POIPU – Rich Beem didn’t win this year’s PGA Grand Slam.
In fact, he didn’t even come close – he finished in last place with a 1-over 145.
But it was worth the visit to this year’s PGA Championship winner. He was happy just watching Tiger Woods ride Poipu Bay Golf Course like it had training wheels.
“I’m just glad I was part of it today so I could watch Tiger shoot 61,” Beem said. “That was the highlight of my day.”
Woods shattered tournament records Wednesday, completing the 36-hole event with a bogey-free 17-under 127 to win his unprecedented fifth Grand Slam title on Kaua’i’s south shore.
The U.S. Open and Masters winner broke his own record of 12-under 132, which he set last year in a 3-stroke victory over David Toms.
Woods’ second round of 11-under 61 broke both course (64) and tournament (65) records, and he also won by the largest margin of victory in Slam history – he finished 14 strokes ahead of Justin Leonard and Davis Love III, who tied at 3-under 141. Bill Rogers held that record since 1982, when he won the by 5 strokes over David Graham.
“I really played well today,” Woods said. “I needed to play a good, solid front nine and I just got on a roll, it just kept going. I was making shots, aiming at my spots and I was knocking down my putts. It’s a lot of fun when everything works out like that.”
Woods, the PGA player of the year and the tour’s money leader, earned $400,000 of the $1 million purse. Love and Leonard each received $225,000 and Beem $150,000.
In two rounds, Woods didn’t record a single bogey. He birdied four times on Tuesday and 11 times on Wednesday. In six Grand Slams, Woods recorded 59 birdies, 14 bogies and 5 eagles.
Five of his birdies in the second round were on Poipu Bay’s difficult back-nine. He sent a 300-yard drive down the center of the course’s signature hole 16, and later sunk an 18-foot putt to continue his hot streak.
Woods climbed out of binds with ease and grace throughout the round. He hit a driver and 9-iron in the bunker on the second hole, and then blasted out to within one foot of the cup to record his second birdie of the day. On 8, he drove 354 yards to a bunker and pitched a sand-wedge from there to one-foot from the hole.
“I was just playing one shot at a time, trying to give myself the best chance at making birdies,” said Woods. “I was surprised at a couple shots I hit out there.”
Leonard, on the other hand, struggled on day two after trailing by just three strokes heading into the final round. He had two bogeys and birdied holes 5 and 9, but ended the day at even-par 72 after he two putted 5-feet from the cup at hole 16.
“I hit the ball pretty good, but not as well as yesterday,” he said. “I think I read maybe two putts correctly all day and on those two putts, I hit probably the worst two putts I hit. I love Kaua’i, but I’m glad I’m not playing the golf course again tomorrow.”
Love, who improved on his first day 72 with a 3-under 69, had similar sentiments.
“Well, I didn’t play very well today, but I enjoyed watching Tiger’s round,” he said. “I’m hitting the ball great on the range. I’m just not playing well on the golf course.”
For Beem, who gained entry to the Slam after winning an unlikely PGA Championship, a fourth place finish was worth the visit.
“Another Top-5!” he joked. “I can’t believe Tiger shot 61 watching how I hit. That’s how it goes some days: Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.”