2002: PGA Tour - No rest for newly crowned PGA champ
His PGA Championship victory shifted Rich Beem’s life into a hectic fast lane, making his week at the WGC-NEC Invitational nothing if not a whirlwind.
On Aug. 19, the day after his major triumph, Beem visited friends and even answered the telephone at his former place of employment, Magnolia Hi-Fi, in Seattle; bought his wife a digital camera there; looked at exotic cars; got a haircut; had dinner at a friend’s house; received an invitation to appear on the David Letterman show, and was the subject of Letterman’s Top 10 list.
“How cool is that,” Beem said of the Letterman stuff.
He did numerous interviews and signed countless autographs all week. He received “hundreds and hundreds” of telephone calls, to the point of changing his cellular phone number. Among others, he received calls from the Texas governor, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor and the former mayor of El Paso.
“Everybody wants a piece of me right now,” Beem said, “but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
He went on NBC’s “Today Show” early Wednesday after getting up at 3:45 a.m. He received numerous endorsement offers, including one from Pepto-Bismol, which he drinks before every round to calm his stomach. He received numerous tournament invites, including the German Masters and World Match Play in England. And he made plans to attend a PGA victory party Aug. 29 at El Paso Country Club (to be carried live on The Golf Channel).
“I’ll look at offers next week,” said Beem, admittedly exhausted after a first-round 74. “I’d like to play through November. The timing is right to chase the bucks here and overseas. I don’t see how it can hurt me. Overseas travel can take a toll, but that’s why they make sleeping pills.”
Throughout the week, Beem tried to catch up on sleep.
“I’m running on fumes,” he said after shooting a third-round 67 on his 32nd birthday en route to a tie for sixth. “I’m riding (a high) right now, but I can’t wait to get home and just kind of slow everything down a little bit.”
Montgomerie withdraws: Colin Montgomerie pulled out of the NEC Invitational after 27 holes because of recurring back trouble. The Scotsman, winless for more than a year, started experiencing back problems last summer when he pulled out of the English Open. He also withdrew on the second day from the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia, this January.
“I am very disappointed,” Montgomerie said upon leaving following a 4-over-par 39 on the front nine of the second round. “It’s a real pity because I was looking forward to coming here and competing. My back has been causing problems all week, and if you can’t compete with others who are physically fit, there’s no point in carrying on.”
Montgomerie’s back condition raises the question of how many matches he’ll be able to play at the Sept. 27-29 Ryder Cup. He has played five matches for Europe in each of the last four Ryder Cups.