Overachiever or Overrated

By Associated PressApril 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Chris DiMarco lost a chipping contest, or he might be the Masters champion.
 
That's one way to look at it, anyway.
 
DiMarco is still trying to figure out what he did wrong last year on a Sunday at Augusta National ablaze with drama. Was it his fault Tiger Woods chipped in for birdie on the 16th hole with a shot that nearly stopped twice, once at the top of the slope, the other on the edge of the cup? Why did DiMarco's chip from the front of the 18th green rattle the pin and stay out?
 
'I did everything I could to win the tournament,' DiMarco said. 'I just got outchipped, so to speak.'
 
Then again, DiMarco swears he didn't hit a bad shot on his way to a 41 on the back nine that morning, which turned his four-shot lead into a three-shot deficit. He still remembers a twist of fate Saturday night when the round was suspended.
 
'Tiger was in the 10th fairway with three-quarters of his ball covered in mud, and I was on the 10th tee,' he said. 'The next morning, he got to put a brand new, clean ball down. And they didn't cut the fairways. If he would have hit his second shot, I don't think he would have hit the green with that much mud. And I would have hit my 3-wood down to the bottom of the hill.
 
'I made double (bogey), he made birdie. That's three shots right there.'
 
It's always something with DiMarco.
 
Maybe that explains why he has only three PGA Tour trophies, two from tournaments that no longer exist.
 
He closed with a 2-under 68 in the final round at Firestone last year, tied for the lead, until Woods holed a slick, bending birdie on the 16th hole and finished with two pars to win. He reached the finals of the Match Play Championship and ran into a buzz saw named David Toms, who was unstoppable at La Costa.
 
He momentarily forgot New Orleans, where he blew a two-shot lead on the back nine and went from a chance to win to missing out on a playoff with a three-putt bogey on the final hole.
 
DiMarco squandered a huge lead in the International two years ago, failing to make enough birdies on the weekend. His psychologist told him that he simply peaked too early. A week later at Whistling Straits, DiMarco played beautifully on the back nine of the PGA Championship and had an 18-foot birdie putt to win, but left it short -- no doubt, the putt peaked too early -- and lost in a playoff.
 
There are so many close calls. There are so few trophies.
 
All of which begs a question that is difficult to answer. Is he an overachiever or overrated?
 
Given his raw talent and minimal length compared with peers such as Woods, Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els, the 37-year-old DiMarco has squeezed everything out of his game. He nearly quit professional golf when he couldn't putt early in his career, switched to the 'Claw' putting style and has earned $17 million.
 
He has played in the Ryder Cup once, the Presidents Cup twice and is No. 10 in the world. But his last victory on the PGA Tour was in Phoenix four years ago.
 
Overachiever or underachiever?
 
'Chris has been there in a bunch of tournaments,' Woods said. 'And, unfortunately, guys have come up with the goods at the wrong time for him. That's not saying Chris has played poorly. It's just that he's been there enough times when guys have played better. That's just the way it goes.'
 
Woods makes it sound as though it's only a matter of time for DiMarco.
 
'He's a wonderful iron player, putts really well, and he grinds it out,' Woods continued. 'That's one of the things that we all admire about Chris. He gives you everything he's got, every day.'
 
DiMarco couldn't agree more.
 
He was asked if he liked his chances at the Match Play Championship after getting through the first two rounds.
 
'There might be guys that are better than me, but as far as competitiveness and never giving up and always fighting and clawing, I don't think there's too many guys that have that,' he said.
 
Half of the 16 players remaining that day were major champions, from Woods and Vijay Singh to Toms and Retief Goosen, all of them plenty tough, even if they don't show it on TV. DiMarco is full of passion when he plays, especially in match play, although for some reason, that doesn't translate to the back nine when he's trying to win a major, or any tournament.
 
Which raises another question.
 
Does he have what it takes? Or is he a victim of bad luck?
 
If his performance last year in the Masters isn't enough -- he and Woods were seven shots better than anyone else -- perhaps DiMarco can lean on praise from Jack Nicklaus.
 
DiMarco was the star of Captain Jack's team in the Presidents Cup late last year, teaming well with Mickelson, then earning the decisive point with a splendid bunker shot to 15 feet on the final hole, and a birdie putt that was the biggest of his career. He ran off the green and into the arms of Nicklaus as his teammates piled on.
 
'He keeps chipping away at that next level,' Nicklaus said. 'I would be very, very surprised if he doesn't go right to that next level the next time he's out.'
 
The next level is a major. The next chance is this week, at the Masters.
 
DiMarco has played in the final group the last two years, and maybe fate is on his side. The last time Nicklaus predicted great things for one of his Presidents Cup players was in South Africa at the end of the 2003 season.
 
Five months later, Mickelson was wearing a green jacket.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament
     
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    Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

    By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

    A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

    The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

    The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

    Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

    Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

    "This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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    LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

    By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

    The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

    While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

    The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

    The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

    An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

    The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

    The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

    “Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

    While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

    The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

    The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

    For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

    Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

    Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

    Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

    Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

    March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

    March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

    April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

    April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

    June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

    June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

    June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

    June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

    July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

    July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

    July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

    Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

    Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

    Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

    Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

    Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

    Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

    Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

    Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

    Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

    Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

    Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

    And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

    Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

    Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

    Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

    Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

    In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

    THE MAJORS

    Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

    Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

    Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

    Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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    U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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    The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

    Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

    Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

    Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

    Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

    Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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    PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

    Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


    TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

    AT&T Pebble Beach

    Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

    Travelers Championship

    Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

    Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


    FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


    PHOTO GALLERIES

    Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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    Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm