Beem was born in Phoenix, Arizona, grew up in El Paso, Texas, and played golf at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Beem turned professional in 1994. His early career was largely unassuming, and even broken up by a spell in Seattle selling car stereos and cell phones to make ends meet.
This changed in 1999 when Beem won the Kemper Open as an unheralded rookie. His career took a further leap forward, when he won The International in Castle Rock, Colorado, in 2002, then the next week won the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National, one of golf’s four major tournaments. He fended off Tiger Woods to win, who birdied his last four holes, but finished one shot behind Beem. This victory helped establish him in the top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings.
Until this win, Beem was best known for the book Bud, Sweat and Tees: A Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour by Alan Shipnuck, which profiled his rookie year on the PGA Tour and the often wild lifestyle of he and his caddy, Steve Duplantis.