PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Beckman having a 'blast' while earning starts
October 07, 2020
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- October 07, 2020
- Cameron Beckman tees off at the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach in September. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Cameron Beckman flew to North Carolina on Monday for the next event on the PGA TOUR Champions post-COVID schedule, the SAS Championship.
That’s right. He got on a plane after the weekend was over. Because for the first time since turning 50 on Feb. 15 he didn’t have to go through Monday qualifying, courtesy of a top-10 finish at the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.
It will be interesting to see what a difference that makes for the former three-time PGA TOUR winner.
Beckman didn’t have any grand plan to chase PGA TOUR Champions dreams when he turned 50. He had kind of meandered through his 40s. His last top-10 finish had come in 2013, his last TOUR win was the 2010 Mayakoba Golf Classic. He often played with some of the better players around San Antonio where he makes his home, including PGA TOUR player Abraham Ancer and PGA TOUR Champions player Tom Byrum.
Byrum had told him he should join him on Champs. Beckman tried Q-School and was in pretty good shape to make a run at one of the handful of fully exempt spots, but a 9 on a par 3 in the final round derailed him.
Still, he was encouraged that he had played pretty well save for that disaster. And he was kind of getting the bug anyway, mostly because his son, 14-year-old Luke, was beginning to take a more serious interest in the game. Luke made the varsity golf team as a freshman at his high school in San Antonio.
“My son and I were playing a lot,” Beckman said this week. “I tried a couple of Monday qualifiers after I turned 50 and didn’t have any luck, and then COVID hit. So I just kept on playing with my son.”
Beckman was playing well and really enjoying the family time, but he had no status on PGA TOUR Champions. Still, he figured he’d try a few more Monday qualifiers. The first tournament back was The Ally Challenge outside Detroit, and Beckman snagged one of the four spots in a field of 44.
He finished T45, but he had a blast.
“It was so much fun seeing all the guys I played with,” Beckman said. “The atmosphere is completely different. It’s just not … it’s still competitive, but yet it’s much more relaxed. Everybody is happy to have the chance to play.”
Monday qualifying is never easy. There are a lot of players trying for very few spots. But spurred by his breakthrough at the Ally and the joy it brought him, Beckman went to South Dakota for the Sanford International. And damn if he didn’t earn his way into the field again, posting a T35.
“I’m thankful to have a chance to keep playing the game I just absolutely love to play,” Beckman said. “That’s the guys that I grew up watching and then got to play with. I really had a good time. It drove me further to want to get back out there and it helped spur me on for the next two qualifiers. I was extremely motivated and focused to get out there and play more with the guys.
“I didn’t play particularly well at the Ally. Then I played the qualifier at South Dakota and was a little better, then I played well at Pebble. I’m getting better as we go here.”
Beckman said he never had played particularly well at Pebble during his days on the PGA TOUR. But for some reason it came together in California in September, especially in the opening round. He came out of the gates with a 65 and held on over the weekend for a tie for 10th. That earned him an automatic exemption into the SAS.
Now Beckman’s plan is hopefully to rise as far up the money list as he can so he might be able to reach a point where he won’t have to Monday qualify every time out.
Until then he just plans on “having a blast.”
“You can tell they made this Tour exactly the way it should be,” Beckman said. “It’s so much fun! And the guys are still great players. I played with Jay Haas on Saturday at the Ally, and he made nine birdies. Are you kidding me? It’s just cool. It’s fun to see, and it’s something I want to be a part of as much as I can.”