DiMarcos Mother Best Seat in the House

By Associated PressJuly 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- The memories come back in bursts.
 
All the times she drove him to junior tournaments. Always seeing her walking along outside the ropes, even when he played 36 holes in a day. The way she booked a Saturday night stay every time she bought his airline tickets because she was more confident about him making the cut than he was himself.
 
'I know that usually when she comes to a tournament like this, she can't see much,' Chris DiMarco said. 'But I know she's got the best seat in the house now.'
 
Chris DiMarco
Chris DiMarco, who recently lost his mother, fired a 7-under 65 to move to within three of the lead.
Norma DiMarco died suddenly on July 4 after an apparent heart attack during a family vacation in Colorado. Some two weeks later, her husband of 46 years, their 38-year-old son and 10-year-old grandson set out on a road trip to this breezy corner of northwest England. The modest plan was to talk things over, play some golf, share some laughs and a few memories. What none of them could have known, Chris maybe least of all, was how eventful it would turn out.
 
But that was before DiMarco followed an opening-round 70 with a 65 that tied Tiger Woods for Friday's best and left him three strokes off the lead and Tiger's tail at the British Open.
 
'I think I have a good sense about where I'm at and what I'm trying to do, and I'm not getting overly upset with bad shots,' DiMarco said. 'I'm just in a good frame of mind.'
 
He knows emotions carry you only so far in golf. Anger and grief can't be converted into purposeful energy, the way they might in more physical sports like football, baseball or basketball, and no game punishes a lapse of concentration more than his does.
 
The fact that he's handled the delicate balancing act so well should come as no surprise. Rich and Norma DiMarco each had a hand in shaping their son's competitive drive and both took pleasure in watching him play well, taking in somewhere between 12 and 15 PGA Tour events each season. What might be surprising about this run of good play, though, is that it followed on the heels of a tough stretch that saw DiMarco plagued by injury and uncharacteristically changing up his game and his equipment in a desperate bid to get back on track.
 
He fell while skiing in March and a cell phone in his backpack 'basically kidney-punched me and bruised my ribs, lower back and basically, I couldn't swing,' Like too many athletes, DiMarco tried to come back too soon and the bad habits he developed playing with pain threw the rest of his swing out of whack. That in turn put pressure on his putting -- DiMarco spent years mastering the unconventional 'claw' grip -- and he started tinkering with that, too.
 
'I just needed time to heal. ... I'm really able to fire through the ball again, and I think that's what I wasn't able to do. And obviously,' he added a moment later, 'seeing some putts go in makes my back feel a lot better.'
 
Two more days of that and the rest of him will be feeling lighter than air.
 
With only three victories in the dozen years since he began competing regularly on the PGA Tour, DiMarco is far from the best player never to win a major. But he's come closer than plenty of those ahead of him on that list, having lost both the 2004 PGA Championship and the 2005 Masters to Vijay Singh and Woods, respectively, in playoffs.
 
But with this season's promising start derailed by injuries, DiMarco said he'd rather pile up enough points to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team for a second time than hoist the claret jug Sunday.
 
'Obviously, winning a major would always solidify your career, there's no doubt about that, so that would be pretty special. But playing for your country,' he said, 'is probably the greatest thing I've ever done in golf.'
 
And there's still another option.
 
'Two more good rounds and I could take care of both of them,' DiMarco chuckled. 'That would be the right thing to do.'
 
In a sense, though, he's already done the right thing. DiMarco has shown his father and 10-year-old son, Cristian, that the best tribute he could offer was to carry on exactly the way Norma would have insisted, playing not just because it was an obligation but because it was an opportunity.
 
'It was a big part of our lives,' Rich said Friday. 'I'll probably do it on my own now.'
 
What his son recognized right away was that the first step was going to be the toughest.
 
'I made him come,' DiMarco said about his dad. 'We had the service on a Friday night and I said, 'You're going to the British.'
 
'He said, 'I don't know if I can.' I said, 'I already bought a ticket. It's not refundable.' I know how much he likes money,' DiMarco said, grinning, 'and he doesn't like to waste my money, either.'
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


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    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm