Big Play Rich Beem beat Tiger Woods at the PGA by doing what Woods usually does to win majors--dominating the par-5s with power and accuracy

August 25, 2002

Tiger Woods often wins by reducing par-5s to long par-4s and
making a slew of birdies and eagles. On Sunday, Rich Beem beat
Woods at his own power game on Hazeltine's quartet of monster 5s.
While Woods was flaring drives into the lumberyard, leaving no
option but to lay up, Beem reached two of the par-5s in two,
making two birdies and an eagle. The 597-yard 11th hole was the
key blow. Playing in the pairing ahead of Beem, Woods sliced his
tee shot into the trees and made a par. Beem followed a 326-yard
drive by ripping a 271-yard strong seven-wood to six feet (above)
and holing the eagle putt to reach 10 under par, stretching his
lead to three shots over Woods, who immediately made consecutive
bogeys.

MIGHTY MITE The 5'8", 153-pound Beem may be, pound-for-pound, the
longest hitter in golf, ranking 11th on the Tour in driving
distance at 291.4 yards. Two assets allow Beem to generate
enormous power. First, he has a muscular upper body that's thick
from front to back. Second, he uses this strength perfectly, with
a balanced and seemingly effortless coiling action that hinges on
the rotation of his shoulders.

QUICK BUT NOT FAST Beem led the PGA with only 107 putts, thanks
to a stress-reducing routine. Beem doesn't inspect a putt from 55
angles--he is content to trust his first instincts. His practice
strokes are quick, smooth, back-and-forth swipes to gauge feel,
and while standing over the ball, he loosens and tightens his
fingers several times to prevent them from getting tight.
Finally, he begins the stroke with a slight but steady forward
press. Best of all, the whole routine takes less than 15 seconds.

OVERCLUBBED I'm tired of the roasting that club pros get at the
PGA when most of them miss the cut. (Last week only two of 25
played on the weekend.) Give a major league pitcher only one
outing a year, and make it in the World Series, and he'd probably
struggle, too. But give my brethren more than one token outing
and things would be different. Thirty years ago, before the Tour
became all-exempt, tournaments set aside up to 50 spots a week
for open qualifying, and dozens of club pros regularly played the
Tour, often successfully. My best finish in a Tour event was a
43rd, but club pro pals like Wes Ellis and Tom Nieporte won
tournaments.

Carl Lohren, 64, teaches at Ballen Isle Country Club in Palm
Beach Gardens, Fla., and is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100
teachers.

THREE COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CBS (TOP) TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PORTER BINKS (2)

THE TIP

1 The upper body is the swing's engine, generating power as the
big muscles of the back--predominantly those on the left
side--coil and uncoil. The key to achieving maximum distance,
and doing so with accuracy, is to initiate the swing by
beginning a turn of the left shoulder. That forces you to coil,
or torque, your upper body.

2 Here's a drill to learn what a proper coil feels like. Sit on
a stool, the edge of a golf cart or any flat surface that's
handy, and get into the address position with the clubhead
hovering a couple of inches off the ground (1). Then turn the
left shoulder to the right, turning back until you feel a little
tension in the left side of your upper back, just below the
armpit (2). Stop. Go back to address and repeat the motion until
you feel that tension. Then step away from the stool and take a
full swing, aiming to coil and uncoil.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)