Born: August 24, 1970
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona
Height: 5 ft 8 in
College: New Mexico State University
Turned Pro: 1994
Rich Beem went from a stereo and cellphone salesman to a Major Champion in a golf career that reads like a Hollywood screenplay.
Beem began golfing at an early age under the tutelage of his father who taught him the importance of being a good wedge player. Beem was good enough to play golf in college, but lost interest because of inconsistent play and ended up moving to Seattle in 1995 where he worked as a salesman.
Fate intervened when Beem saw his friend and fellow Texan J.P. Hayes win the 1998 Buick Classic. Beem returned to golf, first as an assistant club pro at El Paso Country Club and Westward Ho Country Club (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) before gaining his PGA Tour status in 1999.
Beem won in his rookie season at the Kemper Open. He played well enough to retain his tour card the next few seasons and then caught fire in the summer of 2002. In early August, Beem won The International in Castle Rock, Colorado, the tournament with the unique Stableford scoring system. Beem rode a hot wedge game and putter to 44 points and a 1 point victory over Steve Lowery.
Two weeks later, Beem arrived at Minnesota’s Hazeltine National Golf Club and stared down the greatest player of his generation, Tiger Woods, outdueling the 14-time Major champion with a final round 68 (to Woods’ 69) to defeat Woods by a single stroke. The win was worth $990,000 to Beem and vaulted him into the Top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings. Even more impressive, the PGA was only Beem’s 4th start in a Major golf tournament.
It would turn out to be the zenith of Beem’s professional golf career. He played well enough to keep his tour card for the next decade, but a series of injuries reduced his chances to retain his card. He has played a few PGA and Web.com tour events the past few years.
In January 2105, Sky Golf Sports, the premier European sports broadcasting interest, announced they were hiring Beem as an analyst who would provide color commentary on golf tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic.