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.'
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.