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Former PGA Champ Rich Beem: Speed the Game of Golf Up

Former PGA Champ Rich Beem joins Monday’s Overtime with Jeff Thurn to talk about Rory McIlory and the future of golf.

Beem won the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine Country Club in the Twin Cities. Listen to the full interview right here:

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Beem talks about the hottest golfer (Rory McIlory), in golf right right now, and how encouraging it is for golf fans to watch him take his game to the next level: 

“I think golf should be extremely encouraged by the fact this young man is basically taking over the helm of golf. I think we have such a wonderful group of guys that are playing very well. Adam Scott, throw Keegan Bradley in there, Ricky Fowler. You have so many good young players out there, but man, how much fun is it listening to his (Rory’s) press conferences. How brutally honest he is with answers. I just think it is refreshing because a lot of times you hear the same old drither and blah, blah, blah process, stick to the game plan, blah, blah, and blah. This guy is honest. Ask the guy a question and he is going to give you an honest answer. I love that about Rory. He is not afraid to say what’s on his mind and he like he thinks it is. I think it is a refreshing change of pace from the stuff we have heard from the last 15-20 years. And I look forward to hearing what he has to say for the next 20-25 years. It’s going to be fun.”

What are some things the game of golf can do rejuvenate itself? 

“Well as I mean the PGA Tour goes, I think this speaks volumes to whoever you are as a golfer, we need to speed the game up. The game is way too slow. We are taking way too much time out there, flashing it around. I’m sorry, but I could shoot 82 just as fast as I could shoot 62. It takes the same amount of time. I just have to backhand it a few extra times, but I just think what we need to do is pick up the pace of the game to give people an incentive to go out there and only spend three, maybe four hours instead of five or six. We need to shorten the length of the game, and it’s only going to start with us as the PGA Tour. Basically, people turn on the television and this is what they see: they are watching young men out there taking so much time to hit a golf shot. It’s insane. It’s absolutely insane. It doesn’t take that long to figure out how far you are, where the wind is coming from, and what club you should hit. It really isn’t that big of deal, but once you most the colleges in the mix, once you get all the shots worth 450,000 if he misses it, blah, blah, blah. Well then all of a sudden you start to put more meaning in it than it actually requires. I think that what we need to do as a whole, starting with the PGA Tour, we need to figure out better, faster ways to play the game, and that way it will basically drag more people in because we are losing people at an alarming rate in the game of golf. It’s sad. I’m really bummed out about that because I obviously love this game dearly and given me a wonderful life. To see so many people leave the game…it’s kind of a downer.”

**Catch Thurn daily on ESPN 99.1 from 3 to 6 p.m. and be sure to follow Jeff @jtespn991 and Sam @samtastad.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

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