By Elliott Heath published
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.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered three Open Championships on-site including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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