- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 25, 2002

Guys like Rich Beem might be the only ones who can trade shots with Tiger Woods down the stretch of a major and wind up ahead at the end.
Guys who have to squander their talent before they miss it. Who still remember what it's like to make $7 an hour selling cell phones and car stereos. Guys with more longing than sense.
On the eve of the final round of the PGA Championship, with only Justin Leonard ahead of him on the leader board and Woods lurking just behind, Beem said what a lot of other people were thinking: Guys like him were not supposed to contend in majors.
Beem keeps a bottle of antacid in his golf bag and his old salesman's ID card in his wallet. He still needs the first to steel himself for the journey ahead each day. The second is to remind him where he's been.
He grew up as the son of an All-American golfer, sometimes coach and facilities manager who moved the family often while tending golf courses at military installations around the world. Everybody just assumed that Larry Beem's son would make golf his career if only because he mastered in his spare time.
Everybody but Rich Beem, that is.
He rebelled by drinking as a teen-ager and then dropped the game as a 20-something, tired of scuffling on golf's minor league tours. He followed a girlfriend to Seattle and tried life as a salesman. But there was something about golf that kept pulling him back.
Just before he walked out of the interview room, someone asked Beem if now, with his future in the game assured, he planned to throw away his salesman's ID.
"Not a chance. I'm going to keep that card forever, as a reminder that things could always be worse."
Jim Litke

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