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Birdies and bogeys from the PGA Championship

Rich Beem tries to turn the clock back to 2002 at Hazeltine.

August 14, 2009|Teddy Greenstein

BIRDIE

You ever try to offer a compliment and have it come out all wrong?

Padraig Harrington did that Thursday. Speaking of his enjoyable time with playing partners Tiger Woods and Rich Beem, Harrington said: "Today was a nice, pleasant round of golf. Even Rich Beem played lovely golf."

Ouch. Triple ouch.

But the point is valid. Beem has done little right since reigning at Hazeltine National during the 2002 PGA Championship. He has made only one cut in the six PGAs since. And he has only one top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this year.

But Beem shot a one-under 71 Thursday and loved almost every minute of it. Yes, he was beaming.

"We had 30,000 people screaming their heads off," he said. "It was a blast. The fans up here are just fantastic."

Hazeltine members so embraced Beem after he triumphed there, they made him an honorary member .

"Didn't get a whole lot of member bounces," Beem said. "But this is a fun course for me to play. It's just fantastic for me."

Beem birdied Nos. 7, 16, 17 and 18 -- and gets another here.

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BOGEY

John Daly. Long John continued his run of uninspired (OK, lousy) play. Not only did he struggle to a six-over 78, but he also looked as if he could not have cared less, blowing two short putts down the stretch without taking a practice stroke. It did mark an improvement over his last "competitive" round, an 88 in the second round of the Buick Open. To top it off, Daly withdrew, claiming a back injury.

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BIRDIE

Olympic reaction. Pro golfers rarely embrace change, but they all appear giddy about the prospect of playing for their countries in 2016. Said Ireland's Harrington: "In 100 years' time, the Olympics could grow into the fifth major." Added Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland: "There are not many Olympic gold medalists. It would be a pretty big honor to get one."

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BOGEY

Phil Mickelson. Lefty has every reason to lack focus, given that his wife and mother are fighting breast cancer. He shot an opening 74.

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BIRDIE

David Toms. The 2001 PGA champion has had a wildly inconsistent season with three missed cuts and two second-place ties since June. But Toms was steady Thursday, making only one bogey in a three-under 69.

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BOGEY

The weather forecast. It rained a bit Thursday, and thunderstorms are expected to rumble through Hazeltine over the weekend. Many of us still are scarred from the Bethpage Black U.S. Open experience.

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BIRDIE

Kevin Roman. The teaching pro from Atlanta shot an 87 but did not let it break his spirit. Asked about the day, Roman replied: "It was great."

-- Teddy Greenstein

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