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Ace is something to Beem about
first_imgSo, Everyman, which of those contenders do you root for in today’s final round at Riviera Country Club? High-living Rich Beem, a major winner now working out of the “He’s Still Playing?” branch of the PGA Tour, fired himself to within two strokes of high-flying Phil Mickelson with a 6-under 65 that included a hole-in-one. PACIFIC PALISADES A guy doing a touchdown dance to celebrate the acquisition of a $30,000 car stole the Nissan Open sunlight Saturday from a tournament leader making his morning commute in a rented jet. Of course, saying Beem’s round included an ace is like saying a Super Bowl halftime included Janet Jackson. As soon as the 7-iron shot completed its 177-yard journey by one-hopping into the cup cut into the right side of the 14th green, Beem thrust his fists in the air. Then he turned and ran to the red Nissan Altima Coupe parked behind the tee, the sponsor’s car that was the prize for a hole-in-one this week. Then he climbed up the back of the car, hugged the roof and ended up sitting on top in a triumphant pose – at least until it occurred to him that the vehicle had been baking in the sun all day. “You know, I stole that from (Peter) Jacobsen,” the man known as Beemer said of his reaction to winning a Nissan. “I wish I could take full credit for making a fool out of myself.” At the 1994 Nissan Open, Jacobsen aced the same hole, jumped into the convertible that was that year’s prize and pretended to drive it away. “I just saw that car (Saturday), and I thought, `Hell, might as well,”‘ Beem said. “I tell you what, the top of that hood was pretty warm, and the back of it is a little scratched up from my shoes.” center_img Somebody asked if he was thinking more about the hole-in-one or the two-stroke pickup, which makes the difference between being tied for fifth at 9 under and alone in third at 11 under, trailing only 13-under Mickelson and 12-under Padraig Harrington after three rounds. “I’m thinking, `I just won a car, and it’s going to cost me an awful lot in the bar later on,”‘ Beem said. “I just had fun.” For the longest time, the paragraph above could have told you everything about Beem. A one-time winner in his first three years on tour, the New Mexico State product was known for twothings: He had once quit golf and taken a job selling cell phones and car stereos in Seattle for $7 an hour, and even after rededicating himself, he was one of the tour’s heavy-duty party boys. When he jumped up and made his third tour victory a major one in the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minnesota, some of the ugly details hit the public prints. Not long after his first career win at the 1999 Kemper Open, Beem had been jailed in Scotland for driving under the influence the week of the British Open. Seeing that Beem, now 36years old, hasn’t won since that PGA Championship – sinking as low as 183rd in year-end tour rankings – you might think he partied his talent away. But listening to him Saturday, you get the idea it’s settling down that’s been his problem. He got married in December 2001, and he and his wife have a son and daughter. “Golf happened. Life happened. It’s pretty simple,” Beem said of his decline. “I won a major championship, and I’m on top of the world and there’s only one place for me to go – and that’s down. “Between having kids, moving (from New Mexico to Austin, Texas), and trying to deal with everything else in life, you know, golf hasn’t been a priority for me. Yes, it was (a priority) to a point, but I didn’t get excited about it.” Beem seems to be excited about it again. He finished tied for ninth behind Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines last month, his first top 10 in nearly 11 months. Now, with rounds of 69, 68 and 65 at Riviera, he has shot in the 60s in five of his past sevenrounds. Maybe it’s the urgency that goes with knowing the qualifying exemption he earned with the PGA Championship expires after this season, meaning he’d better win a tournament or hit the top 125 on the money list in 2007. “I don’t know what it is, but I really enjoy coming out to the golf course (again),” Beem said. “I enjoy the challenge of it now. … Since I’ve seen how bad it can be, it just makes days like today, weeks like this week, that much better.” And he hasn’t been completely domesticated. “I still love the occasional cocktail after a good round of golf, after today,” Beem said. “I’m the same guy who I am. I’m just a little bit older. “As you get older, you know, you just grow up. I think that’s normal for everybody. Besides, the hangovers really hurt.” The sight of a grown man in a chartreuse shirt jumping onto the roof of a car suggests Beem’s harder work and sharper play hasn’t made him a dull boy. Every golf tournament needs a working-class hero, and next to Mickelson’s business-jet commute from San Diego, Beem’s bid to keep his tour card is just the ticket. “We should have more guys out here like him,” Ernie Els said. “He really lets you see what he feels.” It was Els, playing Saturday with Beem and Jim Furyk, who “called” the ace at 14. With the ball in the air, Els said, “Hey, boys, it’s a 1!” What happened next, Els couldn’t have predicted. “I was afraid to look,” Els said. “I didn’t know if he was going to fall through the window or what he was going to do.” This morning, Beem tees off with Mickelson and Harrington, a guy with a car against a couple of jetsetters. Don’t be afraid to look. Kevin Modesti’s column appears in the Daily News three days a week. heymodesti@aol.com (818) 713-3616 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
Wills: Pierre a ‘natural’ No. 1
first_imgWills, who works with Dodgers players during spring training on bunting and baserunning, was immediately impressed with what he saw from Pierre despite a career on-base percentage (.350) below the optimum for a leadoff man. Wills said Pierre already is an excellent bunter who could improve that OBP by bunting for more hits. “He had 16 (bunt singles) last year, and that’s not enough,” Wills said. “A player like him should have 20-25. He hit .292 last year. If he just had four more bunt hits, he could have easily been close to .300. That could have led to who knows how many more runs, because scoring runs is the key thing.” “There are nine different ways you can score from third base that you can’t score from second, including passed balls, wild pitches and sacrifice flies,” Wills said. “It also puts pressure on the third baseman and shortstop on a groundball because they know they have to come up with it, and it takes the breaking ball in the dirt away from the pitcher. “But you need to be successful 19 out of 20 times stealing third to justify it and about eight out of 10 times stealing second,” Wills said. “The year I stole 104 bases, I was 31 of 32 stealing third. The one time I got caught I came back to the dugout and everyone looked at me like I was crazy.” Late innings: Little said, barring injury or ineffectiveness, Takashi Saito will remain the club’s closer no matter how well the fireballing Jonathan Broxton might fare as the primary setup man. But with Saito having turned 37 last week, Little didn’t rule out using Broxton to close selected games if Saito needs a break. “If everyone is healthy, I think it will be hard for us to think about making a change,” Little said. “If we have to use Saito three days in a row, a lot will depend on what happens in those three games. There were some games last year when he came in and threw eight or ninepitches and the game was over. But there also were times when he threw 25 or 30pitches.” Broxton has long been considered the Dodgers’ closer of the future. While he still is just 22 and has yet to spend a full season in the majors, his spot on the Opening Day roster is all but a lock. Knowing that, Broxton has brought a slightly different approach to camp, trying simply to prepare for the season instead of impressing the organizational brass. “Last year, I tried to go out and turn heads and show everyone what I could do,” said Broxton, who didn’t make the club out of spring training but was promoted to the majors for good May 1. “This year, I’m going to wait until the (Grapefruit League) games start to turn it up.” Another catcher: Tony Harper, who had been ticketed for minor-league camp after hitting .287 for Single-A Columbus last season, was invited to the big-league side to help catch side sessions. The Dodgers have seven catchers in camp, but won’t keep more than two for the season. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VERO BEACH, Fla. – Although Dodgers manager Grady Little remains tight-lipped on whether the newly signed Juan Pierre will bat first or second, one of the greatest leadoff hitters in the game’s history said Monday that the fleet center fielder would be a perfect fit at the top. “It’s the manager’s decision, of course, and we all know that,” Maury Wills said. “But I think Juan is a natural leadoff hitter.” center_img Pierre also had 10 successful sacrifices with the Chicago Cubs last season. Wills said Pierre knows far more about proper bunting techniques than the average player. “He already knew that if you want a hard bunt, you don’t move your hands as far up and that for a softer one you move them 3 or 4 inches farther up the bat,” Wills said. “I started to tell him the other day that when you bunt, you’re not necessarily looking for a strike. I said, `You’re looking for something …’ and before I could finish my sentence, he said, `Something I can handle.’ Even if it’s off the plate a little bit, you might be able to get in front of a changeup and deaden it on the grass.” Although Pierre tied for second in the majors with 58 steals last year, he also was caught 20times, and Wills wants him to improve that success ratio. Wills also has stressed to Pierre the importance of stealing third whenever the opportunity presents itself. last_img
AB de Villiers’ Indian citizenship accepted; to play IPL 2018 as Indian player

first_imgAfter the conclusion of the fourth Test against Australia, South African batsman AB de Villiers will be flying to India to participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, this could be de Villiers’ last match as a South African player as his Indian citizenship has been accepted. Yes, you heard that right! De Villiers will turn up for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL 2018, but the only thing that will change from the last season is the fact that he will no longer be an overseas player.Read it at Sports Wallah Related Itemslast_img read more