masters last week.
So what will happen on Sunday?
The wind is expected to blow in the 25-mph range. That could mean more high scores -- and an advantage to Scott, an Aussie who of course is used to playing in the wind. Stay tuned.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer
Rich Beem is happy to be upright. He’s also happy to have made his first cut of the season after missing all six of his previous ones this season.
“I am not feeling bad which has been quite the opposite of it lately,” said Beem, who shot a 2-under 70 Friday to finish his first two rounds in 3 under and near the lead. “I feel pretty good out there, you know, able to kind of keep my focus out there which has been pretty helpful but with these conditions it ain't fun.”
The conditions Beem was talking about of course is the wind.
And the tough pins on Friday.
”This golf course kind of captures your attention,” Beem said. “You have to focus on every single hole and every single shot. There's a bunch of stuff going on out there, you know, and so, you know you really got to kind of really -- hate to say one shot at a time but literally if you're not thinking about that shot right then and there, it can come up and bite you, doesn't matter whether you got sand wedge in your hand or 4-iron.”
It also helps that Beem, who’s on a major medical this year, spent about 30 minutes with his coach earlier this week.
“He kind of got me thinking about something a little bit different with my golf swing,” Beem said. “I was trying to take it too far inside. Got it a little further outside on the way down.
“Other than that, I haven't really seen him at all this year. Just kind of grinding away, hitting a lot of golf balls, you know, get on the driving range and hammering golf ball after golf ball. It's finally paying off.”
You know scoring is tough when the overnight leader -- J.J. Henry in this case -- is 3 over through 12 holes in the second round and he’s still just one shot back.
That’s the scenario unfolding at TPC San Antonio, though, where there’s a logjam of players at 3 under -- four of which are already in the clubhouse. Among that group already done are Geoff Ogilvy and Rich Beem.
It’s no surprise Ogilvy is in the mix. Aussies tend to play well in the wind and we’re seeing that so far.
As a result of the difficult conditions the cut line has also moved. It’s now 3 over, up from 2 over earlier in the day.
Rich Beem has been out of action on TOUR since undergoing back surgery in May, but the three-time TOUR winner shot only 72 in the first round. With the field averaging 69.181 on Day 1, Beem will need a round in the 60s on Friday to make the cut.
It might be a long way back. Beem played a pair of Nationwide Tour events this fall in preparation for his return, but he didn't break 70 in either of them, missing two cuts.