Rich Beem’s advice for anyone playing in The Open? “Have fun.”
The former PGA Tour journeyman turned Sky Sports pundit had his moment of glory when he lifted the 2002 PGA Championship, but he was unable to find any kind of form at golf’s oldest major.
Beem made just three cuts in seven appearances at The Open, with his best finish a T20 in 2007. Looking back, he admits he felt a “little scared” to play the type of golf the British links desired.
“I didn’t feel any extra pressure,” he says. “I was just scared to get out there and hit the shots that I wanted to hit.
“I think I probably wasn’t as bold as I wish I would have been. But that was probably just my insecurities as a player back then.
“I don’t think that I didn’t fully embrace it, I just didn’t take as many chances as I probably should have or could have. I look back at it now and I’m like, ‘Man, I love this type of golf.’ This is the time to try [certain shots], and I think that a lot of times I got a little bit scared to try that and I wish I wouldn’t have.”
But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t enjoying himself.
“The more that I play links golf,” he adds, “the more I realise there’s certain shots where you’re like, ‘Hey, that looks like fun, I’m gonna try and hit that.’ You have to be bold enough to do that, but you also don’t want to look silly. Go out there and have fun, who cares who’s watching? Try stuff that you may not have ever done before.”
Despite revealing a sense of insecurity over his own performances, Beem’s regret has not diminished his love for The Open, with St Andrews in particular holding a special place in the American’s heart.
“It’s funny,” he says. “I first saw the Old Course in 2003. I got on first green and there were these daisies growing on the side of the green, and I’m thinking, ‘What in the world is this?’ And I loved it. I thought it was great.
“There’s nothing quite like walking through town, heading to the Old Course. Once you get here and it opens up, you’re like holy cow, we’re really here. It’s such a cool setting.
“For me personally – and I have nothing against the Masters and Augusta – I think this is the coolest place you can host a major championship. It’s really just something special.
“The more you play it, the more you learn about the course, because there are certainly places where you never want to aim at the flagstick, but you have to aim way away. You learn that a 40-foot putt for birdie is a good shot, and that’s the beauty of this golf course.”
Rich Beem was talking to NCG as an ambassador of Boyle Sports.
The R&A has announced details of how you can get tickets for the historic 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in 2023. Click here to find out more.
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