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Rich Beem's Hard Road

October 12, 2002: "This has been one great big learning experience, something you have to go through to appreciate," Beem says during our last conversation from Las Vegas. "Have I made a couple mistakes?Maybe, but I wouldn't change a thing."

A pause as I hear Sara's muffled voice in the background. Then Beem returns to phone, his tone overly solicitous: "You got what you need?Good. Because I gotta jam."

ON THE BEEM*
WORLD RANK: 25
2002 PGA TOUR MONEY RANK: 7 ($2,938,365)
PGA TOUR VICTORIES: 3, including the Kemper Open (1999), The International (2002) and PGA Championship (2002)
THE MAJORS: Four appearances. Best finishes are first and tie for seventieth in the PGA Championship (2002, 1999)
SIGNIFICANT 2002 TOUR STATS: Third in longest drive (393), tenth in average driving distance (292.1)
OTHER: With a closing round of 68 in 2002 PGA Championship, became the first final-round, come-from-behind winner in a major since the 1999 British Open. One of eight Tour players to win more than one event in 2002.
*All stats through November 22, 2002

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