DiMarco Finds Himself on A Major Cusp

By Associated PressJune 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Hes still on the outside looking in, and still in search of the major championship the best players need to put a definitive stamp on a successful career.
 
But while Chris DiMarco is waiting, at least give him this: For the first 72 holes of the last two major championships, nobody has played better or shot a lower score than him. Not Tiger Woods. Not Vijay Singh. And not any of the other so-called Big Five who loom as the top contenders at the U.S. Open this week.
 
Instead of the Wanamaker Trophy and a green jacket, though, DiMarco has received two second-place checks, two heartbreaking losses in playoffs and, at least in some minds, the newly bestowed title of Best Player To Never Win A Major.
 
Obviously, the positives are that I basically tied for the win, DiMarco said Tuesday, trying to keep a good spin on his runner-up finishes at the Masters in April and the PGA Championship last summer.
 
All I can take out of that is that when Im coming down the stretch, Im putting myself in position to win the tournament.
 
Anyone who finishes in a tie for the win has come agonizingly close, and the details of DiMarcos last two close calls make them even more painful.
 
At Augusta, he overcame a two-shot deficit to Woods with two holes left to force the playoff. But things wouldve been different had DiMarcos chip from the front of the 18th green in regulation gone into the cup instead of rolling around and spinning out.
 
A couple days after the Masters, it was tough, he said. I relived that chip in my head, knowing that could have gone in and could have changed everything.
 
At Whistling Straits, DiMarco forced a three-way playoff with Singh and Justin Leonard by being the only player in the last nine groups to break par. He just missed an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that wouldve given him the win.
 
There is such a fine line out there, he said.
 
DiMarco has been walking it for a while, now.
 
The 36-year-old University of Florida graduate has been in the top 10 in the Masters three times and finished ninth at the U.S. Open last year. He has led at the end of a round at Augusta five times in five years. Those strong finishes have helped him climb to No. 8 in the World Rankings, which puts him only slightly behind No. 6 Sergio Garcia and No. 7 Adam Scott in the category of best players to have never won a major.
 
Possibly remembering the drama from Augusta, USGA officials paired DiMarco with Woods and Luke Donald in the first two rounds Thursday and Friday'yet another sign for DiMarco that hes among the elite.
 
Five years ago, in the gallery, that kind of pairing would have been widely known as Tiger and the guy in the orange shirt, DiMarco said. But now, lots of people know who he is.
 
Including Woods.
 
It was a great match to go head-to-head like that and we separated ourselves so we didnt have to worry about anybody else, Woods said. Its very rare that you have an opportunity to do that, and that was one of those opportunities.
 
DiMarco is one of those rare top players who doesnt distinguish himself off the tee box, either when it comes to driving distance (he ranks 149th) or accuracy (93rd). What he is, though, is a grinder'gritty is often used to describe him'and he makes that awkward claw-like putting grip work to get in contention more often than not.
 
This tournament, returning to Pinehurst No. 2 after a successful trip in 1999, will almost certainly be won by someone with a top-notch short game. It will take someone with the imagination to find different ways onto these heavily sloped, turtleback greens, whether its bump and run with a fairway wood, using the putter off the green or flipping wedges high enough to land and not move.
 
On Tuesday, several players complained about the chewed-up fringes around the greens, the result of slow growth during a cooler-than-usual spring and the USGAs decision to plant sod around the slopes of the putting surfaces.
 
Theres also thick rough'heavy grass the players said was more difficult than at the last trip here.
 
Temperatures were in the mid-90s Tuesday, and Phil Mickelson said if it stays hot and dry quite a bit over par would be the score I would anticipate winning.
 
If DiMarco is in the mix, hell have the confidence of having been as good or better than everyone in the field for 72 holes of major-championship pressure. Twice.
 
And if theres another playoff ... it will be of the 18-hole variety instead of the three-hole showdown at the PGA or sudden-death at the Masters.
 
Can I take that right now? DiMarco said. I like the 18-hole playoff. Thats the way it should be. If you play 72 holes and finish even, you should get 18 more to see if you can beat that guy.
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

  • Tee Times - U.S. Open

  • Photo Gallery from Pinehurst

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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.