Charmed life

Defending PGA champion Rich Beem may skip out on this year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY.There’s a good reason: he and his wife, Sarah, are expecting their first baby, which is due Saturday, August 16, the same weekend as the tournament.

“We’ll try to induce labor early, and if not, I’ll just keep playing until the pager goes off,” Beem said. “I’ll be at home for the birth of my first child. I’ve already made up my mind. I’d love to come back and defend, but we’ll play it by ear. It’ll be a fun tournament. I hope little Junior cooperates.”

Beem, on talk that his win last year was a fluke:

“I’ve always been labeled a streaky player, which is fine by me, and I’ve also been labeled a one-hit wonder, which is not OK,” he said. “A lot of people called my PGA win a fluke.

I’ll give you my honest opinion that, yes, my career kind of has been a fluke. What I’ve done would be like a guy who worked at a printing press for a few years, then five years later writes a Pulitzer Prize-winning book. I went from making 15 grand as a bad assistant pro to winning the ultimate in golf’s major championships.

I’m streaky, but when I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m not playing well, I’m just as bad as everybody else. My whole career has been that way. Is it frustrating? Immensely. It’s a tough pill to swallow because I know what I’m capable of on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always show.”

Personally, I don’t consider Beem’s PGA win a fluke — he held off a charging Tiger down the stretch by playing aggressively. He definitely won my respect for hanging tough and not playing it safe.

Beem, unlike most PGA pros, didn’t come from a conservative, country club background. He used to sell car stereos before hitting it big on the Tour. Chalk one up for the good guys.


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