2002 USPGA Champion Rich Beem spoke to Golf Monthly about this week's USPGA Championship at Baltusrol
In 2002, Rich Beem, a former car stereo salesman and country club assistant pro, won the USPGA Championship at Hazeltine by holding off one of the greatest golfers of all time – Tiger Woods.
Beem had accomplished more than he ever thought he would, having told us his dream was to simply play in a PGA Tour event.
With that victory, he earnt a lifetime exemption into the USPGA and has played every year since, apart from 2010, making three cuts.
How many times have you played Baltusrol?
I played it back during the last PGA (in 2005) and I’ve got some good friends that live up there. I’m heading up there to go play it early. I’ve probably played it five or six times over the last few years.
What can you tell us about the course?
It’s a big boy course. It’s long, it’s a brute, it’s pretty relentless. You’ve got to find the fairway, even the long hitters have got to find the fairway because you’ve got some funny angles if you’re in the rough. It’s a proper test of golf, it’s going to be hard for all the players but I would imagine that six, seven, eight under probably will win depending on what mother nature throws on us.
Who’s your favourite going into it?
Me haha. No, I don’t know I hadn’t really thought about it. I mean it’s a golf course that I think Jason Day would like, McIlroy always is a guy you’ve got to look at – Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, the list just goes on and on. How you handicap these guys in the top 10 in the world I just don’t know any more because they’re all capable of winning at any given time. I think a longer hitter would certainly enjoy it but take your pick out the top 10.
Will you be working for Sky?
I’ll be doing some work for Sky. I’ll be more than likely doing some commentating at the weekend in some form or fashion. I’m looking forward to it all, I just enjoy working for Sky I love it. It’s an awesome group of people to work with.