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Beem taking things easy before 2004 starts

Unless they're a hopeless junkie or actually good, a lot of guys golf just to dissolve stress. A peaceful day outdoors trying to bludgeon a disobedient little ball works wonders on tangled nerves.

So what do you do when it's golf causing the stress and you can't remove your brow wrinkles with a hot iron?

“Nothing,” said Rich Beem, a PGA Tour veteran and graduate of New Mexico State and Las Cruces High.

That pretty much sums up Beem's offseason and his preparation for the 2004 PGA Tour. Beem, a nine-year pro, has spent a lot of time with his wife and five-month-old son and doing pretty much anything else that's doesn't involve drivers, putters or polo shirts.

Tuesday he was at a local Wal-Mart loading rolled sleeping bags into the bed of a pickup. It was the last leg of July's Mesilla Valley Amateur, a golf tournament/fundraiser held by Beem and Dan Koesters, the club pro at the NMSU Golf Course.

Koesters said the tournament was the state's largest amateur golf event and raised $21,000 for charity. Beem and Koesters were purchasing various items to donate to the charitable organizations.

“I'm not practicing at all,” Beem said with a smile. “I've been working out but I haven't missed golf. I'm not even anxious about it yet.”

Not the answer you'd expect to hear considering the tour begins Jan. 9 — Beem won't play until the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Jan. 19. Especially if Beem wants to get back into the top 10 on the money list like he was in 2002 when he won the PGA Championship and the International.

Beem finished 71st on the money list last year earning just over $1 million and his best finish was second at the Western Open.

But there is a purpose to Beem's surplus of leisure.

“I'd been going pretty hard the last two years and I didn't want to get burnt out like I did last year,” Beem said. “You go from Australia to Hawaii and back to California and never have down time. That's how you get burnt out. Baseball and football players get a few months off from the sport even though they still work out.”

Beem hopes this relaxation will help him in the coming year.

“I'm bettin' on it,” he said.

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