surprise winner of first Major
as if he had nothing to lose, Rich Beem buried Tiger Woods and captured a PGA
Championship even he thought he had no business winning.
Beem hit a 3-wood
to within 6 feet for an eagle on the 11th to seize control, then put the finishing
touches on a fearless round by rolling in a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to thwart
a final charge from Woods.
years ago, Beem was selling car stereos and cell phones for $7 an hour. Even after
the third round, he said guys like him weren't supposed to win majors.
stared down the world's best player under the stifling pressure of a major championship
at Hazeltine, closing with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Woods.
Woods did his
part. Unwilling to give up after back-to-back bogeys, Woods birdied the final
four holes to keep alive fleeting hopes of becoming the first player to win the
three U.S. majors in the same year.
finished off his incredible round with a harmless three-putt bogey on the 18th,
lifted his arms and did a shimmy under the bright skies of Minnesota.
watched the final putt on a television in the scoring trailer. He had told caddie
Steve Williams that four birdies on the final four holes would be enough to win
went ahead and birdied out, and we didn't win," Woods said. "At least
I gave it my best effort. We just came out a little bit short."
closed with a 67, matching the best score of the day.
Riley shot a 70 and was another stroke back, his best finish in a major and good
for a trip to the Masters next year.
season's final major has seen this before. Beem, who finished at 10-under 278,
became the 12th player to make the PGA Championship his first major victory.
set Beem apart from a long list of surprising winners - John Daly, Wayne Grady,
Mark Brooks - was the guy chasing him.
year long, past major winners like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have complained
that too many players wilt when they see Woods' name on the leaderboard.
showed up quickly with three birdies and two amazing pars on the front nine, putting
him just one stroke behind Beem with nine holes to play.
didn't buckle. He simply continued to blast away.
driver on just about every hole and attacking the pins, Beem turned a one-stroke
advantage into a six-stroke lead over Woods in a matter of four holes.
biggest was his 3-wood second shot on the 597-yard 11th hole.
on! Come on!" Beem yelled as the ball soared over a cluster of bunkers, landed
on the front of the green and didn't stop rolling until it was 6 feet from the
cup. He made that for eagle to get to 10 under.
played in the group ahead of Beem, although he knew who was on top.
scoreboard was directly behind the cup on No. 13 as Woods stood over a 12-foot
birdie putt that would have pulled him within two strokes of the lead. Instead,
he three-putted for bogey, then dropped another shot on the next hole.
key putt came on No. 16, the hole where Payne Stewart won the 1991 U.S. Open at
Hazeltine. Beem begged his approach shot to clear a marsh on the corner of Lake
Hazeltine, and it barely did. His 35-foot birdie putt was true.
pumped his fist and heaved his ball in celebration.
best part was still to come. After holing out on the 18th, he jogged over and
kissed the Wanamaker Trophy.
I told reporters this week, I had no expectations," Beem said. "I really
enjoyed this golf course. I thought I could get around it. But I never expected
keeps a bottle of antacid in his bag and takes a swig before the round to calm
the man a bottle of champagne. He's the toast of golf.
collected $990,000 and a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour and to the three
other majors. He can return to the PGA Championship as long as he likes.
bad for a guy who gave up the game in 1995 and decided he was better off in a
was called a "one-hit wonder" when he won the Kemper Open as a rookie
in 1999, especially when he didn't have any top 10s the next year and only narrowly
kept his job for this season.
win a major, you have to have something special," he said Saturday evening.
"And I don't know if I have it."
took the lead for the first time with a bogey on No. 8 - Justin Leonard made double
bogey by hitting into the water - and he never gave it back.
it may be a benefit to be naive in a situation," Woods said.
had been in that situation before, but simply didn't have the game Sunday to stay
'97 British Open champion, and a runner-up at Carnoustie three years ago, Leonard
struggled to hit fairways and greens. His three-stroke lead was gone after four
holes, and he wound up with a 77, tied for fourth with Fred Funk (73) at 284.
the day five shots off the lead but got into contention with three birdies and
two big pars.
chipped in for par on the first hole, and had an even better save on No. 8. From
thick rough between two bunkers to a downhill pin with water behind the green,
Woods hit a flop shot that stopped within a foot of the hole.
was one stroke out of the lead, with nine holes to play against a former stereo
salesman, and all signs pointed to his ninth major championship.
was reminiscent of Woods' battle with unheralded Bob May at Valhalla two years
ago at the PGA, which Woods finally won in a playoff for his third straight major.
Beem was even
better than that, and Woods made two mistakes that proved costly.
Beem's victory two weeks ago in the International, not many people knew him or
expected much out of him in a major championship.
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