SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – Until a couple weeks ago, Rich Beem didn't know if he was going to play at the PGA Championship.
Good thing he did.
Beem shot a 69 in his opening round Thursday, his first sub-70 score in a major since 2006. The 45-year-old followed with a 71 Friday to make cut for the first time in the PGA Championship since 2012.
Not bad for a guy who has played only one tournament — the PGA Championship — in each of the last two years.
Beem took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to share his excitement: "Holy crap I made the cut!!! Thanks for all tweets, sorry I can't reply to them all!!! Cheers!"
Saturday, Beem had four bogeys and two birdies for a 72. He was at 3 over for the tournament, no chance of winning, but assured his first tournament check since 2013.
Just don't look for any comeback.
"As fun as this has been, this is the most golf I've played in a very long time and by the time we are done for tomorrow, it will be like, 'Thank you. That was awesome. I'm done now.' But I'm hoping to go out there and put my best foot forward," Beem said.
Battling tendinitis in his right shoulder, the 2002 PGA Champion said he was unsure if the pain would affect his swing at Baltusrol, and he didn't want to go out and hit a driver 260 yards when "Rory McIlroy is hitting 360."
"No thanks. I've got better things to do with my time," he said.
But his shoulder felt better over the last few weeks, good enough for Beem to tee it up.
"I came up here a week ago and was able to hit golf balls and play 18 holes without it hurting so that was a good sign," he said.
A full-time golf analyst for Sky Sports in Britain and very part-time golfer, Beem was given only five golf shirts from his sponsor, Horseshoe Bay in Texas. He didn't exactly know how to take it.
"I think they were thinking I would wear the first on Wednesday, I'm going to go with that one, but no, I would have run out of shirts," Beem said. "I had to do laundry on Thursday night. My wife did it for me and I just washed a few extra."
Working as a television analyst even while competing, Beem was planning on wearing his Sky Sports shirts for the weekend, not his normal golf shirts, but he isn't one to complain. After his early round on Saturday, Beem was off to his full-time job to follow the leaders in the afternoon.
"It's nice to put the other shirts on for a little bit and now I have to go put the other ones on and go out to work again," Beem said after his Saturday round.
Beem's 69 in the first round topped that of Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson. That didn't last, and Beem wasn't surprised. This was all about sticking around for four days.
"To shoot 69 the first day was amazing but I think overall making the cut was even better," Beem said. "It's been awesome. You get out here and this is what you want to do, even if you don't play golf full-time like I did."
Beem has made it to the weekend round at the PGA Championship three times since his 2002 win.
The former cellphone and car stereo salesman pulled a stunner in 2002 at Hazeltine when he beat Tiger Woods by one shot. Woods finished with four straight birdies, but the cheers didn't rattle Beem. He rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and held his nerve to the end.
He has a lifetime exemption to play in the PGA, and the only year he missed was in 2010 because of a back injury. For the last two years, it's the only tournament he plays.
"It never enters my mind that I am taking somebody else's spot because it's not their spot, it's my spot," Beem said. "I've earned the right to play here every single year and that's my right, and I'll keep playing in it until I feel like I'm not competitive anymore."