Q & A With Chip Beck
A 4-time winner on the PGA Tour and one of only eight players to shoot 59 in a Tour event, Chip Beck was a prolific Ryder Cup player who compiled an impressive 6-2-1 record in three Ryder Cups (1989, 1991 and 1993). The fun and affable Beck, an amazing story teller, will host Premier Golf’s Ryder Cup Viking River Cruise September 25 to October 5, 2018.
We talked with Beck recently about some of his most treasured Ryder Cup memories and Premier Golf’s Ryder Cup Viking River Cruise. Beck has a wealth of interesting golf stories and those taking the cruise are in for a special treat. He has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows as a professional golfer and his stories are fascinating and highly entertaining.
Chip Beck interviews
What was your favorite Ryder Cup to play?
All three were special in their own way. If I had to pick one it would probably be 1991 on Kiawah Island. It was intense competition and I performed well under pressure. Best of all, my family was there to watch me play. I grew up in Fayetville, North Carolina, which is about a four-hour drive from Kiawah Island. It was the first Ryder Cup that really drew lots of international attention and to help our team to win the Cup was one of the most satisfying moments in my career.
What Ryder Cup match is your most memorable?
It was my singles match against Ian Woosnam in 1991. I believe he was the number one player in the world then and had won the Masters that year. He was definitely playing at the top of his game so I knew it would take some great golf to beat him. I remember holing it out of bunkers and I playing as well as I could and beating him. The 17th hole there at Kiawah was tough. I hit a 3-wood about 210 yards to around 15 feet from the pin. I still remember how good I hit that one just to get it around that green. I won the match 3 and 1.
Didn’t you shoot your famed 59 soon after playing in the Ryder Cup?
Yes, a week after the 1991 Ryder Cup I shot 59 in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational. I was still drained mentally from the intensity of the Ryder Cup when I got to Las Vegas so I didn’t know what to expect going into the week. On the first hole of the third round, I drained a 60-footer in the middle of the hole so I had a good feeling it was going to be fun day. I shot 13 under par with 13 birdies. Many people don’t remember that I received a $1 million bonus from Hilton Hotels for shooting 59, which made it an even better day for me and my caddie, Dave Woosley.
Which Ryder Cupper do you admire most?
It would have to be Raymond Floyd. He was so strong mentally whenever and wherever he played. Raymond was raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, too. His dad, L.B. Floyd, was a golf pro in Fayetteville and I took lessons from him. They both were very important in me pursuing and reaching my dream of becoming a professional golfer. I just loved the way Raymond could focus so intently and hit great shots in big moments.
Do you have any special memories of playing golf in France?
I’ve played the Albatross course at Le Golf National and I think it’ll be a great venue for the Ryder Cup. There’s lots of mounding similar to TPC Sawgrass, which will make it great for spectators. In the early 1980s I played in a tournament in France and finished in second place and I was rewarded with a check and a giant cask of Bordeaux wine. There were hundreds of glasses of wine possible so I had them open it for the tournament volunteers and everyone had a fun time.
How do you think taking a cruise through northern France will make Ryder Cup 2018 special?
I’m so excited to be part of this great trip on the Seine River. I have several family members taking the cruise and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new friends who are all Ryder Cup enthusiasts. I’ll share dinner with different groups every night so it’ll be a great opportunity for me to talk about some of my Ryder Cup and tour golf memories and listen to stories from others about their golf travels around the world.