CHASKA, Minn. – Playing as if he had nothing to lose, Rich Beem buried Tiger Woods and captured a PGA Championship even though he thought he had no business winning.
Beem hit a 5-wood to within 6 feet for an eagle on the 11th hole to seize control, then put the finishing touches on a fearless round by rolling in a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to thwart a final charge from Woods.
Players in only their fourth major are supposed to wilt in the stifling pressure of the final round of the PGA Championship, not hit one career shot after another.
“When I sat up here yesterday, I didn’t know if I had what it took to win it,” Beem said Sunday night, the Wanamaker Trophy at his side. “I found out today that I do. I’m elated beyond belief.”
When he tapped in a meaningless bogey on the 18th hole at Hazeltine, Beem, who seven years ago sold car stereos, raised both arms and looked into the bright blue sky.