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Rich Beem to play in Australian Open

Holding off Tiger Woods and winning the U.S. PGA championship two weekends ago has prompted all kinds of invitations for Rich Beem, including an expenses paid trip to the other end of the world for the Australian Open.

The 32-year-old American will join NEC Invitational winner Craig Parry, Adam Scott, Peter Lonard, Robert Allenby and Stuart Allenby for the Nov. 21-24 Australian Open at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne.

``He was pretty keen to come down so we were able to do a deal pretty much straight away,'' Australian Golf Union executive director Colin Phillips said Wednesday.

John Daly has been a popular visitor Down Under and Phillips said Beem had a similar style of play that would make him a favorite with the local crowds.

``I think people like the way he approaches the game -- step up and hit it,'' Phillips was quoted saying. ``In this country the game is played a lot that way, rather than the slow, drawn out way.''

The former cell phone salesman shot to fame with a rags-to-riches win at the PGA Championship, his 10-under 278 was one better than Tiger's 279 and clinched his first major.

``I think he'll go down very well with the crowd here,'' Phillips said. ``There is no doubt he's become one of the most talented players to emerge on the US Tour, and one of the most interesting.''

Greg Norman, a five-time winner of the Australian Open, was expected to skip his home Open.


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